Kotaku is reporting that Fable III is going episodic. You can read the article here:
The phrase "Fable III is going episodic" had me a bit concerned when I started reading, because to me that implied self-contained chapters that break up the story a bit much. However, it seems to me after reading further that the term is misleading. "Episodic" means that the game's distribution will be handled in that manner--on an optional basis--which I actually find pretty cool.
If I'm understanding things properly, players will be able to download the first hour or so of gameplay absolutely free, without buying the retail package that contains the whole game. If they like what they've played during that first hour, they can buy the next chunk of the game and they can keep going as necessary until they reach the end (if they continue to have fun).
This actually strikes me as a bit genius. It's different than a demo, which to me so seldom represents an accurate experience of the final game and often even includes abilities that aren't normally available during one stage or another that the demo may happen to feature. Instead, this is like the episodic manner in which novels were released in merry old England. Dickens wrote his stories in an episodic manner, I've read. We read those now as novels, and when we reach the end of a chapter we want to keep reading because we're having a good time and we want to see what comes next.
Episodic game releases, at least for an action-RPG such as Fable III, seem like the perfect solution. An hour is enough time to let me know if I'm likely to abhor the game, or it's enough for the game to hook me if it has something that I'm likely to like. Breaking the game up like that and giving me several chances to back out without continued investments is nice, too. Some games can manage a few good hours before they start to suck. The other good news is that the developers in this case must be confident in what they've put together.
I've been wanting to play Fable III. When it comes out, I'll pick up the full retail version if possible, right from the start. But it's nice to know that I don't ahve to. It's nice to see a developer/publisher taking a chance with new distribution models. I can imagine this really working well and I can imagine coming to love it.
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|EmP - July 01, 2010 (04:20 PM)
Jason, you backwards hillbilly, episodic gameplay has been proven as brilliant so long as it's kept firmly away from Valve. It was brilliant back in 2000 when Capcom released the El Dorado Gate series on the Dreamcast and it's brilliant now with Telltale showing everyone exactly how it's to be done right.
Selling the game in chunks isn't really epsodic but if the chunks of said game all add up to around the cost of the full one, I'd say it's a brave gambit that I would probably reward with a purchase. The first Fable might be absolute rubbish, but the second turned my opinion.