Super Meat Boy Dev Lashes Out at Episodic Games

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Super Meat Boy Dev Lashes Out at Episodic Games

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Team Meat has busted out the vitriol and the hyperbole as it decries episodic gaming as a con.

Team Meat, developer of XBLA platformer Super Meat Boy, has laid in to episodic gaming, saying that it's just a way for publishers to force people into paying more for a game. Team Meat vowed to kill itself before it would ever release an episodic game.

The colorful statement originated on Team Meat's Twitter feed, where it was asking fans about the best way of getting the game on to the Wii. The size limit for WiiWare games - just 39MB - made the game too large to release as it was, so Team Meat asked fans whether they'd be willing to accept an obviously inferior version compared to the XBLA game, or wait for a $20 retail version with extra content. When the idea of splitting the game up into episodes came up, Team Meat very quickly shot it down, saying that the logistics of doing so would cause more of a delay than releasing it in stores.

It seems that not all fans saw the first reply, however, and kept suggesting an episodic release, leading to Team Meat to comment, "Dear Internets: Super Meat Boy on Wii will NOT be Episodic. That's retarded and we won't do it. I'd rather kill myself." When fans questioned the reasons behind the harsh wording of its previous comment, Team Meat responded with, "[Episodic gaming is] a way for companies to trick you into paying more for a game. Sonic f*cking 4."

There's obviously an element of truth in Team Meat's comments - there is potential for abuse in the episodic gaming model - but there's simply no way that gouging customers for cash is the only reason a developer decides to make an episodic game. Admittedly, the example that Team Meat cites, Sonic 4, is kind of pricey at around $15, but on the other hand you have developers like Telltale, which sells its episodic games at a very reasonable price, which makes it impossible to make any generalization about motive.

Super Meat Boy is available now for Xbox Live Arcade, and comes out for Mac and PC via Steam later this month.

Source: Destructoid

Permalink

I love Team Meat more each and every day. I wonder if they will marry me.

"Sonic f*cking 4."

Amusing. If only I didn't find this game stupidly hard I'd buy it. But then, that's the appeal there, huh? :P

Yeah, sometimes episodic games can be a little expensive. Or in some cases *coughHalfLifecough* the episode never comes out.

ohgodalex:
I love Team Meat more each and every day. I wonder if they will marry me.

Not if they don't marry me first *shove*
Just kidding I'm sorry... I'm a little competitive!

This makes me smile. Very happy with that result!

Unless your name is Telltale, you can NOT do episodic gaming.

Everyone else fucks it up. Whether through timing or cost.

Logan Westbrook:
When the idea of splitting the game up into episodes came up, Team Meat very quickly shot it down, saying that the logistics of doing so would cause more of a delay then releasing it in stores.

*than

Logan Westbrook:
There's obviously an element of truth in Team Meat's comments - there is potential for abuse in the episodic gaming model - but there's simply no way that gauging customers for cash is the only reason a developer decides to make an episodic game.

*gouging

OT: My petty spelling quibbles aside, I disagree with the idea that it's entirely about profit. It's also about publicity. Release a game once, and it'll burn brightly for a while before fading out. Release it in chunks, and you can grab more headlines and reviews over a longer period, keeping your company's name floating a little higher in the melthing pot of the internet.

I'm still opposed to episodic games, however. If I'm playing a game, I want to sit down and play the damn thing, not reach an arbitrary point before being told "Sorry pal, you'll have to wait a few months to continue your game!"

I realise that each episode is designed to be a self-contained story arc within the larger narrative, but I still don't want to have to wait or have to go download a new installment or whatever. I just want to sit down and play from start to finish, or until I get bored. With an episodic, I'm more likely to lose interest in the period between installments than I am if I have the full game stretched ahead of me. I know that people will tell me to wait for them all to be released and play them in order, but by that time the initial "Oh, that looks fun" spark will have gone out and my mind will be on other games.

SonicWaffle:

OT: My petty spelling quibbles aside, I disagree with the idea that it's entirely about profit. It's also about publicity. Release a game once, and it'll burn brightly for a while before fading out. Release it in chunks, and you can grab more headlines and reviews over a longer period, keeping your company's name floating a little higher in the melthing pot of the internet.

*melting

See I can do it too ;)

To me, episodic gaming is pointless because once I finish an episode I've had enough of the game and am unlikely to buy the next one anyway. If I had the entire game I'd feel an onus on myself to keep playing.

