Full Game or Episodic Content?

Tornado Samurai

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If you were at the starting process developing a game, which would you choose as the development path until your game reaches completion?

Turn it into a part one or divide into chapters or acts and release it along with incoming episodic content with future DLC?

or...

Pack and finalize everything into the full game and no extra DLC?

Which would you do?
 
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_Shadow_

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Between you and me and the rest of the Internet, i love sequels and I hate DLCs when it comes to games.

I can understand a DLC for VX Ace.

But for a game, is like a company cheated you and asks you for more money to get something that should be in there in the first place.

Game should be full in my opinion. 
 

TheoAllen

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I personally dont like episodic contents.

That makes me "oh, so I need to wait for the next episode" asumed that game has 1 of x episodes complete

I like sequel, even the terms is similar.

The previous game is full contents. I mean, it has a real ending and conclusion

Where the sequel is an option to the story continuation
 

Wavelength

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I tend to dislike buying "Part 1" of a game (at least for RPGs and similar), for the exact reasons TheoAllen mentioned.  You don't get a proper end to the story for playing through this game (and you know this up front), and you can't be guaranteed that the series will ever be complete.  For that matter, I feel the same way about movies.  Trilogies are dumb! :p

I believe in releasing the entire game in one shot.  You want to expand it a bit more later?  Offer some free DLC.  You want to expand it a lot later?  Create an expansion pack that offers a lot of endgame content.  You want to continue the story by creating another game with the same characters in the same world?  Fantastic!  Create a sequel.

I've worked with good game designers making good games that are split into multiple parts.  I don't think they're being dumb nor dishonest nor greedy.  I just don't like that way of doing things.
 
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Kes

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There have been some great episodic games.  The Millennium series pulled it off extremely well, imo.  But the thing was each game was also a stand alone, in that there was a proper conclusion to it.  Each one was a full length game in its own right.  That is very, very hard to do, and if you're asking whether to do it or not, my guess is that you don't have the experience needed.  

A proper episodic game requires you to ensure that items, equipment and gold can be carried forward from one game into the next.  Importing things like that has to be put in place from the get go, and involves an enormous amount of work.  If you can't import your stuff from one game to the next, then it's not a true episodic.

Without experience of bringing games to completion, starting an episodic run is highly problematic.  Most players will assume that an inexperienced developer won't ever finish the whole thing, so that you're left with a partial story.  This will discourage them from even starting with it.

Your OP says that you would be deciding at game completion whether to split it or release it as one full game.  Why would you even think of splitting it?  If it hasn't been designed to be in more than one part, any division will be arbitrary and detected as such by players.  It would feel like a scam was being set up.  
 

Omnimental

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My major problem with episodic games is that, on average, the producer never actually completes the series, for whatever reason.  So if I DID happen to get invested in the story, I now have no payoff.  I prefer my games to have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  I don't want to play the beginning, then wait X months/years to play the next part, when I will have almost assuredly moved on to other things.  When it's done well, it works amazingly, but I rarely see it done well.

Now, side stories, prequels, sequels, I'm all for those, assuming they're done as something other than a cash grab.
 

Oddball

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Why not just make a game, it has these events, blah-dy blah-dy, blah! and then make another game in the future to show what happened to the world? or show events in the past to see how that world arrived to the situation it was in. I much prefer this then to expansions or direct sequels with the same characters. A good example of how direct sequels can be bad (ha, ha. didn't mean to do that) is final fantasy 10-2. It's like, Ok, they saved the world, blah-dy blah! and then, there's a pointless adventure, it's like... why? your story was over!

there are a lot better examples, with games that aren't bad... I actually liked the kingdom heart series, then they bog us down with a bunch of sequels, prequels, and side-quels. And I'm thinking "well where is kingdom hearts 3?" Sure all the other games expand on the world. But honestly, dream drop distance seems to be the only one that feels like it advances the story. 

I guess there are exceptions. I absolutely LOVED majora's mask (but maybe that's because it was absolutely oozing with culture, and stuff going on under the surface) But honestly, If you've solved a few major problems in that game world, it should end. right?
 

Gothic Lolita

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I personally dont like episodic contents.

That makes me "oh, so I need to wait for the next episode" asumed that game has 1 of x episodes complete
I agree with you and also many games did not even finish.

Only two examples:

Half Life Episode 2

Haunted Memories Episode 1

I like to have a full version, not a episodic one. ;)

If it's a demo, which get's more content coninueous, that's fine.

But a full version should be a real full version. :D (\s/)
 

Shaz

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This is a decision you need to make BEFORE you develop your game. NOT "when your game reaches completion".
 

