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My Comments on the Telltale Pilot Program (Warning Long Post)

posted by Harukuro on - last edited - Viewed by 421 users

Hey there Telltale.

I know it’s only been less than a month that we’ve heard about “Puzzle Agent” and less than a week since you guys have announced the “Telltale Pilot Project” but there still are some questions I have to ask about this new ‘risk’ you guys are taking episodic gaming. For starters let me just say well done on creating a Pilot program; this shows that you guys have taken the next logical step to episodic gaming (in my opinion at least). This is because you guys are doing exactly what you have always said you’d do: treat your games like a season of a television series.

But to me the most important feature about the Pilot Program is that it gives you guys the ability to become more creative in both the story and design of your games. With this Pilot program you’re able to work on projects that are not quite ‘main stream’ as your previous titles are and also looking into new ideas that would not regularly become games in the first place.
But now this brings up my major question:
How does the Pilot program work/is going to work? I know that this may be considered something along the lines of a magician revealing his secrets, but it still is a question that needs to be asked. Who will you contact to think up these new ideas within and outside of Telltale? Will you allow outsiders that you’ve had no previous working experience with come submit their pitch? How many pilots do you intend to do in the course of a year?

I know these are all big questions, but I think that this is a good thing since it means that you guys are breaking out of a regular format and diving into something new, exciting and (hopefully) fun. Will it work? It’s up to you guys, but I personally think that this step forward is exactly the kind challenge that you guys can face up against without much hassle considering the fact that the company has grown so much in such a short amount of time. Anyway in short I wish you all the best of luck on “Puzzle Agent” and the rest of your planned Pilots in the not so distant future.

Anyway I just wanted to throw these comments out there because I think it's an important topic to discuss and think about especially since video games are a constantly evolving medium that still is in its early stages and therefore still has a lot of untapped potential that hasn't even been thought up yet.

Keep up the awesome work.

Harukuro

35 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I don't think players will like to make a survey right away finished the game. At least I would find that a bad decision.

    Sales is a good indicators for starters. After that, if you to know more, you can use a survey. But not right away after finish the piece, please!

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @GinnyN said: I don't think players will like to make a survey right away finished the game. At least I would find that a bad decision.

    Sales is a good indicators for starters. After that, if you to know more, you can use a survey. But not right away after finish the piece, please!


    I'd imagine forum activity and press coverage would be a deciding factor on whether Telltale decides to order a whole season too.

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    How Telltale will assess the success (or otherwise) of the pilots is an interesting question.

    Sales are an excellent place to start, but initial sales would largely demonstrate interest in the concept itself rather than whether or not people actually enjoyed the game after playing. Ongoing sales might have more to do with reputation and word-of-mouth, so they might be a better indicator of enjoyment (and therefore the likely success of a full season).

    @GinnyN said: I don't think players will like to make a survey right away finished the game. At least I would find that a bad decision.

    A decent model for an "immediately after the fact" survey could be the survey cards that are sometimes handed out by market researchers for new releases in cinemas. The cards ask for brief demographic information and have a couple of basic questions about the film. The researcher hands you the card as you walk in, you can fill out all the demographic info during the previews, then at the end of the film you just tick a few boxes and hand the card back to the researcher as you exit the cinema. The key is to make the feedback process as effortless and unobstrusive as possible for the consumer.

    For the pilot program, a single question like "Would you buy another game in this series?" might be ok at the end of the game, but anything longer or more involved than that could be extremely irritating for the player. Additionally, while that question provides a general idea of the response to the game, it doesn't give you any granularity - what did people like about the game, what did they hate? WHY would or wouldn't they buy another installment? This is stuff that you'd probably want to know if you were going to progress the pilot to a full-fledged season.

    Maybe a more detailed email survey sent, say, 2 weeks after the game is purchased would be useful and get a decent response. Customers could opt-in at the time of purchase. An analysis of critics' reviews would serve a similar function, although the sample size is obviously going to be smaller, and you can't necessarily slot their opinions into pre-defined questions - the data would probably be more qualitative than quantitative.

    I'm sure that whatever Telltale does, they'll refine the feedback process as the pilot program develops. In this context it seems like something that is pretty important to get right.

  • @puzzlebox said: Maybe a more detailed email survey sent, say, 2 weeks after the game is purchased would be useful and get a decent response.



    How do you email a Wiiware or iPod customer...?

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    @axelkothe said: How do you email a Wiiware or iPod customer...?



    Not a clue! I just went on a ramble, it's hardly an action plan. :)

  • They could add a message at the end of the game, something like "Please check our site and fill in the survey", and just have the survey either on a special page, or just a thread on the forums.

  • I say they should send a handwritten letter to each customer, instead of a formal survey.

    "I LIKE YOU, DO YOU LIKE ME BACK?

    CIRCLE ONE

    YES NO"

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    They should release great flocks of white doves, each one trained to fly to a customer's house and coo "Did you like the game?" in Morse code.

  • The only flaw being nobody under the age of 67 knows Morse Code. So the doves would be better flying to elderly people's houses and morse coding a message like "Did your grandchildren play Puzzle Agent, and if so would they buy another? Tie a green ribbon to one of my feet for yes, red for no."

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    @jp-30 said: The only flaw being nobody under the age of 67 knows Morse Code. So the doves would be better flying to elderly people's houses and morse coding a message like "Did your grandchildren play Puzzle Agent, and if so would they buy another? Tie a green ribbon to one of my feet for yes, red for no."



    Now that is much more practical. They could home in on the smell of liniment and boiled cabbage.

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