View Full Version : More on episodic games.

08-04-05, 08:05 AM

An interview with the creators of Bone from telltale.

Inside Gamer Online: First off, could you introduce yourself? What is your name, background and so forth?

Dan Connors: Sure, my name is Dan Connors CEO of Telltale Inc. I have been in the game industry since 1993; my career prior to Telltale was spent at LucasArts, where I was a Tester, a Supervisor, a Producer and a Director. I have worked on adventure game titles such as Day of the Tentacle and Sam and Max Hit the Road, as well as the ill-fated Freelance Police, Star Wars titles Rogue Squadron and X-Wing Alliance, and many others.

And of course some more insight around Sin episodes. not much new info but pretty well a good overview.


EDIT: Adding more episodic natured games.

Neverwinter nights modules. Pretty cheap add good gameplay, new scenerios scenery and mainly all voice over stuff. Very good for the price they are offering.

So do you guy think episodic content digitally distributed will start to become a mandatory thing in the pc spectrum? Do yah think that these concepts will flop? Whats your opinion on that nature of episodes and so forth. Weve seen alot of full priced games with aroudn the same amount of gameplay hours as these episodes look to have. so the short game experiance isn't so much a new thing.

08-04-05, 08:13 AM
I think they're an okay idea as long as the platform that is distributing said games isn't buggy or overly-intrusive and the prices aren't ridiculous. Like, I would be willing to pay max $10 for a game episode and it better be at least 5hrs of play for that much, too. But more than $10 for the same amount of content is just a rip off...I think that even $10 is maybe a bit too high.

08-04-05, 08:17 AM
while i understand what your saying. Pariah was a 6 hour game. Prince of persia sands of time was a short short game. So saying 5 opr 6 hours for 10-20 bucks is to expensive is kinda silly. Because there are a ton of games that have that time range and were priced at the 29-49 range. I'm not going to respond to the obvious jab at steam either. you have the ability to turn off steams patching system if you want to.

08-04-05, 08:30 AM
I wasn't making a jab at Steam. While I think it's got some problems, I actually really like it.

But think about it...let's say a game is going to be 5 episodes and each episode is 5 hours long, max. And they want $15 per episode. Doesn't paying $15 five times seem like a hell of a lot more than paying $50 (or maybe even less) once for the same content? HL2 hasn't gone on sale on Steam yet, but it was down to $30 in stores a number of times. Most of the time, I wait to buy a game until it gets down into the $30 range, just becuase, no matter how great it is, I can't justify $50 on a game. It's ridiculous.

And Pariah was a ****ty game anyway.

08-04-05, 08:50 AM
Like i said i understand what your saying. Most games are 10 hours now. Very few games are left with the 40+ hour gameplay design. RPG games are different in that respect. But in the fps area most of the recently release games are 10-15 hours. 20 if you take it slow and look at everything you possibly can. For instance in hl2 it took me 22 hours to beat it. then i explored every nook and cranny looking for secrets and it took me 43 hours. And the last time i beat it i blizted it in 10 hours, lol. Max payne/max payne 2 are great examples of very very short games, but were excellent fun and well worth the money. Again i do understand what your saying. but imagine the game coninuing say indefinatly you influencing the stories based on the way you completed it and so forth. the paradigm that episodic content allows for is quite interesting when you think of it in design terms. I'm not saying any of these current titles will have content controlled dynamic changes to the future episodes. But imagine future episodes where set actions are remembered and when you load up the next episode the content your playing is dynamically different then say your best freinds who chose to save the girl, and let the guy die. To the point where your on opposite ends of the spectrum as compared to your friend.

and yes pariah was horrible. lol

ahh and to address your on sale thing. Episodes will eventually go retail for a more bargain price of course. Games always do. but by doing games this way the developers control their own fate/design decisions. Thus the publisher isn't nixxing a gameplay element they think is to 'risky'. It makes it so finally developers have a negotiating tool against publishers. More power to the developer = much better games in the long run, and perhaps alot of miserably failed prospects lol.

08-04-05, 09:58 AM
Honestly what I'd like to see is a game with a streamlined content creation process to the point where you have a monthly subscription, and you get a new "episode" or something every week. I'm not talking anything in the realm of 10 hours per ep, but something closer to an hour or two. This would undoubtably work better for slower paced games than faster. I doubt any of you remember, but back in the day when Origin Systems was still around, they released Wing Commander: Secret Ops which was a sequel to Wind Commander: Prophecy. The thing was, it was free, released online, and had episodic content. You'd download 2 or 3 missions every week, and the website had journals and logs which fleshed out the plot. There were also a few in-game cutscenes too. And the nature of the game made this really easy. You write a few logs for story, pick a back-drop for the level, drop a few craft in there for the encounters, script some objectives and bam, you're done.

I could easily imagine an RPG with the same sort of system, especially since randomly generated dungeons seem to be standard now. Script up a cutscene and a few quests, tell the system which rooms HAVE to be planted in the dungeon, maybe touch up what is randomly generated by hand a little bit till you are satisfied and bam, instant episode. I'm imagining this the same way TV shows have seasons and episodes really. Provided they kept it interesting each week, I'd buy into it.

08-04-05, 10:07 AM
I hope this idea flys. We will have great original games just like the old days again :)

08-04-05, 10:11 AM
Yes, me too. I think this could really be a great way to distribute games. :D

08-04-05, 10:34 AM
I'm a nut about having a box and instructions and all that other fun stuff you get with a game. Digital Distribution axes all that. That is, unless they do what valve did for hl2 and mail you the stuff, which then i'm all for.

I think it's a good way to fight against piracy. But at the same time, I dont like the idea of paying for 5 mini games which equal on huge game, because I gurantee they'll make it end up costing you more in the end. Sure $15 a game is nice...but if it's 8 "episodes"...

08-04-05, 10:39 AM
That's exactly what I'm saying about the total cost...and yeah, the lack of anything tangible is also something I don't like. I want a manual I can read whilst shatting.

08-04-05, 10:41 AM
what if its an episode every 3 months for an unlimited time frame? Not just 4 or 6 or 8 whatever. But say 5 years straight every 3 months. Where the plot twists and changes and its always new types of gameplay and mechanics, and not just the same gameplay/mechanic as in the first 2 hours of play.

08-04-05, 10:42 AM
BioWare is already doing it with Neverwinter Nights. They have premium modules selling for between 5.99 - 9.99, and they provide about 5-10 hours of unique gameplay. It is nice becasue they are decent fun and generally have full VO. Not a bad deal for $10 bucks if you really love the game series (though personally I haven't bought any NWN modules)

08-04-05, 10:46 AM
Yes thats another episode based development now out/being worked on. I should have put that one in there as well. Although thats also alot easier because its mainly just scritping.

EDIT: added the nwn module page to the original post. I almost forgot about that one thanks =)

08-04-05, 01:17 PM
That's exactly what I'm saying about the total cost...and yeah, the lack of anything tangible is also something I don't like. I want a manual I can read whilst shatting.
Yeah I used to be like that too but Steam has broken me in. I keep all my games in a CD case now anyway and all the boxes and stuff are just taking up space in my room.

Mr. Hunt
08-04-05, 01:22 PM
I don't like it... I prefer to buy a full game and be able to beat it... not play for a while and have to wait to shell out even more money a few months later and by that time I forgot what I was even doing in the game.