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The End of Episodic Gaming at Telltale?

posted by RAnthonyMahan on - last edited - Viewed by 1.5K users

(DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Telltale, or anywhere else in the gaming industry. Everything I say here is pure speculation, so please don't take it as anything official. Kthx.)

There have been two pieces of Telltale-related news lately that interested me. I think it might be possible they're leading into something bigger.

The first is that Jurassic Park won't be released episodically (unless you're on the iPad). The game will still be divided into separate episodes, yes, but all of them will be released at once.

Now, I don't believe Telltale's doing this because they're tired of episodic gaming. If you recall, JP was originally going to be released in April for the PC, but in fall for consoles. Apparently Microsoft demanded every version be released at the same time, pushing the PC version back and forcing Telltale to develop all the episodes before they can be finished. Even if Telltale isn't doing this to avoid episodic gaming, though, the fact stands that they're making a full-length non-episodic game, and I'm sure they're taking advantage of the opportunity to test how people receive it.

The second is that, in addition to Telltale's previously announced publishing deal with Microsoft, they've signed similar deals with Nintendo and Sony. (Their previous publishing deal with Sony only allowed them to publish downloadable games, but now they can publish retail games too.) So if Telltale wanted to, they could give their games disc releases on all three consoles. They'd no longer have to deal with the constraints PSN/XBLA/WiiWare force on games. Not to mention that, as far as consoles go, retail games get more exposure than downloadable titles.

Now, I admire Telltale for having more success with the episodic format than any other developer's managed, but the fact is that episodic gaming carries a lot of inherent problems. The games have to be small (a big issue for an adventure game, since so much of the appeal lies in exploration!). The demanding release schedule means you either rush the episodes' development or fail to release them on time. It's next to impossible to pull off on consoles. If you're doing a more open-ended series, like The Walking Dead is supposed to be, it could be difficult implementing proper continuity between the episodes. (Look at all the reports of Marty getting called by the wrong alias in BttF, and that was just a single choice!) I get a feeling that some people at Telltale have been debating if it's worth sticking to episodic games.

So, as I said before, I suspect Telltale is treating Jurassic Park as a big experiment to see how making a game the normal way turns out for them. If it goes well...who knows what they'll decide in the future? I wouldn't be surprised if The Walking Dead ends up being Telltale's last episodic game. (And even then, it might only be episodic in the same way that Jurassic Park is.)

So...do you think Telltale should stick to episodic gaming or not? And do you think it's likely they'll make the switch? Discuss and whatnot.

82 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Well, not really. I mean, it's and ending....Guybrush escapes...but it's so incredibly anti-climactic and abrupt that it doesn't really end up being satisfying at all.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Well, not really. I mean, it's and ending....Guybrush escapes...but it's so incredibly anti-climactic and abrupt that it doesn't really end up being satisfying at all.

    as opposed to what? you'd rather he stayed?

  • I honestly wouldn't have minded it either way, really. If he had stayed stuck in he underworld it would left on a bitter-sweet note with maybe hope for the future, which is always an ending that I like, but I still do like the ending as it is because you finally get to use that bloody ring that you've been carrying around for, what, four episodes? Seriously, I was actually rather relieved that the thing even had a use in the end, and happy that it's use sorta wrapped up the story nicely.

    I guess I'm just easily pleased. Or something like that.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Well, not really. I mean, it's and ending....Guybrush escapes...but it's so incredibly anti-climactic and abrupt that it doesn't really end up being satisfying at all.


    Ok. So you're saying that the kid who only ever wanted to be a pirate gets rewarded by being victim to a plague-like virus, dying at the hand of a former 'friend', coming back as a ghost and a zombie, having his wife stolen and the (un)living hell beaten out of him by LeChuck and then finally ends up stuck in purgatory/the crossroads/the afterlife/whatever forever.

    :guybrush:

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Well, not really. I mean, it's and ending....Guybrush escapes...but it's so incredibly anti-climactic and abrupt that it doesn't really end up being satisfying at all.



    Anti-climatic? The ring that was given to you way back in chapter two finally gets a use and Elaine's obsession with you having it finally makes sense. I was very satisfied with the ending.

  • No, I too rather had Guybrush "stuck" there.
    Until the next Monkey Island season of course, that is!

  • @Chyron8472 said: as opposed to what? you'd rather he stayed?


    No, that's not quite what MusicallyInspired was saying. He was merely saying that the ending that we were given wasn't exactly "infinitely more satisfying" than the alternative. He wasn't so much saying that one ending would be better than the other; he was mostly just criticizing the poor execution of the ending that we were given.

    @Chyron8472 said: Ok. So you're saying that the kid who only ever wanted to be a pirate gets rewarded by being victim to a plague-like virus, dying at the hand of a former 'friend', coming back as a ghost and a zombie, having his wife stolen and the (un)living hell beaten out of him by LeChuck and then finally ends up stuck in purgatory/the crossroads/the afterlife/whatever forever.

    Again, why are we assuming this? As far as I can tell, MusicallyInspired didn't actually directly/blatantly say "this ending would be better than this ending". Why are we responding to something that wasn't actually put forward in the comment?

    He was saying that the ending of 'ToMI' was relatively unsatisfying due to the manner in which it was done.

    @Chyron8472 said: Anti-climatic? The ring that was given to you way back in chapter two finally gets a use and Elaine's obsession with you having it finally makes sense. I was very satisfied with the ending.

    As he said in his comment, the ending was extremely abrupt. This was essentially the main reason for the ending being anti-climactic. Yes, everything turned out how it should have (in the eyes of most fans), and it was a cheerful, light-hearted conclusion, but it jumped far too quickly from frantic action, to a depressing scene of hopelessness, to happiness and joy, to the credits. The pacing was poor; it all happened too quickly for any of it to properly sink in. The ending really needed to be drawn out a little more; not ridiculously, like in some games and films, but it certainly could have done with something slightly longer and substantial.

    @Chyron8472 said: No, I too rather had Guybrush "stuck" there.
    Until the next Monkey Island season of course, that is!

    Yes, I think I sort of agree with you. While I do enjoy the ending (itself) that we got, I can certainly see the appeal in this alternative. All-in-all, it would give Guybrush's sacrifice a whole lot more meaning, it would break the trend of constant happy endings, it would make the ending of "Trial & Execution..." much more profound, and it would be a ballsy ending that would've been unexpected and extremely memorable.

  • Hayden read me correctly, I never meant that being stuck in the underworld was a better ending. Just that the ending that's there is incredibly short and a bit underwhelming. Not executed as well as it could have been.

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