I personally hate it when people make blanket statements, it reeks of ignorance, yes there are episodic games that are a blatant rip off, but there are also games that make it work; allowing developers to push out a chunk of fun every few months rather then every few years, and the price is also a consideration.

Of course there are times when episodic games are just plain obnoxious (*cough* Half Life 2 *cough*)

Nerf Ninja:

SonicWaffle:

OT: My petty spelling quibbles aside, I disagree with the idea that it's entirely about profit. It's also about publicity. Release a game once, and it'll burn brightly for a while before fading out. Release it in chunks, and you can grab more headlines and reviews over a longer period, keeping your company's name floating a little higher in the melthing pot of the internet.

*melting

See I can do it too ;)

Hoisted! Hoisted by my own petard! Oh, the shame and ignominy! I shall flee to deepest, darkest Africa and live out my days as a lonely, embittered hermit crying into his tatty and mangled beard. As I die, cold and alone and filthy with the accumulated grime of years, with my last breath I shall curse the carelessness in posting which brought me to such ruin. Curse it twice, thrice, curse it with such vitriolic fury that as my life slips away and my wizened, black heart beats it's last I will drag it down to Hell with me!

TL;DR - Whoops :-P

SonicWaffle:

Nerf Ninja:

SonicWaffle:

OT: My petty spelling quibbles aside, I disagree with the idea that it's entirely about profit. It's also about publicity. Release a game once, and it'll burn brightly for a while before fading out. Release it in chunks, and you can grab more headlines and reviews over a longer period, keeping your company's name floating a little higher in the melthing pot of the internet.

*melting

See I can do it too ;)

Hoisted! Hoisted by my own petard! Oh, the shame and ignominy! I shall flee to deepest, darkest Africa and live out my days as a lonely, embittered hermit crying into his tatty and mangled beard. As I die, cold and alone and filthy with the accumulated grime of years, with my last breath I shall curse the carelessness in posting which brought me to such ruin. Curse it twice, thrice, curse it with such vitriolic fury that as my life slips away and my wizened, black heart beats it's last I will drag it down to Hell with me!

KHAAAAAN!!!!

...Sorry, I felt it warranted to complete that monologue

OT: They take a very close minded approach to episodic games if you ask me. Sure the market has been screwed over by titles such as the Half-Life series and the discontinuation of the Penny Arcade series, but I think episodic games are a rather unique experience. I like that with series like the Sam and Max games once a month during its season I get a game that gives me a good game condensed experience into the space of only a couple hours of play. It's just as enjoyable for me as following a TV series. Frankly I wish there were more companies putting out episodic games.

My big problem with Episodic gaming is that there is no guarantee that they will release all the episodes.

For example, I was REALLY upset when they never finished the whole "Penny Arcade" RPG series. They just didn't hold to the committment which to me makes me feel like they screwed the people who bought the first part.

I also picked up a copy of "Winter Voices" over STEAM, as I think the idea is pretty cool, however it's a 7-part series and I'll find it very annoying if they never make it to the end due to a lack of sales or whatever.

I do agree that episodic gaming is typically a scam to get people to pay more money, no doubts there, however the idea of releasing a game in "episodes" is fine when dealing with indie publishers, the problem of course being that nothing prevents them from simply never finishing the work.

I admit to a certain evil desire to have an insane fan abduct both of the Penny Arcade guys and force them to finish their RPG series after removing their feet "Misery Style". Or perhaps someone pulling a "Jigsaw" by getting an abandoned asylum, abducting all members of the design team, and placing them in "Saw" like traps attached to keyboards that inflict pain, mutilation, and death if they don't code.... "Mr. Gabe, Mr. Tycho, you promised your fans a series of games, and then refused to deliver. Today we will test your wills to survive along with that of the code monkeys who took money as part of this project...." (mentally insert SAW soundtrack).

All kidding aside, few things are more annoying than being left hanging. When it comes to episodes, sequels, and similar things I almost think there should be a law. I mean how long have people been waiting for a conclusion to "Half-Life 2"? "Simon the Sorceror" ended with a cliffhanger that will never be resolved (way back in the day), heck even back in the days of the "Commondore 64" we had "Alternate Reality" which was never finished.

Greed is a problem, but so is a notoriously unreliable industry totally driven by profit. One of the arguements against games being art, is that artists will typically finish their work for themselves if nothing else (unless they die or something). There are rare exceptions of course, but with game developers and producers they aren't willing to starve to finish their work for the possible appreciation of later generations and their fans. Rather they flee like cockroaches from the light. It shows a less artistic mentality driving the industry and it can be pointed to way back in the beginning as well.

