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Molyneux: "Demos are a horrible concept"

Molyneux: "Demos are a horrible concept"

Peter Molyneux reckons demos are never a good idea and prefers a 'freemium' episodic structure.

Game designer Peter Molyneux has claimed that game demos are a "horrible concept", and has also commented on plans to release upcoming RPG Fable III in an episodic format after the initial retail launch.

Reported by GI.biz, Molyneux spoke at the GameHorizon conference in Gateshead, arguing that the episodic format supports a "freemium idea".

Molyyneux and his team took a similar approach with Fable II, as Microsoft sold the game in a series of downloadable episodes less than a year after its initial launch date, apparently generating $15m in doing so.

"It gets around this horrible concept of demos. Anyone out there who thinks a demo is a good idea is crazy," said Molyneux.

"It's never a good idea, because demos are usually done at the end of a game and they require an enormous amount of design talent to make a demo. The other thing is you're more likely to satisfy the curiosity of a user rather than entice them to play more," he said.

Instead of releasing a demo of the game, Molyneux prefers the idea of breaking the game into chapters and releasing the first one, around an hour long, for free, and then offering users the rest of the chapters at a small price. It’s this approach that will be used in part for Fable 3.

Check our Fable 2 review for more information on the series.

What do you think of Molyneux's comments? Is such an episodic approach something you would like to see more of, or do you feel that demos form an important part of the decision to buy a game? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

53 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
smc8788 1st July 2010, 12:29 Quote
Soooo....he thinks demos are stupid, but releasing the first 'chapter' of a game for free - which would essentially be a demo anyway - is a good idea? Oooookay.
mi1ez 1st July 2010, 12:43 Quote
^ My thoughts exactly!
bbshammo 1st July 2010, 12:43 Quote
Why on earth is Molyneux still taken seriously at all?

Who cares what he thinks?

I don't think there's a single catch-all model for all games, when trying to decide if demo, or episodic releases is the way forward.

He seems to be looking at his own very circumstances and assuming it applies to everything.

You could even argue that if a game's good enough, and the marketing done properly, then demos aren't even necessary!

Basically Mr. Molyneux, make games that are clearly good, and people will want to pay for them.
Kúsař 1st July 2010, 12:44 Quote
How could anyone still respect this looser? There are plenty of reasons why demo is a good idea and episodic concept is good only for certain games...
pimlicosound 1st July 2010, 12:50 Quote
There's very little difference between a demo and a free first chapter, and doing either is only ever a bad idea if your game isn't very good to begin with. Fable 2's free first chapter did for me exactly what Molyneux claims demos do: it satisfied my curiosity. It proved to me, in the first 10 minutes, that it was a shallow, ugly and uninspiring game. So, not a good idea from his perspective. Useful for me, though.
Unknownsock 1st July 2010, 12:51 Quote
The problem here is the fact that if the games crap then why buy the game after playing the demo.
Obviously companies want to get a massive return back, regardless if its decent or not.
lacuna 1st July 2010, 13:10 Quote
Demo's like Half Life: Uplink were great since they're not part of the actual game and doesn't spoil the story but includes all of the gameplay elements
blohum 1st July 2010, 13:12 Quote
...and episodic gaming has been really successful so far...
Psytek 1st July 2010, 13:13 Quote
Lmao, a demo is usually a free installment of the game which lasts around an hour... that's exactly what he's suggesting.
yakyb 1st July 2010, 13:18 Quote
lack of a demo is the only possible justification of piracy

how can this b*ll*nd expect us to pay £25 - £50 without any real idea of what the game is like.
DarkFear 1st July 2010, 13:22 Quote
I wonder if the Spore creature creator that was available before the full game could be considered a "demo"...
Pieface 1st July 2010, 13:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
lack of a demo is the only possible justification of piracy

how can this b*ll*nd expect us to pay £25 - £50 without any real idea of what the game is like.

