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Hetzer123

What are your thoughts on episodic visual novels?

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They're honestly quite terrible. I know that most people were drawn to VNs because they almost always got a complete package in one single game and now that companies feel the need to split up releases to make more money, people only get to read a single route per episode and usually have to wait a long time for the next episode. It's a concept that's gonna end up ruining why I and many others love the medium and changing it to be more like manga and LNs except with a lot longer wait time.

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20 minutes ago, VirginSmasher said:

They're honestly quite terrible. I know that most people were drawn to VNs because they almost always got a complete package in one single game and now that companies feel the need to split up releases to make more money, people only get to read a single route per episode and usually have to wait a long time for the next episode. It's a concept that's gonna end up ruining why I and many others love the medium and changing it to be more like manga and LNs except with a lot longer wait time.

Agreed. I'd venture to say that in some cases it can seem like you get several - something like Little Busters for example which tells drastically different stories depending on which route you're in - doing it like that makes it easier to feel like you're really getting a lot of content for the price, even though you're mostly just reading (vs paying the same amount for an AAA game). With an episodic release that doesn't necessarily seem like it'd be the case as often. 

13 minutes ago, adamstan said:

I don't like them. Well, if each "episode" can be considered stand-alone VN - like three parts of F/SN - then it may pass, but things like Daresora, with hour-length episodes, and months of waiting for the next one, are unforgivable.

許さない!:reeee:

Agreed too, especially with the FS/N comparison. 

The big problem IMO is the wait time. Like, Supipara for example. I'd like to read it as it seems like it'd be up my alley, but given the "stretch goals" that it has for its funding, I don't think we're going to be seeing the rest of the story for a long while yet and tbh that's already one big disadvantage with VNs (how long it can take for localizations). So by the time it does release it's likely I'd have forgotten critical parts of the story and need to reread them for the full experience, so why not just wait and read it all at once when it's finished? There's also not as much of a guarantee that it's not being written to have cliffhangers at the end of each episode, kind of like how it happens with a Telltale title which would mess with the pacing, I think.

I think the method could be good but I'm not really inclined to support it as the limitations don't seem worth the positives.

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Exactly the same as my views on episodic traditional video games, which are rather negative.

Disregarding the debate on whether or not it's anti-consumer, it kinda comes off to me as just another way of avoiding any kind of financial risk by not fully investing in a complete release.  If it flops, just axe plans for any more episodes and move on, leaving customers with an incomplete story that will never be continued.  Frontwing in particular, imo, uses episodic releases this way, and it doesn't look all that good.  They can apparently afford to fund development of full JP releases, but after they start focusing on western releases they release a flurry of episodic releases with Kickstarter campaigns?  Those actions just scream, "I'm confident in the future success of these products", amirite?

An arguement that's typically brought up in favor of episodic releases is that it gets the content to the customer sooner than a full release theoretically would have, but I honestly just don't care.  My backlog of games, books, TV shows, movies and VNs can quite easily hold me over a longer wait, and even if they couldn't, I'd be fine waiting.  I personally don't buy episodic releases of anything until the "full" product is released, which usually means all the older parts are now on sale.  I can see why this perk might appeal to other customers, but it's a bit odd in the western VN scene, where there's usually a delay between the original JP release and the EN release.  We're pretty used to waiting for pretty much everything at this point lol

I don't really care about the pros of the episodic release format, and the cons don't particularly enamor me with it, either.

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Sucks for customers but inevitable for some companies. (Frontwing can go suck dick but I understand why they still do it)

No one new wants to spend 3-5 years creating something (or even has the funds to do this) that will in the end just flop and make them live in the streets. They pretty much have 3 choices here:

  1. Release a trial and hope that people still remember the game after all these years when the final version is complete (expects you to have the funds)
  2. Run a kickstarter to gain enough funds
  3. Just release the game in many parts

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Personally i have no problem with those, as long as they aren´t on the very short side, or to be more precise as long as there´s enough time for telling a story. each episode releasing in a consistant and timely manner is also a huge +, like almost fukking no one cares about getting a sequel to whatnot that´s already 2years ago. also depends what one considers episodical releases, standalone titles with massive cliffhangers, or ones with semi-unfinished plots can be considered episodic as well, no just those route by route thingies etc.

Edited by SaintOfVoid

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1 hour ago, adamstan said:

Well, if each "episode" can be considered stand-alone VN - like three parts of F/SN

That's a slightly different situation.  The story was originally conceived as a single, complete release, and just happened to be later rereleased as three parts.  It coincidentally lent itself pretty well to the episodic format.  All three parts were released on different dates, though, but but the other hallmarks of episodic releases are missing.

tbh, VNs, as a medium, could work pretty well as episodic releases, I've just yet to see an episodic VN fully take advantage of that release format.

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The only good thing about episodic releases is that a patient person can just wait and get the full package at the end of the road. Honestly, I have enough complete VNs to read through to not be tempted much by in-progress episodic ones. In the end, it makes very little difference to me, as I'll only buy a finished product and unless the content is somehow degraded by the publishing policy (like becoming an unfocused, inconsistent story with obnoxious cliffhangers), I don't have any real reason to care.

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I think one of the main strengths of VNs is that they usually have a complete story. With manga you have to worry about maybe the magazine axing the series like how they completely ruined the end of Beelzebub or that they will push a popular title to continue longer than it should like they did with Death Note. With anime, well they are usually an adaption of something and they usually don't tell the entire story of the original. So with manga and anime being so risky in terms of getting a complete story with a proper ending I think VNs are a really good medium for those who just want to start a story with the knowledge that it will be complete. The only point where I feel like an episodic VN might work is if they aren't sure of the success and make an episode that can work on its own and end in a way where you don't feel like you get cheated of the story. This I think is quite rare though for instance I think Nekopara vol 1 would work pretty well as a self contained story if it had been a financial failure, so pretty much either it does a story that feels complete but also feels like it can easily be expanded on or it is just a shitty thing to do.

