Episodic gaming has always felt like an idea that was ahead of its time. For many players, this is a compelling concept: story-driven games are broken into digestible chunks that you can play over the course of weeks or months. But the realities of the game’s development and release schedule proved problematic. Telltale Games, the studio behind the episodes like hits The walking dead And Batman, Maligned as a conflict with demands to release new episodes every month. Meanwhile, last year Life is weird 2 Excellent as chapters launched at an uncertain pace after every few months, but it was difficult to maintain.
But with the advent of subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, episodic games may finally get their moment.
I came to the feeling while playing Tell me why On Xbox One, the latest release of French studio Dontnod, the team behind the same Life is weird Chain. This is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the studio: a mix of prestige drama TV and classic point-and-click adventure games. Players control two twins living in a small town in Alaska, who are traumatized by their mother’s death and her secret life. It is as emotional and entertaining as the studio’s previous work, and also an interesting new superpower to play with; Twins have a mental connection, which they can use to talk to each other and to relive old memories.
The story itself is very good, and I’m hooked from the beginning. First episode of Tell me why Launched on August 27, new chapters were revealed on a weekly basis. The third and final episode is out today. This rhythm has proved particularly compelling; In the past, episodic games usually released new chapters every month or two, making it difficult to keep track of the story. Usually, I’ll wait until every episode is released and play through it all at once. But with Tell me whyKnowing that there would be a new episode every week, I did a different diving as soon as the next chapter was released.
This is a model that fits specifically with a streaming service like Game Pass, which is starting to feel like the long-sought Netflix for games. The whole process is seamless: I don’t have to worry about buying new episodes or tracking my savings. It all just works, so I can focus on enjoying the story.
The sales pitch for Game Pass has reached Microsoft’s major exclusions; If you subscribe, you won’t have to buy a new one. Aura or Gears Sports, because they are part of the service. But Microsoft has done a great job of continuously making game passes with different experiences. Big online world like luckLike survival games land, And classic arcade titles such as Battletoads. Enough that game passes have become an important part of Microsoft’s next-gen strategy. When I finally buy the Xbox Series X, there’s a strong chance that I won’t actually buy a game for it. I’ll just play things on the game pass.
Episodic games fit in perfectly with this strategy. For one thing, they are small, the kind of experience you can play between big games. But their story-driven nature also means they deal with a variety of topics – and, in turn, may appeal to new audiences compared to traditional blockbusters. Dontnod has become particularly adept at this. First two seasons of Life is weird Difficult topics such as suicide and racism were covered in a way that was both direct and sensitive, rare among mainstream sports. Tell me why It is trying something similar in relation to its transgender lead character. These types of games can open up to a brand-new audience due to increasing service like Game Pass.
Subscription services do not necessarily resolve every issue with episodic games. Releasing new games on a weekly or monthly basis is still a major undertaking for any developer; Tell me why The episode appears to have been completed before it began, which may be a solution. Other than that, however, both seem to be a perfect fit. As services like Game Pass continue to grow like their streaming television counterparts, games that combine interactivity with TV-style storytelling seem to make a lot of sense. It took a few years, but the industry finally gained momentum.