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How I feel about games that come in parts



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.


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2 hours ago, Riku said:

What about the Kiseki series ?

The Kiseki series' story is so large that trying to put it all in a single game package would make it impossible to make a profit from it.

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My guess is Frontwing is trying the Grisaia Meikyuu/Rakuen formula again - while Meikyuu's ending is not appreciated by the fanbase, pretty sure it helped Frontwing on the hype side. As I haven't read Corona Blossom I can't comment as to whether it ends like Meikyuu.

Baldr Sky was released in 2 parts - it's quite strange to see it released as 2 games several months apart rather than one since it is really just one game. In this case the second half was much better than the first half.

I still remember the frustration of people waiting for the next installment of Higurashi/Umineko From Ryuukishi07 back in the days, pretty sure that's what got him so famous.

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think it´s also a matter of individual length, like coroblo could either end up in 4h long pointless arcs each, or all episodes together contributing to one single storyline as a whole.
the kiseki-series, like already mentioned, is basically split into more big arcs, usually feeling complete in themselves coming to each installment, except for fc, but also forming a greater picture when read all.
shenmue & xenosaga, yeah, might have been due to facing extraordinary costs of development or whatsnot that led them to be released years apart, or screwing up their overall approach as time went by. sure there´re some which could have been handled better, but also those who didnt end up dissappointing in that way, such as star ocean, akagoei (despite me non being that much fond of the series itself) mugen kairou, w-standard wonderland, or lisbelluru no ma for example.
bit hard to say what take on the matter is a more suitable one, like episodes which are complete in themselves might feel good or pointless, despending on their length, and those who´re not could possibly become obsolete plot-wise if their devs decide on discontinuing the series for monetary reasons, as it already happened before. this is also important because you(reader) either get to waste only a little sum of money on sth semi-satisfactionary, or a whole lot on works which maybee wont ever see the day of continuation aka that leave you with a bitter aftertaste.

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To Jartse here, I'd like to think that Kajitsu was all of that Frontwing planned in the past as their 10th anniversary project before they finally decided to do their trilogy thing with Meikyuu and Rakuen. And for my opinion here about the trilogy instead of Muv Luv comparison, I'd more like to think that Grisaia trilogy was some sort of like combination of Galaxy Angel (Trilogy) and Sharin (FD which tell major character's past). As for my opinion, once again I think Kajitsu was enough although of course everyone free to think otherwise.

I don't know what should I state for Xenogears as I didn't play those yet, but at least for Corona Blossom it's quite disagreeable that they separated the story into 3 parts, because it's not like Kajitsu which could tell completed story for each heroines or Muv Luv which had biggest twist in the first game (For around 2003 at least) and it's just linear story from the review that I'd read (I might be wrong though). Unless we could had heroines routes in the future, I think Corona Blossom will be at disadvantage for telling the story in parts instead of full story for one games.

That's all for my opinion here, and once again feel free to disagree.

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Akatsuki no Goei and Grisaia were originally supposed to be one-off projects.  However, in both cases the popularity of the original games led to talk of fandiscs, then sequels, then a trilogy.

Edit: The writer of Akatsuki no Goei is infamous for hating 'complete' endings, and his works always feel unfinished, lol. 

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I'm guessing the immense pressure to profit from their publisher/backer could have affected the outcome. With the Kiseki series (we're talking about the Trails series by Falcom?) they at least control their budget and pacing as a whole no?

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