The future of video gaming could rely on episodic content, at least according to game developer extraordinaire Hideo Kojima.
The former Konami vice president and now star of his own studio, Kojima Productions, told GameSpot that he believes many future games will rely on delivering content to gamers in episodes, rather than entire games, at one time.
Although Kojima's upcoming Death Stranding will probably not be released in episodes, the developer stated that the way people consume content is changing, not just in video games, but in all aspects of entertainment.
"I don't think movies in the future will last two hours, especially when people are already demanding more speedy experiences and delivery," Kojima said. "So taking shorter time spans to develop, putting it out, integrating user feedback quickly, and having that freedom in game-making, I think it will apply to movies and TV too."
In Japan, that change is already evident on television. There are some morning shows in that country that only last 15 minutes. Kojima believes this will also apply to games, and he may have a point: many developers are now focusing on episodes, rather than delivering long games all at once.
Developing games in episodes has its benefits: not only does it allow developers to get games out to consumers quickly, but it also helps developers budget more appropriately. Developers can dedicate budgets to each shorter episode, which will take less time to create. Companies, rather than spending years and many dollars on one single long game, can make money on each episode to help fund the next, thus lessening the financial burden.
It benefits players, too. The current cycle, particularly for this generation of console games, is long and games often get delayed. Episodic games avoid these long periods of waiting by getting content to gamers faster.
Having episodic games, though, does mean that players have to wait months, and even years, for the next bit of content, and that's a real downside to story-driven games (although Telltale has already proven that this kind of content delivery system works). Some players will wait until all episodes become available before playing, which means that developers might not see any financial gains until the full game gets released.
Kojima made a big comeback at Sony's 2016 E3 press conference by posting a teaser of his latest project, Death Stranding, which stars The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus. That enigmatic trailer left gamers trying to figure out exactly what kind of game it is, resulting in some interesting theories about where Kojima plans on going with the title.
Photo: Shuichi Aizawa | Flickr