Tornado Samurai

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I apologize, the question wasn't phrased properly. I truly meant envisioning ideals of ways you could distribute your game, before development of course, whether as episodic content or the former, which is full game.
 

Tsukihime

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I would divide it into acts and release them incrementally, possibly based on feedback and other factors that you really have no information prior to releasing the game.


Each act would have its own intro and conclusion, but they would fall within the main story.


If necessary, this provides me with the opportunity to go into more detail that I may have glossed over to avoid starting a project that was going to take years to finish if every part of the game had consistent amount of detail.


Who's going to play a game and then think "omg what a cash grab this is just one part of the series"?


Maybe when you've released all 3 games or something and then the people looking back on human history will go "oh wow this guy lol what is he doing"


But as far as I'm concerned, if I played a game, watched an intro, went through a series of events, and then reached an ending (which might be a cliff-hanger that leaves me wondering), I'm not going to immediately think "what a scam they should just release the whole game at once"


Because obviously I already knew as a player that the game was just the first part of a series.


Unless you mean you're going to explicitly tell your fanbase what you're doing.


When the second game comes out, some people may draw some connections and may suggest that you've broken up a single game into multiple parts, but really, this seems like an advantage: you can add new systems, remove features that weren't very popular, introduce new characters, change your database around, etc.


And of course, it's a NEW GAME. You can charge full price for this. It's not an "expansion" or a "DLC" or anything. Sure, same characters, same universe. What's the problem?
 
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Tornado Samurai

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I would divide it into acts and release them incrementally, possibly based on feedback and other factors that you really have no information prior to releasing the game.

Each act would have its own intro and conclusion, but they would fall within the main story.

If necessary, this provides me with the opportunity to go into more detail that I may have glossed over to avoid starting a project that was going to take years to finish if every part of the game had consistent amount of detail.

Who's going to play a game and then think "omg what a cash grab this is just one part of the series"?

Maybe when you've released all 3 games or something and then the people looking back on human history will go "oh wow this guy lol what is he doing"

But as far as I'm concerned, if I played a game, watched an intro, went through a series of events, and then reached an ending (which might be a cliff-hanger that leaves me wondering), I'm not going to immediately think "what a scam they should just release the whole game at once"

Because obviously I already knew as a player that the game was just the first part of a series.

Unless you mean you're going to explicitly tell your fanbase what you're doing.

When the second game comes out, some people may draw some connections and may suggest that you've broken up a single game into multiple parts, but really, this seems like an advantage: you can add new systems, remove features that weren't very popular, introduce new characters, change your database around, etc.

And of course, it's a NEW GAME. You can charge full price for this. It's not an "expansion" or a "DLC" or anything. Sure, same characters, same universe. What's the problem?
At first my stance on Full Game vs. Episodic Content was towards Full Game, but after reading this, I've come to understand Episodic Content more and be understanding and patient with it. This is a very reasonable point. Early feedback is good to improve from and make your game better (to an extent). Dividing into acts and sequels may appear to be a "money-grub" to some, but it entitles the creator to learn from mistakes early and improve them as the story arc and the game escalate into new and better things. A very enlightening post.
 
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TheoAllen

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When the second game comes out, some people may draw some connections and may suggest that you've broken up a single game into multiple parts, but really, this seems like an advantage: you can add new systems, remove features that weren't very popular, introduce new characters, change your database around, etc.

And of course, it's a NEW GAME. You can charge full price for this. It's not an "expansion" or a "DLC" or anything. Sure, same characters, same universe. What's the problem?
This reminds me of The Elder Scroll Games. Take in same place, same world concept, yet different gameplay, different character, different story. But they didnt remove their game identity. You're not required to play the previous game. But you might start to wonder, "what if I give a try the prequel / previous series?"
 
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jdh34

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Since you asked I'm already developing an expansion pack to my game its called redemption
 

Indinera

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Episodes are a pain to manage if they are connected, especially inventory-wise. Otherwise if money is your main motive, it usually works pretty well to make shorter "episodes" than a full game. Most people will pick a game that is half the price of another without realizing they are getting a game that is 5 times smaller lol
 

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Make each game able to stand on it's own. There's no problem with the games continuing the storyline as long as each game could stand on it's own. If each game cannot stand on it's own, then there's the problem.


Like FFX and FFX-2, I actually played FFX-2 before FFX and I liked it. That game stands on it's own and still allow for a fun time even if you don't know the story of FFX. It's a continuation but it's a complete story on it's own. Just like how FFX's story is also complete on it's own.
 

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