How can it be a justification of Piracy, nothing is a justification of Piracy. Read reviews, watch the videos or simply don't buy it..
azrael- 1st July 2010, 13:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blohum
...and episodic gaming has been really successful so far...
...preparing to install SiN Episode 2. Hey, wait... :p
Plugs 1st July 2010, 14:06 Quote
"for free, and then offering users the rest of the chapters at a small price."

that 'small' price being equivalent to the full retail price, ergo not small at all
UrbanMarine 1st July 2010, 14:07 Quote
The $10 shareware was nice back in the day. Duke3D anyone.....
Lance 1st July 2010, 14:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
Soooo....he thinks demos are stupid, but releasing the first 'chapter' of a game for free - which would essentially be a demo anyway - is a good idea? Oooookay.

Did you lot read the artical? Think about it.

He said the problem that he had with demos was the time effort and money that it took to make them and that they then didn't do much.

By making an episode based system you can easily have set up through say an xbox live account it is easy to just hit "sure i'll pay another 5.99 for the next chunk" in game rather than have to go down to the shops to buy the next bit AND THEN have to play it all over again.

I'm not a massive fan of this system BUT I can see the benifit in games like Fable 3. Ever bought a game realised you didn't like it as much as you thought and stopped playing? I know i have a few in my game box, well if you stop (or get stuck) after the first £10 then you've not paid £40 for a new game you didn't finish.

The real key will be whether they charge more for the game overall because there is no way that I would pay over £40 for game software without getting extra content over the hard copy.

But thats just my opinion. Feel free to disagree.


Edit: And for those that didn't know the fable system was actually based over 4 chapters at about £7.50 each.
Evildead666 1st July 2010, 14:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by blohum
...and episodic gaming has been really successful so far...

Half Life 2 : Episode III comes to mind........
Hamish 1st July 2010, 14:14 Quote
hahaha, hey Pete i feel much the same way about your games :p
Tyrrax 1st July 2010, 14:19 Quote
Yeah Pete....you're full of good ideas....like the 360 degree view of that falling piece of bird **** in the beginning of Fable 2.
Faunus 1st July 2010, 14:21 Quote
Instead of just blindly agreeing with everyone about how Molyneaux is a (very rich) idiot, how about taking a step back:

"It's never a good idea, because demos are usually done at the end of a game and they require an enormous amount of design talent to make a demo. The other thing is you're more likely to satisfy the curiosity of a user rather than entice them to play more," he said.

This is much more relevant. I suggest that Molyneaux is bothered not just about user experience, but the experience of the developers / producers. Making a demo can sometimes be just as tasking as making a full product. It has it's own release schedules, it takes developer and marketing hours away from core business, and ultimately it's a product that has a very limited lifespan.

The difference between a demo and a product that is released in episodic format is more than just what you see when you play a level.
smc8788 1st July 2010, 14:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
Did you lot read the artical?

Yes, I did thank you.

In one breath he says demos are a 'horrible concept', but in the next he says his idea of releasing (what is essentially) a demo followed by episodic content is a good idea. Whichever way you look at it, it's still a demo and it's still a hypocritical comment - the initial investment for someone who just wants to try out the game is £0 for a few hours play, whether it's called a 'demo' or 'free episode'.

To me, all he's saying in that article is that his method of releasing games as small chunks (or 'episodes') is better than the traditional method of releasing it as one big game. He may be right, he may be wrong, but it doesn't really have anything to do with demos and it certainly doesn't prove that they are a terrible idea.

I bought Just Cause 2 on the strength of the demo alone, without hearing or reading anything else about it. Now try and tell me demos are a bad thing for developers Molyneux.
veato 1st July 2010, 14:52 Quote
I cant be arsed with an episoic release. If I want the game I want to buy it lock stock. Simples.

I'm sure this method of releasing it in chunks to download is in no way designed to stop people buying the game pre-owned? Isnt that right Peter ;)
Cobalt 1st July 2010, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
The other thing is you're more likely to satisfy the curiosity of a user rather than entice them to play more

That says it all to me. Demos are only a good idea if you know you have a good product. If you have a bad product then letting people find out before they actually gave you any money is going to hurt your bottom line.
blohum 1st July 2010, 15:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
Quote:
Originally Posted by blohum
...and episodic gaming has been really successful so far...

Half Life 2 : Episode III comes to mind........

My thoughts exactly!
Woodspoon 1st July 2010, 15:12 Quote
He also only seems to be thinking about his own particular game.
Would Generic multi player shooter II or Online racer III really work better as episodes or as taster demos with a full game following?