Edited by bakauchuujin

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1 hour ago, Zenophilious said:

tbh, VNs, as a medium, could work pretty well as episodic releases, I've just yet to see an episodic VN fully take advantage of that release format.

Umineko uses the episodic format very well imo, but it's probably true that most releases probably don't. The important thing for a good episodic VN is that each episode tells a complete story while adding to the overarching plot. Just introducing the setting and characters and then having a cliffhanger at the end is something you don't want to read let alone pay for when you know you have to wait several months for the next bit of the story.

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35 minutes ago, alpacaman said:

Umineko uses the episodic format very well imo, but it's probably true that most releases probably don't. The important thing for a good episodic VN is that each episode tells a complete story while adding to the overarching plot. Just introducing the setting and characters and then having a cliffhanger at the end is something you don't want to read let alone pay for when you know you have to wait several months for the next bit of the story.

I actually haven't read either Higurashi or Umineko yet.  They're both part of my rather large backlog lol  Most episodic VN releases seem to flounder in obscure mediocrity, at least in the west.  You don't really hear much about them besides those two 07th Expansion breakout successes.  Well, that is unless you follow Frontwing's recent releases lmao

It'd be rather interesting to find out the average rating for episodic VNs on VNDB and EGS and maybe get an estimate of how popular the format is on both sites.  I could look into doing that, but I have no clue how to extract that kind of data besides doing it manually :/  maybe I can ask someone how to go about doing that.

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Supipara is never going to get finished is it? I've been waiting to play it, but I don't like dealing with not getting an ending. I wish Minori would have just went the Kickstarter route. I have no idea how the game is, but the opening looks so so good.

 

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Just now, ciel_yuri said:

I wish Minori would have just went the Kickstarter route.

This whole backing campaign was clearly just a way to raise the sales of the existing two chapters without having to release anything after that. Everybody knows that an incomplete episodic story will never sale if there isn't any hope for it to be completed at some point.

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The Tiny Dungeon series worked pretty well as an episodic series.  On the other hand, it had two features going for it that most episodic games don't.

First, each game also stood alone (for the most part).  They had a complete storyline, and although focused on one character, there was still plenty of the other main characters.  This also meant a significant amount of content.

Second, each release was fast - just 6 months between them.  So there was no need to wait long between episodes.

 

Basically, if consumers feel the get their money's worth on each piece AND don't need to wait long, it works.  If the pieces aren't worth it, or take too long...

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6 hours ago, snowbell55 said:

Agreed. I'd venture to say that in some cases it can seem like you get several - something like Little Busters for example which tells drastically different stories depending on which route you're in - doing it like that makes it easier to feel like you're really getting a lot of content for the price, even though you're mostly just reading (vs paying the same amount for an AAA game). With an episodic release that doesn't necessarily seem like it'd be the case as often. 

 

Episodic releases are pretty garbage based off of the fact that you know how all of them are gonna end. With a wink and a "see you next year for the continuation" which

1. Would completely ruin any pacing the original had in a sense and possibly ruin investment as well

2. If your VN is forgettable, people aren't gonna give a shit about any other episodes

3. It makes the ending completely predictable and therefore pointless to read until the series is finished

Basically, it feels like you just wasted your time. In comparison to manga, which come out weekly, there's still quite a bit of investment there. If you have to wait a whole year between releases, your series is gonna most likely be forgotten in that time period with all sorts of other eroge coming out. I just don't see the point of reading until the whole thing is actually finished, which makes the company less money if more people feel this way.

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I like episode vns so far as they have a clear release schedule and don't keep you waiting for fucking ages for them to release the second or final episode, like a favorite meme game that is still awaiting it's final chapter.

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16 hours ago, ciel_yuri said:

Supipara is never going to get finished is it? I've been waiting to play it, but I don't like dealing with not getting an ending. I wish Minori would have just went the Kickstarter route. I have no idea how the game is, but the opening looks so so good.

 

God damn, I've never seen that OP before. I'm familiar with the VN and all, but I've never actually bothered looking up the OP since I'm not in the habit of doing so. Did this bankrupt Minori? xD

Back on topic: I don't know how I'd feel about episodic releases since I've never picked one up, but I guess I'd rather have a partial experience than no experience at all. Madhouse has pretty much conditioned me for incomplete works as far as anime goes, so I'll just use that when approaching episodic VNs. Plus, I have a bad habit of leaving VNs unfinished anyways, so this release format might actually be pretty nice.

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I do not like waiting for a story to finish, so I do not like episodic visual novels. Flowers especially is an annoying example, they start a story for one character, then there are two titles in between in the same series that do not resolve that started plot, only add to it. :notlikemiya:

Doesn't help if you need to wait for translation.

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IMO, episodic VNs are less like expansion packs and more like DLC.  You have to buy them to ultimately finish the story, and I would rather invest my money on one complete package than this.

Fate is the only VN I can think of that has done episodic VNs right.  I like to consider Fate as the main package, with UBW and Heaven's Feel feeling like proper expansion packs that have full content of their own.

Edited by Clockwork Loli

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Like others said, I don't mind if each episode is a different route like F/SN. When you get something akin to Telltale Games, however, that's just terrible pacing. I lost a large amount of interest waiting for each episode to come out.

And even if it's separate routes, I still don't really like the concept either because one of my favorite elements of VNs is that I wouldn't know which route I would end up with based on my choices, and that's the fun of it. There's interactivity in that that episodic VNs simply couldn't achieve as effectively.

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