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Episodic gaming: Do we want it?

This week's bombshell dropped by Valve delaying Half-Life 2: Episode Two AGAIN has kicked off renewed discussion on episodic gaming. Is it working and is it a good idea to release games in this format? Lost would have been canned long ago if the ABC couldn't get its episodes out on time.

It all hangs, of course, on the developer. When a major studio like Valve leaves us waiting 18 months between episodes, you'd be excused for reacting negatively to episodic gaming. But then take a look at Telltale Games with Sam & Max.



Above: A scene from episode 4 of Sam & Max, which puts them three episodes ahead of Half-Life

Telltale's revival of detective duo Sam & Max in episodic form has been a huge success in terms of the developer delivering new installments on a regular basis.

While Valve's attempts to deliver episodic content could be looked on as a cautionary tale, Telltale is an example of "when episodic gaming goes right."

"When we started our company a few short years ago, we had a vision for creating a completely new kind of experience," Telltale CEO Dan Connor recently explained. "It's been exciting to reach this monthly episodic delivery milestone so quickly. People have been responding very positively to the idea of getting engaging, interactive stories delivered to them on a regular basis."

A tip o' the hat to Telltale then, but it remains the only real episodic gaming success story to date.

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