When Corona Blossom came out recently, I once again came face to face with a niche trend in gaming that has roots back in the nineties era console games... video games that, rather than presenting a full story in and of themselves (even if they are intended to have sequels), instead are released in parts.
Now, I thought about why this kind of game production method has never really caught on... and it took me all of ten seconds to remember why.
Let's take the Shenmue series. Really and truly, the Shenmue series of games is one story that is nowhere near complete. Shenmue was released for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999 and it was a seriously eye-popping experience for me at the time. I'd never played a game that included so many varying elements to let you throw yourself into the main character's story, and all the side-quests and other stuff there was to mess around with only made it that more interesting.
Unfortunately, it is seventeen years later and the series still isn't complete. Heck, since Shenmue 2 was released on the original xbox in 2002, there hadn't been a peep about the third game... until last year.
And that is the real danger with this kind of game series... the danger of never getting the complete story or having to wait decades for the next entry in a story that is obviously and blatantly left incomplete.
Another problem with this type of game is illustrated with the Xenosaga series... Xenosaga was the spiritual successor to Xenogears on the psx, and it had a psychedelic meta-fiction story that would have made Mr Kojima proud... but in exchange, the makers ended up treating each part of what was supposed to be the same game in pieces as an individual game... which resulted in huge variance between each entry in both gameplay quality and story. To be blunt, Xenosaga's original game does an excellent, close to perfect job of dragging you into the science-fantasy world in question. Unfortunately, Xenosaga 2 botched everything... literally. In terms of scale, it was far more limited than Xenosaga 2 and the actual gameplay was... unpleasant and counter-intuitive for the average jrpg-gamer of the time. Naturally, this made it something of a flop with the fanbase. As a result they hurried to put out Xenosaga 3, which aborted or cut short almost all of the story that was meant to have been put in for two or even three more parts. In this case, the series was completed... but none of the ambitions that caused the immensely complex and interesting setting involved survived the holocaust of the game's second entry.
Generally speaking, games made in parts tend to be immensely frustrating for the consumer. A friend of mine recently replayed the Xenosaga series and immediately said "Good god! I didn't realize how much they fucked up with 2 at the time, but it is blatantly obvious now." It is far harder to maintain a standard of quality across all parts, and cohesion is usually the first thing to be sacrificed.
Thus, don't expect me to ever praise a decision to release a game in parts.