"please buy episode II of Online racer III to gain access to this section of the track"
"to complete air strike on bunker B, please purchase episode II for Generic multi player shooter II"

Ok maybe it wont be that bad , but the man does need to shut up.
Demos have been around like this for ages, why?
Because they work, people like them and they know what to expect, why mess with a winning formula.
Blokes a twatt and should go back to the swamp he been hiding in.
Bakes 1st July 2010, 15:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
Half Life 2 : Episode III comes to mind........

Hm. They called them 'Episodes' because the original plan I believe was to release about one every six months, so that gamers could get their latest fix of HL2. Obviously, the plan went to pot relatively quickly.
yakyb 1st July 2010, 15:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pieface
How can it be a justification of Piracy, nothing is a justification of Piracy. Read reviews, watch the videos or simply don't buy it..


i only meant as a trial, before buying.

Reviews are often misleading, what one person thinks is good others would think awful Oblivion got great reviews but i thought it was terrible.

Videos are also incredibly misleading you can watch a 2 minute extract from a game in which all appears well then when you buy it you find there to be bugs everywhere (Stalker)


whilst it does help towards justification i can honestly say i have never pirated a game myself, but this situation would help me understand those that do.
fatty beef 1st July 2010, 16:03 Quote
Fable II was disapointing. It was cool until the game ended .

Pisses me off how you get 15-20 hours of content on a 60 dollar game then they expect you to pay 5-15 for additional parts they magically finished right after / shortly after the game is released.

Maybe people would buy more games if they had value and included a bunch of cool stuff from the start instead of bending over the people that want to invest time in a game.

Sorry Im nostalgic for games like Baulders Gate (and 2), Neverwinter Nights, StarCraft, War Craft (rts series) even the Diablo games that took a decent amount of time to beat (at least the first time through before the only concern became item hording) and by the time you finished were more than replayable and the feeling that "i was just here" isnt much of a factor. X-Wing and Tie Fighter had some of the longest campaigns that I can remember. Wtf.

Crystalis, and Final Fantasy on NES had more content and a better storyline than a majority of the garbage that comes out now. So dumb.

If they were going to nickle and dime they could at least drop the price of the game down relative to the time it takes to get through it and how much crap they intend to release after.
memeroot 1st July 2010, 16:27 Quote
Firstly Molyneaux is a genius and responsible for some of the best games ever released...

secondly his principle point is that if you release a level as a demo then that takes a lot less effort than creating a specific demo.

thirdly that releasing games in chunks is better which I agree with for the following basic reason
If you dont complete the game you dont have to pay full price.
think of the savings you could make on games left half completed.
Bakes 1st July 2010, 16:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
i only meant as a trial, before buying.

Reviews are often misleading, what one person thinks is good others would think awful Oblivion got great reviews but i thought it was terrible.

Videos are also incredibly misleading you can watch a 2 minute extract from a game in which all appears well then when you buy it you find there to be bugs everywhere (Stalker)


whilst it does help towards justification i can honestly say i have never pirated a game myself, but this situation would help me understand those that do.

That's still not justification in any way. If you want to try a game first hand before buying it and you don't know someone else who has it, don't buy it! Not exactly hard.
memeroot 1st July 2010, 17:08 Quote
you could rent it ?
pl155ken 1st July 2010, 17:14 Quote
Lot of negativity here towards Molyneux.
Is he not entitled to his opinion?
If you don't like the look of what he does... then don't buy it.
To say that because he's not put out a demo is a justification for piracy isn't a very good excuse.

There wasn't a demo for Modern Warfare 2... but it sold 4.7 Million units within its 1st 24 hours.

Not every game gets a demo... & just because there's no demo doesn't mean the game will be rubbish.

Not sure why people mention Sin Episode 2 or HL2 Ep 3... What's that got to do with Fable 3? Sin didn't do as well as they thought... so there wasn't any more. Simple.

HL2 Ep 1 & Ep 2 are basically stand alone releases according to Valve... Ep3 has never been announced.

Read up people before spouting off hatred to someone who's brought out some fantastic games.
yakyb 1st July 2010, 17:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by memeroot
you could rent it ?

cant rent PC games
DbD 1st July 2010, 18:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance
Did you lot read the artical?

