Funcom put out a press release today to state that they'd received a grant from the Norwegian Film Fund to partially finance the research and development phase and a bit of preproduction for an episodic continuation of 'The Longest Journey' series of games titled 'Dreamfall Chapters'. The release even makes mention that part of this exercise will be to research ways to expand the brand while reducing piracy and specifically pointing out the possibility of an MMO iteration of 'The Longest Journey'.
Now, I've never had the pleasure of playing The Longest Journey myself, but I do know people who played it and its less well received sequel, Dreamfall. An episodic delivery form might not be the worse direction to go because it seems to lend itself to being broken down into small chunks. However, an MMO? Didn't anyone learn anything from Uru : Ages Beyond Myst? That seems like a bad idea...
Can anyone else think of maybe another direction to go to 'increase brand value while reducing piracy'? What are the chances for a successful 'Dreamfall Chapters' or Longest Journey MMO?
Sure, I can't wait to lay my paws on those new Sam & Max games, but I still don't understand why they couldn't release them simultaneously.
Besides, from what I heard, Sam & Max episodes are real episodes, i.e. each one of them has its own complete story, unlike some other episodic games that simply end each installment with a cliffhanger.
And I'll never forget what happened to Shenmue... all because of this ambition to make episodic games.
They're standalone episodes, but some references are made to the earlier ones, such as Sybil having a new job in each episode (you can see her old jobs on a blackboard) and Bosco using a different disguise in each instalment. The story also advances based on events in the earlier ones and a lot of characters return each time, along with a lot of running gags.
It works incredibly well, I've enjoyed the first 4 episodes much more than regular adventure games I've played lately. You don't get tired of the game easily when there's some time in between.