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Episodic release strategy

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Hey all, looking for opinions on releasing a Tactical RPG episodically.


At the moment, I and my brother are hobbyist devs, working on a passion project in our free time- We have one game (unrelated to our current project) under our belts- Squid Life on mobile devices. Squid Life did poorly mainly due to our inexperience in marketing. (surprise, surprise!) So we're excited to apply what we've learned to our next attempt.

Our next project is aimed squarely at the Tactical RPG niche- fans of Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, Shining Force games, ect. I'm doing research on how best we can bring this project to market when it's ready.


My theory on what episodic release could offer-


  • Recycling- The ability to reuse custom editors, plugins and even assets in multiple releases, thereby doing the hard work "up front" so to speak, and only updating what needs a face-lift or things that change mechanically over the course of several releases.


  • Consistency- Because of minimized "new work" in development between episodes, we could release episodes more quickly and provide more regular updates to social media, thereby staying visible and in the forefront of customers minds.


  • Faster Application of Feedback/Experience- Over multiple releases, we could more readily apply things we learn from user feedback, and implement improved marketing techniques for the next release.

Our goal by the end of a 3 or 4 episode release schedule would be to have vastly improved our marketing abilities and to have gained an audience with which we can readily engage with new products.

If you have experience in releasing episodically, or advice on how a couple guys like us could better handle our next release, we are all ears! Thanks for your time! -Luke

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The biggest issue with releasing a game episodically is that with every subsequent release, you are cutting down your audience drastically.  The only people who will buy episode 2 are those who have played (and completed) episode 1.  Then when you release episode 3, your audience is a subsection of those who own episode 2, who are themselves a subsection of those who own episode 1.


Let's assume the following

  1. Episode 1 sells 20,000 units
  2. You have a high retention rate of 50% between episodes

That means that episode 2 will sell 10,000 copies, episode 3 will sell 5,000 copies, episode 4 will sell 2,500 copies and so on...


You can try and sell a season's pass, but it'll be tough getting people to buy in to a new IP from an unknown developer.


I would suggest you try and use the Five Night's at Freddy's model.  Don't call them episodes, call them sequels, but release them like they are episodes.  The only thing about this model is that each game should be self contained.


I can't remember when I read it, but I believe this is the exact reason that Valve stopped releasing Half-Life episodes.

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