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Starhawk, Or: Another Experiment With ‘Episodic’ Delivery

Starhawk, Or: Another Experiment With ‘Episodic’ Delivery

Half a game, yesterday.

Starhawk has revealed itself to be the rather fitting reattempt to sell games to us in a different way. Rather than the full package at once, it’s been split into single and multiplayer segments, available separately online, or just together if you’re old fashioned and want to pay an extra £14 for a throwaway single-player mode.

Thinking about this was prompted by this fine blog on TSA, I feel the need to point out – one of the few times I’ve read something and just agreed from start to finish. So hey, there’s that.

It makes me think back to the heady days of ‘episodic gaming’, when this was a dream only dared to be believed by the truly insane. Or Tomb Raider: Anniversary on Xbox 360. It was the dream for publishers: the first one’s free, you have to pay for the rest – and a low-to-no-risk venture for gamers themselves.

Yet it never caught on in a huge way, these days relegated to use in smaller, lower budget titles like Telltale’s releases. Though that’s not to say they’re not worth playing, because The Walking Dead is incredible and go and buy it now, yeah?

But this move by Sony – pushing one of its first-party titles into the realms of experimental release forms (as is fair to point out: quite a while after it was actually released) is an interesting step. And a good one, too.

Giving users control is, in my eyes, one of the best things you can do. Games are already naturally broken up into sections – levels, classes, single and multiplayer segments, play modes, tracks and so on – and giving players the chance to pick and choose what they have can only be a good thing.

Unless it’s the MX vs ATV: Alive model of charging £30 for a glorified demo then pounds and pounds on top of it for basic play modes. That’s just stupid.

So, in this roundabout, nonsensical blog that’s just fallen out of my brain we have decided this: ‘modular’ gaming could well be brilliant, it just needs publishers that aren’t insane and stupid with their pricing and how it’s rationed out.

Which means it’s unlikely to ever work, because they are all, as we know, insane.

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