While it may not be used for his next game, Death Stranding, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima is optimistic about the future of episodic games and is even interested in eventually exploring them himself.
GameSpot spoke with Kojima following his keynote at the 2016 Develop conference in Brighton. During our interview, he revealed that part of his motivation for turning his first post-Konami project into a large, Triple-A experience was to prove it's possible to make a big game in Japan without "being part of a big company."
Meanwhile, episodic gaming has become a popular avenue for avoiding lengthy and costly development cycles, so we asked Kojima if episodic game releases appeal to him.
"For [Death Stranding] I can't tell. I'm not sure," he said. "But in the future I think this is a change that will definitely take place and I'd be interested. I don't think movies in the future will last two hours, especially when people are already demanding more speedy experiences and delivery. So taking shorter time spans to develop, putting it out, integrating user feedback quickly, and having that freedom in game-making, I think it will apply to movies and TV too."
He pointed out that this already happens with TV in Japan, and he doesn't think it's a trend that's going away.
"That's where I think things are headed, having five or 15-minute episodes. For games, having massive, long games will become a thing of the past."
With Sam & Max, The Walking Dead, and other games, Telltale is often credited with popularizing episodic games; at the very least, it can be acknowledged as among the best at sticking to a set release schedule. But Telltale's story-centric adventure games lend themselves well to the format. Others have tried it to varying degrees of success--Valve couldn't stick to a schedule with Half-Life, while Square Enix is in the middle of its solid episodic Hitman experiment.
Kojima himself arguably played with episodic design in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which split up its missions into distinct episodes, each with its own opening and closing credits. Whether that proves to be a glimpse into what his future games will look like remains to be seen.