Good Examples of Episodic RPG Maker Content

Discussion in 'Commercial Games Discussion' started by VisitorsFromDreams, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    Hello everyone.

    So here is the situation. I have been working on my game project Shooty and the Catfish for a number of years now and its getting pretty close to being done. There are however elements of it that aren't working, mainly the story, its just not mixing with the games structure, at least not in a way I am happy with.

    My original plan was to have each chapter of the game play out episodically, sort of like a cartoon from the 80's or 90's, with each chapter following a similar to each other. So why not just release each of these chapters as its own stand alone game? They each clock in at around an hour, or a little more if your thorough and talk to everyone. There would be 5 episodes all up with each episode released around 2 months after the last (I am looking at releasing them for $1 each, or $4 for all the episodes in a bundle once its complete). Id be focusing on making each episode dense with content, focusing more on NPC interactions than things like combat, with 1 large dungeon acting as a centrepiece. Each episode would also start you off with the gear you would finish with at the end of the previous episode. I am also considering removing levelling entirely and just having battles drop gold for optional upgrades.

    So here is my question, does anyone know of any short form episodic RPGM content that has been released on Steam that would work well as a reference point? I cant imagine I am the first person to think about this model, and while I know there are currently episodic RPGM games on Steam they tend to have much bigger episodes than what I am planning.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. Shaz

    Shaz Veteran Veteran

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    Aveyond 3 is a series of 4 games that all run on from each other. Not sure if they're on steam. And not sure they'd be what you'd call short form.
     
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  3. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    Looks like the average playtime on Steam is between 10 - 12 hours, definitely not short form but good to know the series exists. $9.99 seems like a reasonable price for something of that length (provided the content is good anyway).
     
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  4. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    I remember Space Pilgrim Adventures were episodic. There were 4 episodes and each one was maybe a couple of hours long.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
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  5. Saboera

    Saboera Veteran Veteran

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    Space Pilgrim is what comes to mind, seems it did pretty well commercially overall. The developer also has a few other short form games that did well if I judge by the amount of positive reviews. However there's a significant decay in buyers over the episodes it seems.
     
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  6. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

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    periodic content usually doesn't work well for independent developers, and the engine doesn't matter there.

    The problem is that people don't like incomplete stories, and they would need something to indicate that the story will be completed before they start buying.
    That is a big hurdle for a single developer - with a team there is at least a chance that they'll be able to publish each part fast enough to overcome this problem.

    Additionally, periodic content is too similiar to "early access" or "paid open beta" and similiar situations where the money from the first purchasers is used to finanze the follow-up parts, and that has failed too many times in the past, most people have already burned their fingers on such game.


    In my opinion there are only two ways by which you may pull "periodic content" off - either have enough of the total work done to be able to publish the first two parts at the same time and give a reasonable promise to publish the rest quickly (with only one or two months between each part), or by reducing the prize so far that people think they can risk loosing one or two dollar or so.
     
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  7. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Also there are three issues you will run into if you release your game in parts.

    1: Some players will wait until the entire thing is made. I know many who decided to wait on Life is Strange until it was all done before buying. You will face the same issue, and maybe even worse, as you are an unknown developer.

    2: Some will wait until they play part 1 before even buying part 2. The Banner Saga reported running into this, with sales going down between each part of the game, and they thought it was people waiting to play part 1 before even buying part 2. I know I do the same, I still haven't bought Pillars of Eternity 2 or Divinity 2 as I have to finish the first once (and those weren't even episodic games too!)

    3: A bad game or episode will destroy follow up interest. This will be hard to judge when it happens, as they will have already bought the game, but this is why I think many sequels to high selling games flop. The game itself sold well, but people hated it, or disliked enough of it that they were disinterested in a follow up game. And those people won't show up in sales as odds are they will decide this after it is too late to refund the game. For example, I know someone who hated Dragon Age 2. Killed any interest he had in Dragon Age 3. And I imagine he wasn't the only one who felt that way, which made that another obstacle that company had to overcome as it had to convince those players to give Dragon Age 3 a chance. And apparently they did, as Dragon Age 3 is considered a success by most people these days.
     
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  8. FluffexStudios

    FluffexStudios Veteran Veteran

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    This pretty much sum up the main issues with episodic contents, they can be done, just harder to succeed than releasing regular game.
     
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