One of the major buzz words in the videogame industry right now is ‘episodic content’, meaning a game, or series of games, is presented much like episodes of a television show. Each episode is a self-contained story with a beginning and an end, but in order to appreciate the scope that the games are trying to convey you have to keep track of all of them. This method of game presentation has been done very well before (Sam & Max) or it can leave people who would otherwise be fans of the series wishing the developer would just hurry up and release the content (Half-Life 2 episodes). Sony’s Japan Studio is looking to show the rest of the industry how it’s done with their upcoming PS3 exclusive release SIREN: Blood Curse.
SIREN will be released in the form of twelve downloadable episodes that will all tie together into one big story. The game takes place in the strange Japanese village of Hanuda, where you will take the role of an American film crew who has arrived to investigate and ancient legend of a “vanished village.”
The player will take on the role of up to seven different playable characters during the course of the episodes where they must find out exactly what is going on in the creepy locale. One of the title’s main selling points is the “sight jack” system in which you are given the ability to see exactly what your enemy is seeing. No word on the different scenarios in which this will be most useful but it sounds like an interesting addition either way.
The downloadable format of these episodes sounds like a good one, especially given the genre. A game such as SIREN could either be a breath of fresh air into a stuffy group of titles or fall flat on its twelve faces. But at least with episodic content you only have to buy the first portion in order to know if it’s worthy of your continued devotion. Maybe all developers should start using this formula to introduce their games? It might even get Wii developers to stop shoveling utter crap onto the shelves… or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. I guess we’ll see if episodes are the way to go for SIREN when the first of twelve lands on the PSN this summer.
[See also: SIREN: Blood Curse gallery]