Yes, I did thank you.

In one breath he says demos are a 'horrible concept', but in the next he says his idea of releasing (what is essentially) a demo followed by episodic content is a good idea. Whichever way you look at it, it's still a demo and it's still a hypocritical comment - the initial investment for someone who just wants to try out the game is £0 for a few hours play, whether it's called a 'demo' or 'free episode'.

I suggest you read more carefully. Why did he say it was a horrible concept?

His problem is the effort required to produce the demo is wasted. I agree - I'd much rather they spent the time polishing the game, and fixing all the bugs then producing a demo.

His solution was to release the first chapter for free, this means they don't have to produce a custom demo - they essentially just give you the game with only one chapter unlocked. This means you still get something that looks like a demo yet the devs haven't had to spend much time producing it so could do something more useful instead.
smc8788 1st July 2010, 18:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DbD
I suggest you read more carefully. Why did he say it was a horrible concept?

His problem is the effort required to produce the demo is wasted. I agree - I'd much rather they spent the time polishing the game, and fixing all the bugs then producing a demo.

His solution was to release the first chapter for free, this means they don't have to produce a custom demo - they essentially just give you the game with only one chapter unlocked. This means you still get something that looks like a demo yet the devs haven't had to spend much time producing it so could do something more useful instead.

Yes, but that would only work if the game was designed from the ground up to work like that, with separate chapters. Clearly his game is, which is why it would be much easier, but most aren't.

Besides, I've played plenty of demos which amount to nothing more than the first one or two levels of the game, which, I assume, is effectively what he is proposing with the free first chapter. I can't see how that would take too long to produce if they've already done all the work in creating those levels anyway.

I actually respect developers a lot more these days if they actually go to the effort of releasing demos, especially if it's for open world games like JC2 where it clearly does require a fair bit of dev time to create.
Kiytan 1st July 2010, 18:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DbD
I suggest you read more carefully. Why did he say it was a horrible concept?

His problem is the effort required to produce the demo is wasted. I agree - I'd much rather they spent the time polishing the game, and fixing all the bugs then producing a demo.

His solution was to release the first chapter for free, this means they don't have to produce a custom demo - they essentially just give you the game with only one chapter unlocked. This means you still get something that looks like a demo yet the devs haven't had to spend much time producing it so could do something more useful instead.

Except I am willing to bet the cost (in both time and money) to make a demo are about the same as making this free chapter they are never going to charge anything for.
DbD 1st July 2010, 19:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smc8788
Besides, I've played plenty of demos which amount to nothing more than the first one or two levels of the game, which, I assume, is effectively what he is proposing with the free first chapter. I can't see how that would take too long to produce if they've already done all the work in creating those levels anyway.

Well Molyneux obviously thinks it does, and he has produced a fair few games in his time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakyb
Quote:
Originally Posted by memeroot
you could rent it ?

cant rent PC games

Another option is the steam free weekend where you can download and play a game for free all weekend, normally combined with a sale price on the game. That works well for on-line games - I sometimes end up buying something after that even if I didn't get around to downloading the game over the weekend because all my friends bought it and are playing it so I figure it must be pretty good and want to join in.
frontline 1st July 2010, 19:55 Quote
Aren't most full games demos for the already planned and half-coded sequel anyway?
somidiot 1st July 2010, 20:10 Quote
Well I disagree with Molyneux, a Demo was the reason I ended up buying Tomb Raider Legend and the subsequent titles. I wonder if the fact that he's part of a successful game that he's let his head swell... I think the idea of a "free first episode" is just a fancy way of saying "here's a demo" except that if you buy the game you just pick up where you left off. Which is what a number of demo's have done in the past anyway except throwing in some of the extra mechanics like Bioshock did.
Sloth 1st July 2010, 20:13 Quote
Sounds like he's really arguing semantics, but is his suggestion really that bad? All sorts of people bitch and moan about lack of demos and he goes and says he wants to make the first hour of all of his games free and people complain even more.

