Why Go Episodic?

With its brand new development model through the use of episodic delivery, SiN Episodes has attracted a lot of attention from the gaming community with fans and critics alike. In this article, we take a look at why an episodic approach to releasing the title is beneficial to this new title in the SiN universe.

Fast Content Releases

Assets such as weapon models can be carried forward to new episodes.
SiN Episodes takes advantage of the benefits of episodic game delivery by bringing more to gamers in smaller releases. In developing the first episode, Emergence, Ritual have set up their game assets in creating the characters, weapons and vehicles as well as laying the groundwork for the game's location, Freeport City. Once Emergence is out of the door, Ritual is already half way to completing their next episode, which means a shorter development time between each episode, which at the time of writing, is slated for six months.

For the gamer, this means a constant flow of content to your PC to play. Along with SiN Episodes, additional features such as the re-release of the original game and a SiN Episodes multiplayer mode are planned, adding to amount of content available. For mod producers, regular episodic releases will also allow a steady influx of new game assets to become available for use, allowing mod projects to continually improve in parallel to SiN Episodes itself.

The Steam Platform

Steam was designed to be a perfect platform for episodic content delivery. The application itself downloads and automatically updates supported titles, so gamers can always be sure they are keeping up-to-date. Half-Life 2 and its continual updates and new features, such as new maps for Counter-Strike Source and Half-Life 2 Deathmatch, have proven Steam's ability to bring more content to players more quickly. For SiN Episodes, this means that not only can gamers get the latest episodes on the second of release, but previous episodes can be updated with fixes and features such as engine enhancements (High Dynamic Range Lighting being an example), without the need to hunt for downloads across the web.

By directly using Steam to release SiN Episodes, rather than working with a publisher, Ritual has complete creative control over the project, allowing their original vision of the SiN universe to come to life in its full glory. The use of Steam also allows gamers to get more for their money. It is expected that each episode will contain four to six hours of gameplay for most players, with a price tag of under $20. Considering the $50 cost of normal FPS game releases with around eight hours of gameplay, the cost of the episodic releases is easily justified.

Community Driven

This system allows development to focus on meeting gamers styles.
Like never before, the community will be able to influence the future development of SiN Episodes thanks to Steam's feedback abilities and the new Dynamic Difficulty System. Ritual will be able to collect data on how the episodes are being played, and adjust the game in order to better suit the trends of the majority of gamers. Furthermore, episodic delivery also allows for new gameplay mechanics and trends to be added quickly into the game from one episode to the next.

With Action Based Outcomes (ABOs), future episodes can be made to reflect the decisions the majority of gamers made in previous episodes. For example, if a building was destroyed by most players in an episode, it would not appear in future episodes. This allows for a whole new level of storytelling where players can affect the future of the game. In essence, SiN Episodes will constantly improve and meet the expectations of its fans.

The Future

Half-Life 2 is also taking advantage of episodic delivery
SiN Episodes will be the first AAA title to fully take advantage of episodic delivery, however the rise of delivery platforms such as Steam have paved the way for future game projects to look to using this method of delivery to gamers. The continuation of Half-Life 2's story has confirmed to be episodic utilising the Steam platform, with Half-Life 2: Episode One set for release this spring. SiN Episodes be at the forefront of this PC gaming innovation, and will provide fans with a continually improving gaming experience.

Related Links:
· SiN Episodes game section
· SiN Episodes forum
· Official SiN Episodes website