No doubt following Telltale Games' lead with the success of Sam & Max Season One, Funcom recently announced plans to develop Dreamfall Chapters, an online episodic sequel to the recent GAG Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.
Here's a bit from the press release:
. Funcom naturally welcomes the continued cultural acceptance of computer games as a medium comparable to film and television. Fans can now look forward to new online chapters in one of the most popular adventure sagas of all time.
Each new installment of â€˜Dreamfall Chaptersâ€™ will initially be delivered as online-only content, but there may be retail releases with combined chapters, both for console and PC, at a later stage.
Check out the full press release here: Longest Journey Continues in Episodic Format
It's great that commercial GAGs seem to be having some success with the episodic format, though it seems like some gaming is leaning in that way in general, particularly when it comes to expansion packs.
Anyone have a chance to play Sam & Max Season One yet? The reviews have been positive, but each segment is fairly short (1-3 hours).
I (bitterly) haven't had the chance to try these yet, even though I'm a big fan of the original game. However, ACG has reviews posted of Part One and Part Two. In general, it looks like Part One is quite a bit better than Part Two, so I'm hoping the series won't enter a steep downward spiral.
I really enjoy the notion of episodic games, provided they don't get carried away and start doling up crap. Episodes should be spaced out at least three months apart. My guess is that once you get beyond that, stuff starts getting "slapped" together and formulas are substituted for creativity. Actually, I'd even be happy with a new episode every six months if it meant better production values, and I'm sure most people are of the same mindset. At some point, I'd be getting nervous that my queue would get too full, and I'd end up with far more games that I had time to play.
One interesting idea might be to follow the examples set by comics. Release very small installments, and at the end, release the entire game as one nice package. Comic story arcs tend to show up as graphic novels a few months after the arc is completed in the comics. Many people with limited time just wait for the graphic novels to come out rather than chasing down each new comic.
I have GameTap and have made a point of playing episode 1. I didn't have time to get very far, but it's pretty much a carbon copy of the original LucasArts game in terms of presentation, just with a simple 3D engine. This is a traditional adventure game plain and simple, and, depending upon one's perspective, either a good or bad thing (personally I'd like to have seen a little innovation in terms of mechanics by now).
Frankly, as one gets older and more busy with things, I think episodic gaming has a nice advantage, in that I can target completing one or two episodes, without having to bother with playing through a much larger game, which is probably not practical. It makes it much easier to pick up a new episode six months later rather than trying to pick up where you left off in a game six months ago.
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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