Ah well now I'm rambling. :)

I've always hated Episodic games, the monkey island and sam and max ones were ok because you could buy the whole lot for a discounted price. From what I've seen though episodic gaming doesn't really work. Take Half Life Episode 1, it took SO long for it to get released and provided a few extra hours of fun, the same with Episode 2, entire new games were developed in the time it took for that extra few hours of HL2. the only thing that made the episodes for Half Life worth anything was the fact that they came on the Orange Box, the best value for money game package ever.

The fact is most games these days are only 6 hours long anyway and quickly followed by a sequel the next year anyway for another 6 hours worth of gameplay - episodic games would be virtually pointless.

It can be used to gauge consumers for extra money, yes. But so can DLC. It can also be used to great (and reasonably priced) effect, like with Telltale as you mentioned. Their games are story-driven point and click adventure games. These are a great fit for episodic releases. For a good use of DLC, just look at the Rock Band series. Their entire platform strategy is DLC-based. Your DLC carries forward to all new games in the series (with the exception of The Beatles, but that was a very special case). Then of course, you have have the infamous Modern Warfare 2 "Stimulus Pack" debacle.

Things like episodic gaming and DLC are tools for developers to use to sell content more effectively. They can be used badly or not. It's up to the developer.

For smaller companies episodic games are much less risky because you can make a fraction of a game, probe your sales, see if it's worth making more.
For a big company however, it certainly is a scam and it's really just picking you for pennies and they have no reason to do it.

I agree with his example of Sonic 4. Sonic 4 took me about 90 minutes to play through. I guess if I try for all the achievements I can probably double that, but 90 minutes for a single playthrough for a game I payed 10 for is ridiculous. They'll release at least another two episodes of it, and I'd have to of spent about 30 to get the 'whole game' of around five hours length.

KeyMaster45:
KHAAAAAN!!!!

...Sorry, I felt it warranted to complete that monologue

[Anakin]

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

[/Anakin]

KeyMaster45:
OT: They take a very close minded approach to episodic games if you ask me. Sure the market has been screwed over by titles such as the Half-Life series and the discontinuation of the Penny Arcade series

God, that really pissed me off. I get why they did it - sales sucked, apparently - but it still felt like a huge "fuck you" to the fans who paid for it. What made it worse was that the second episode was noticeably better than the first, showing that they were actually paying attention and improving on the shittier parts with each installment. Now we have to read it as he posts the story on the website? Tycho my boy, you seem to be failing to understand that the gothic prose was only interesting as a framing point for a game. Reading it laid out on your website is almost totally devoid of the game's enjoyment, and it makes me sadface.

At least Team Meat don't...

*glasses*

...mince their words.

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Episodic gaming is risky business; it's basically a recipe for franchise suicide.
Even the most popular and probable success has failed to deliver completely.

No, the "Tit for Tat" method of milking franchises is far less risky; it's why so many games now leave us with a fucking cliffhanger or open ending (it's almost illegal to provide closure to a series now, just in case there's more profit to be made).

Although I'm not a fan of Episodic gaming, in fact I loathe the idea, I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here and say that dev's could have other motives for doing Episodic gaming besides ripping off the customer. I'm not sure, but I imagine doing games Episodically is less expensive, and for smaller developers that can be quite an attraction. Although personally, as a gamer and consumer, I'd rather have 1 long game as opposed to several short games.

Im surprised nobody caused a stink about them using the word retarded

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OT: Cool. It makes me want to get a job and earn money to buy Super Meat Boy with. Only Telltale can do episodic right (even Valve screws it up).

Episodic releases, DLC, DRM, annual sequels...

All part of the cancer tormenting gaming.

As was said in the article, Telltale games are an example of episodic content done right. The episodes are priced such that all of them together equate to the price of a full game. It's just cooler because you sort of get mini-installments, so you're essentially playing the game as it's developed.

Half-Life 2 also has had great episodic content so far, although everyone's still wondering where the heck Episode 3 ended up.

He's partially right, though. I paid $15 for a 2-hour game when I bought Sonic 4, which is not cool at all.

They charge $15 for an old 8bit game, now that's a con! (Meat Boy Game)

Hurry and buy it while it's on sale ($10)! How it makes sense that the game is on sale when released, then will go up in price is beyond me. Who's the con again??

EDIT: Like a drug dealer, they are getting us hooked. Damn them. But seriously, go get Super Meat Boy.

