Five Gaming Franchises That Could Become Episodic

One of the current trends in gaming, if you can call it a trend, is to release a AAA game in ‘pieces’, i.e. chapters. Telltale have made a living out of the concept with its Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands and Minecraft Story Mode ventures.

They’ve been so successful, in fact, that almost everyone else wants in on the action. From Hitman to the Final Fantasy VII Remake, a number of studios are attempting to catch the same lightning in an oversized bottle, to varying results.

That got me thinking hypotheticals again, so here we go. What if a few other big name franchises decided to ditch the traditional retail boxes and went chapter mode?[divider] [/divider]MarioThe most obvious game to fit the bill would be Mario, namely a new numbered entry in the classic 2D side-scrolling series. Bare in mind that Sonic has already gone down this route in the past with Sonic 4, and it doesn’t take a genius to know how easy it would be for Nintendo to release one world after another.

The Big N would take cues from its successful Super Mario Maker and launch its NX with a downloadable Mario title, with each world of eight or so levels released over time. Unlike some of the other games on this list, this kinda makes sense. Mario Maker essentially ‘is’ that game already, just without a cohesive story to it. How interesting it would be if a new world were available every month over, say a two year period, leading to numerous encounters with Mario enemies of old.

When it dawns on you that most of the worlds are stuck behind a paywall, you need a constant internet connection at all times and each world lasts ten minutes at a time … perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea after all.[divider] [/divider]FAR-CRYFar Cry Primal came out just recently and by all accounts it was a satisfying addition to the franchise. The next Far Cry, however, could decide to change things up even further by developing a whole new experience.

Imagine, if you will, a time travelling hero where you progress throughout the ages, from the stong age right through to the future, with each era released once a month. So basically the Far Cry Primal trailer that went backwards through the ages, but in reverse … if that makes sense.

Remember how successful Far Cry: Blood Dragon was? That was an example of taking an existing formula and shrinking it down into a smaller but entertaining game. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to develop something that changes eras every DLC to mix things up.

You could just as easily replace Far Cry with Assassin’s Creed here, but the point is you could pick and choose which eras you’d like to play instead of paying for an entire game, carrying across a legacy from each hero to the next whilst discovering a hidden mystery that ties it all back together. On some island. Somewhere. It probably has a polar bear on it.[divider] [/divider]FIREFire Emblem split itself into three pieces for its latest outing, and despite a hefty price tag to buy all three on one cartridge, it seems to be paying off. In their infinite wisdom, Nintendo decides to go one step further with the next entry in the series by splitting it up into eighteen parts, which you can buy ala TellTale with a season pass.

The fan uproar is massive, as it normally is with these sorts of things, but do you think anyone actually cares about the fans? Well … maybe. The positive to take out from an experience like this, if it were to ever happen, would be the amount of gameplay within each part. Like Fire Emblem Fates and its two different story arcs, this Fire Emblem takes cues from the Game of Thrones series and has eighteen different factions fighting over Hyrule.

Wait, did I say Hyrule? I meant the Mushroom Kingdom. Silly me.[divider] [/divider]SOULSAh Dark Souls. You’re turning our lives upside down once again, killing us over, and over, and over, and over, and over…

The RPG has certainly come a long way since the original Demon Souls, but the basic premise has always been the same; Survive countless enemies in a dark and desolate environment before reaching a giant sized boss or two and solving their. Unless you’re that guy who managed to get through an entire run of Dark Souls without getting hit once, which means you’re a freak of nature.

Here’s my suggestion. Imagine if every boss fight within a given area is split up into single downloadable levels. Essentially, think of it as ‘Dark Souls Arcade’.

Breaking things up does have its benefits. You can relax for a while after spending countless hours trying to find the pattern to a specific boss instead of jogging on to the next area and dying again. Every time you complete a difficult section and reach that fire, a sense of relief washes over you … and then your wallet comes out to buy the next stage. Dark Souls Arcade, don’t say I didn’t warn you.[divider] [/divider]TEENAGE-MUTANT-NINJA-TURTLES-2We know that Platinum Games are working on the next TMNT, it’s not far away, but question is what kind of experience will we get? Is it another Legend of Korra or a Transformers: Devastation? Only time will tell, but let’s dream up an outlandish scenario for a slightly different game.

You remember the classic arcade TMNT games, right? That series, along with X-Men Arcade and Simpsons Arcade kept many entranced in the early 90’s. Sure, they were rather simple button mashers, but there’s nothing like jumping into a game and trying to get the most out of your hard earned pocket money.

Wanting to recapture the spirit of the good old days, the next TMNT has you reliving the best parts of being Mikey, Leo, Donny and Raph, but on this occasion we get a paywall so outlandish, so devious, that it divides the community into four uneven pieces. Which Turtle should you buy first?

Yes, the big four are split into different downloadable parts, each bringing with them their own story arc that has them attempting to reunite with their brothers, or something like that. Think a TMNT game without a four player mode is silly? The main campaign in TMNT: Out of the Shadows only supported two players and you had to unlock arcade mode levels (which were side-scrolling and not part of the main game) in order to play with four. So yes, extremely silly, but this is the games industry after all. Anything’s possible.