I think it sounds like a pretty nice idea. Play the first bit of the game for free, get a feel for it, get the story set up a bit. Then, once you've played through you get the option to simply keep on playing. Look at the success of free trials in MMOs: if you don't like it you stop playing, if you do you pretty seamlessly keep on playing without interruption. Also requires less effort to produce because it's an existing part of the game.

Thinking back to CoD4's demo I can see why Molyneux would feel a demo will simply sate a gamer's desire rather than entice them. In the CoD4 demo you start out on a random mission with no background information and no attachment to the story, get some fun shooting things around for a bit, then helicopters come save the day and it's concluded. You've already covered 75% of the game gameplay wise so there's not much new to get by buying it, and it does very little to make an appealing story. I doubt I'd have even bought the game if it had any sort of competition (it was a much needed replacement for CS:S in my life).

Steam free weekends are also pretty sweet. I like that they're usually for multiplayer coverage.
Elton 1st July 2010, 20:30 Quote
It's a good idea.

However: How would you do that on a racing game? Would you only give the player the first few slow cars? He's suggesting the same thing as was done already, but it can't be universally applied.
Helz 1st July 2010, 20:44 Quote
It's been a long time since I bothered with a demo. I always read a lot of reviews and check out game forums before I decide to buy. I can't remember ever playing a demo though that wasn't more than the first or second level of the whole game. I don't see how using content you've already created is "an enormous amount of design talent."

I haven't played a Molyneux game since Fable 1. He used to have a fair amount of the gaming world fooled into believing he was a genius. After playing Fable, which was barely mediocre and had about 20% of the content he claimed it would, I just chalked him up as a big fat liar.
Altron 1st July 2010, 21:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloth
Look at the success of free trials in MMOs: if you don't like it you stop playing, if you do you pretty seamlessly keep on playing without interruption. Also requires less effort to produce because it's an existing part of the game.

Just like in movies... the first needle of heroin is always free!
Altron 1st July 2010, 21:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pl155ken
There wasn't a demo for Modern Warfare 2... but it sold 4.7 Million units within its 1st 24 hours.

Not every game gets a demo... & just because there's no demo doesn't mean the game will be rubbish.

It depends on the game, TBH. I feel like a game that breaks or even bends the mold might need a demo to convince you to try something out of your 'comfort zone' of tried-and-true games. Whether it's a custom scripted demo, or just the first level of the game doesn't really matter. But it can certainly help a game that you are unsure about or don't know what to expect from.

MW2 doesn't need a demo. It's as far inside as the box as you can get. Don't get me wrong, there have been some great reviews for it, and I know my brother thoroughly enjoys it, but it's more of an instance of them taking a very popular game and polishing and improving it than them coming out with a whole new concept. In general, games don't need demos if they are the direct sequel to a popular game. If you say "Call of Duty", people know exactly what they're getting. There might be minor changes to gameplay, and added content, but in general, anyone who liked the originals will also like the new releases.

When the next Halo comes out, when the next GTA comes out, when the next Starcraft comes out, when the next Half Life comes out - nobody is going to need a demo. They know what the gameplay will be like. They know the games will be fun. They've played the predecessors, and are very familiar with them. Maybe some people will want demos so they can ooohhhh and aaaahhh at the fancy improved graphics, or check out some of the new features and content that's been added, but few will play the demo to genuinely evaluate whether the gameplay is something they will enjoy or not, because they know exactly what the gameplay will be like. The people who like the old games will just cut to the chase and buy the new games.

MW2 sold that many copies because of how popular MW was, and how many MW players wanted to get MW2. It's not because it was such an amazing game that people who had never even heard of CoD before decided to rush out to the stores and buy it sight-unseen. It built on the popularity of it's predecessors.

It's only when a game comes out that doesn't follow the molds of previous games when a demo is truly needed. If it's a game that doesn't fall into a certain genre, or puts an exciting new twist on something, that's when a demo is nice to show you if it is a game you might enjoy.
eternum 1st July 2010, 21:30 Quote
That's Molyneaux - someone just daft and arrogant enough to pan something, reintroduce the same thing using different words as some kind revolutionary idea... and then invent his own new word to describe it. Hmmm, kinda sounds like the whole fable series.
Cool_CR 1st July 2010, 23:00 Quote
Do you think if you get him to say his name backwords he has to go back to his own dimention
KayinBlack 2nd July 2010, 05:19 Quote
Well, I released a demo, and when I release the game, short of bug fixes, that will be it. Screw episodic, TBH where's HL2 Ep 3? If I wrote anything but my serial novel episodic we'd never get anywhere (BTW, there's more kittychicken action I need to set in print...)