The_root_of_all_evil:
At least Team Meat don't...

*glasses*

...mince their words.

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I seriously need to leave the library before they ask me to leave. I've been laughing way too much today from comments on this site.

While I haven't played Super Meat Boy yet, they seem like great people, and very funny to boot.

Funny you should bring up Telltale, because my main gripe with their games is that they are episodic.

That and the retarded controls.

I just don't think it makes a good game, to chop it up in lots of parts and have you play through it over half a year.

Yeah, this and downloadable content, though my issue with episodic gaming is that companies take for fucking ever to put them out.

I have to side with episodic releases and point out that Team Meat is blowing hot air. For a company that has never released a game with any real narrative or with high production value they talk a lot of smack without much consideration for others.

Iterative releases like 'episodes' is actually one of the only ways a smaller company is going to compete with huge behemoths like Activision in producing quality products. Remember that in a non narrative game, 'episodes' are just content downloads. Smaller companies can bankroll a smaller bite sized portion of their game without requiring as much risk. From tiny games like Alien Breed to monsters like Starcraft 2, devs can't afford the risk it would cost to produce and polish that much content and score a hit seller. Cashflow doesn't work like that.

Just another developer who doesn't think beyond their own scope when it comes to criticizing competitors. Not everyone produces graphically and mechanically simple games based on freeware flash games from Newgrounds.

Wandrecanada:
I have to side with episodic releases and point out that Team Meat is blowing hot air. For a company that has never released a game with any real narrative or with high production value they talk a lot of smack without much consideration for others.

Or, you know, it could also be that it'll take longer to cut it up into episodes instead of releasing it in retail. Which was their inital reply, and sense when was SMB low production value?

Galaxy613:

Wandrecanada:
I have to side with episodic releases and point out that Team Meat is blowing hot air. For a company that has never released a game with any real narrative or with high production value they talk a lot of smack without much consideration for others.

Or, you know, it could also be that it'll take longer to cut it up into episodes instead of releasing it in retail. Which was their inital reply, and sense when was SMB low production value?

I'm sorry but the direct quote takes a shot at companies who really need to use the episodic model and aren't doing it to rip people off. Sonic 4 and Meatboy aside the comment was making a generalization. People who make episodic games don't "cut up" their game. They fund and create the first part on a specific budget. Then they use a different pool of funds to make the next part. There is no cutting.

I'm commenting on the direct quote from Twitter which broadly targets any company making episodic games. It was crass and thoughtless and especially insulting to peer indy developers.

EmzOLV:

ohgodalex:
I love Team Meat more each and every day. I wonder if they will marry me.

Not if they don't marry me first *shove*
Just kidding I'm sorry... I'm a little competitive!

This makes me smile. Very happy with that result!

I will pull out your fingernails and use them the pull out your eyeballs.

Dear Team Meat,


Although I will agree that Sonic 4 Episode 1 is a crime against gaming. $15 and they don't even know how many more episodes are coming and when they are coming out, but they expect to have news for you about Episode 2 in 2011. So you do have every right to hate on Sonic 4 for that. But just know that episodic games work just fine when done properly.

ohgodalex:

EmzOLV:

ohgodalex:
I love Team Meat more each and every day. I wonder if they will marry me.

Not if they don't marry me first *shove*
Just kidding I'm sorry... I'm a little competitive!

This makes me smile. Very happy with that result!

I will pull out your fingernails and use them the pull out your eyeballs.

I concede!!
I like my eyeballs!

SonicWaffle:

Nerf Ninja:

SonicWaffle:

OT: My petty spelling quibbles aside, I disagree with the idea that it's entirely about profit. It's also about publicity. Release a game once, and it'll burn brightly for a while before fading out. Release it in chunks, and you can grab more headlines and reviews over a longer period, keeping your company's name floating a little higher in the melthing pot of the internet.

*melting

See I can do it too ;)

Hoisted! Hoisted by my own petard! Oh, the shame and ignominy! I shall flee to deepest, darkest Africa and live out my days as a lonely, embittered hermit crying into his tatty and mangled beard. As I die, cold and alone and filthy with the accumulated grime of years, with my last breath I shall curse the carelessness in posting which brought me to such ruin. Curse it twice, thrice, curse it with such vitriolic fury that as my life slips away and my wizened, black heart beats it's last I will drag it down to Hell with me!

TL;DR - Whoops :-P

*"Hoist[ed] with" would be the correct quote. =P

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