Friday, December 23, 2005

Episodic content? been done for years.

As much as the hardcore and the hardcore/wannabe-casual-get-rich-quick-with-bejeweled-knockoff crowd keeps talking about episodic content, it's been done now for years. Nancy Drew . Most of the hardcore have undoubtedly never heard of Nancy Drew, eewwww girl games!

Actually these are fantastic adventure games, some have a bit of a girl slant but for the most part they are accessible to both guys and gals. Their history is also about as indie as you can get. They started off not being able to get a traditional publishing deal (ewww girl games? girl ADVENTURE games? ahahaha) so they ended up selling on Amazon where sales were large enough to garner some retail publishing interest.

13 games later and 5 years later, still using mostly the same engine with feature innovations throughout the years. Their job security is probably the highest in the industry outside of EA. The only thing that changes from game to game is the art and the stories. This is something a lot of us dream of, but yet can't quite achieve with Quake Mission Pack 5. While graphics get old, and get old quickly, stories are something that's timeless with a universal appeal. The games come out 2 or 3 times a year, quick enough to keep the level of interest high throughout the years. Not to mention the constant flow of revenue that most developers would die for. Each game can be beaten in the space of a day or in a weekend and despite the short length, we're eager for more.

Fans of Nancy Drew games await new games like new parts of a movie trilogy or tv mini series, with no care in the world as to whether each new game has HDR lighting or Anisotropic Specular Bumpmapping Plus Alpha Champion Edition. They've even achieved the publisher's holy grail. It's the same game yet different each time, for 13 games straight. We've got this "story" thing into our engine!

I'd love to see a comparison revenue wise between a traditional, bet the farm 3-4 year AAA title and these guys. It would be interesting to see if the picture is quite as rosy as I paint it. For now however, Her Interactive, I salute thee. 5 more Nancy Drew games to go, I'm having lots of fun :)


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