Developer here saying episodic sucks, demo was useful-I proved that I can make engaging gameplay. Now to make it sufficiently long. Back to the grindstone...
gavomatic57 2nd July 2010, 09:37 Quote
Demo's are a bad idea for the developer if the game isn't good enough to sell. All you are doing by releasing them is warning them off - so I can see where he is coming from. He hasn't made a game I've wanted to buy for a very long time.

The Half Life 2 demo on Steam basically sold the game to me - I had to buy it there and then.
memeroot 2nd July 2010, 10:59 Quote
Lets look at his game list amd decide whether we should listen to him....

I've just highlighted some of my fave games ever just to help... oh and the fable series is loved by my wife and kid so they're highlighted also (I also secretly have a lot of time for them also I have to admit

Pre-Bullfrog
The Entrepreneur (1984) (designer/programmer)
Druid 2
[edit]Bullfrog Productions
Fusion (1987) (designer/programmer)
Populous (1989) (designer/programmer)
Powermonger (1990) (designer/programmer)
Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods (1991) (designer/programmer)
Syndicate (1993) (producer)
Theme Park (1994) (project leader/lead programmer)
Magic Carpet (1994) (executive producer)

Hi-Octane (1995) (executive producer)
Genewars (1996)
Dungeon Keeper (1997) (project leader/designer)
[edit]Lionhead Studios
Black & White (2001) (concept/lead designer/programmer)
Fable (2004) (designer)
Fable: The Lost Chapters (2005) (designer)
The Movies (2005) (executive designer)
Black & White 2 (2005) (lead designer)

The Movies: Stunts & Effects (2006) (executive designer)
Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods (2006) (lead designer)
Fable II (2008) (lead designer)

Milo and Kate (formerly known as The Dmitri Project) (TBA) (lead designer)
Fable III (2010) (Lead Designer)
Elledan 2nd July 2010, 11:28 Quote
My company will be releasing our first game soon ( www.nyanko.ws/ecd ) and you bet we'll have a demo. I don't see how an episodic approach would work for this game, and making a demo is as easy as stripping out most of the levels. Takes maybe an hour to wrap it all up.

I can see the appeal of playing a demo, installing the full version and playing on from where you left off in the demo, but this is something which would only work for some games. A puzzle/platformer game like we're making would not significantly benefit from it.
do_it_anyway 2nd July 2010, 12:56 Quote
I have 2 words.
Angry Birds

Released as a free version with limited play time. Sold for cheap as chips price for full version. Result - On the App store it is the highest grossing app out there. Out-grossing the TomTom app which sells for over £50.
The moral surely is that demo's and sensible pricing lead to profits. Greed, smoke and mirrors doesn't.
Kiytan 2nd July 2010, 15:03 Quote
one of my friends also made an incredibly good point:

It would completely screw with the difficulty curve.
in games like HL:ep1 its fine, as they are self contained games (just set with an overarching story) whereas his idea sounds like you buy the game in three parts (or more) parts, so either chapter 3 starts off damned hard, or throughout the game (if you own them all) there is luls in difficulty.
Oggyb 2nd July 2010, 22:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiytan
one of my friends also made an incredibly good point:

It would completely screw with the difficulty curve.
in games like HL:ep1 its fine, as they are self contained games (just set with an overarching story) whereas his idea sounds like you buy the game in three parts (or more) parts, so either chapter 3 starts off damned hard, or throughout the game (if you own them all) there is luls in difficulty.

You'll find that in ANY great game. It's all part of story telling and letting the player recover from any fatigue he's encountered playing that previous boss.

What did you do immediately post-helicopter gunship in HL2? Was it more or less difficult than beating the gunship?

I think episodic (and chapter-based) games definitely have their place and releasing the first chapter as a bundle, or free as a demo is fair play if it increases your sales and generates player loyalty.

If it does the above, you've created a great game.
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