Submitted by GSKerns 522d ago | opinion piece

The Fall of AAA Developers: Bigger Isn't Always Better

With the closure of Irrational Games and Sony Santa Monica canceling an original title 4 years into development, are large AAA game studios becoming obsolete? Titanfall, indie games, and Kickstarter are all changing the way games are being made. GamerzUnite charts how these changes have been 7 years in the making. (Black Tusk Studios, Cliff Bleszinski, David Jaffe, Dev, Epic Games, Industry, Irrational Games, Ken Levine, Sony Santa Monica)

DanielGearSolid  +   523d ago
I just wish devs/publishers would stop spending so much money for no reason
3-4-5  +   522d ago
Dev's I have a solution:

* Don't take 5 years + $100 million dollars to make a game.

Instead do this:

* 4 games @ $50 million a piece.

- That is still a lot of money for one game, and you can now experiment with 4 new IP's instead of just one.

You get 5-6 years worth of experimentation all done within like a 3 year time period.

If only 1/4 succeeds then you win. You didn't need to spend extra, and you got to try out more ideas than any AAA dev before you in that same time period.

* If 2 or 3/4 end up being good, then you now have 2-3 games you can make a sequel from.

All of this because you stopped trying to spend so much money and time on JUST one game.

We need more games, lots of games, lots of quality games that are creative.

#1.1 (Edited 522d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
colonel179  +   522d ago
The day AAA games die, is the day consoles die, and that is not going to happen anytime soon. SSM cancelled a game just like any other developer does. Doesn't mean anything and definitely doesn't mean that AAA games are dying.
GSKerns  +   522d ago
Ken Levine, Keiji Inafune, Cliff Bleszinski, David Jaffe, Peter Molyneux, Fumito Ueda, Vince Zampella... all either quit/fired and working on smaller games. I think that means something.
#2.1 (Edited 522d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
colonel179  +   522d ago
Well, if the future of gaming is $1 mobile games, then that's the day I quit gaming forever.
Soldierone  +   522d ago
Not entirely. A majority of those left the studio, but the studios are still making games.

Ken was just outright a jerk about what he did and there was no reason in the world to shut down IG. Their publisher just wanted tighter deadlines and more profit, he didn't like it and jumped ship, but decided to look back and sink the ship so no one else could control it....

A lot of the other guys are also full of themselves and think of themselves as gods of gaming. Not all of them, but most. If anything this just means publishers are losing control, not that the industry is crashing with AAA's. I mean why sell your soul to EA when you can just ask Kickstarter for money?
GSKerns  +   522d ago
@colonel179 Mighty No. 9 and Titanfall are $1 mobile games?

and after these people left... were the studios/franchises any good? Gears of War: Judgment, God of War:Ascension, Call of Duty MW3/Ghosts... yeah these studios are so much better off without these no talent egotistical jerks.
#2.1.3 (Edited 522d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report
3-4-5  +   522d ago
Dev's want their creative freedom back, and they can't have it at AAA studios they are all forming indie studios with AAA talent.

* They make more of the money, they get full creative control, they also have some of the best talent working for them.

It's the best of everything.

We will see more cool art styles and more beautiful scenery in games from indie dev's then we ever will from a AAA dev.

The AAA Dev's that give their people time and creative control are the ones who will succeed.

Too many "money" guys at the top of these large companies making ignorant "money" decisions that are almost in the WORST interest of the gamer.
CanadianTurtle  +   522d ago
I have to agree that quite a bit of developers have left the industry for smaller and more personal projects. But we still have lots of talent left to last us this new generation of games. Naughty Dog, Bungie, Ubisoft, and such are still around! I feel like after these big guys are leaving the industry, then I'll also leave the console business and switch to PC games.
But until then, I'm looking forward to buying a PS4. It's too early in the new generation life cycle to say that AAA games are dead.
#3 (Edited 522d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Ck1x  +   522d ago
It will make a lot of these publishers more gunshy when it comes to new untested IP's. Just look at Ubisoft and the Assassins Creed franchise. The yearly installments will soon make people tire of even seeing the next game being announced.
levian  +   522d ago
Just keep bringing the new IP's! I'll play mostly anything that isn't an FPS, racing game, sports game, or arcade style fighting game! ... Okay I guess that's like 50% of games, but hey.
Hicken  +   522d ago
... considering how many AAA developers are still out there, I'd hardly call it any sort of "fall." More than anything, it's reactionary, as we're getting more and more into the back-end of things, finding out more stuff we didn't know about back in the day.

And, really? Levine shutting down Irrational was... irrational. No matter how you look at it, that was a personal- if stupid- decision by him, so he could make more money. It's not indicative of some bigger problem, except the issue of developers- and publishers, even moreso- abandoning console/AAA development to chase the easy money of the mobile market.

In fact, that's the case with most of the big names that have left big-budget gaming behind. It may, though, have something to do with age, or time in the industry, too.

I feel like this is one of those things that's being forced into becoming an issue. Cuz, hell, big developers close their doors all the time; it's nothing new.

And aren't there more AAA studios than ever?
Soldierone  +   522d ago
If "smaller projects" meant more focus on fun factor and less on "this looks so cool!!!" then I'd be all for it. I miss the PS2 days of having 50 games to choose from, all unique, but look similar.

Today its always "look how realistic and down to earth this title is" the industry has lost a lot of its creative ways.

However "smaller projects" often means casual mobile titles.... and if thats the future, I need a new hobby.
UncleGermrod  +   522d ago
I think when people read the headlines, they think someone is trying to claim that hardcore gaming as we know it is dying. That may be true, but only in a certain sense.

Big AAA titles will not be going away in the near future, but it has become clear that there is only so much room for success in that type of business model. So the big dogs will continue to make their games, and we will buy them.

The change we are seeing now is that many industry veterans and new-comers alike are beginning to see that the chances of succeeding with new AAA IP are not what they once were. Bloated budgets and increased pressure from investors and gamers alike are making AAA production harder and harder. This type of development is no longer as attractive as it once was. On top of that, they also seem to be pushing back against the executives and share holders. With self-publishing finally available on most major platforms, these guys would rather take their chances crating new, imaginative, fresh and risky games, aimed squarely at true gamers.

While mobile is here to stay, we still have some real heavy-hitters working on "hardcore" games. We as gamers should be both grateful and supportive over this. Maybe now these devs will be able to fully realize their full potential, and exciting new content will be the norm rather than the exception.
#8 (Edited 522d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
DC777  +   522d ago
Well you can't keep taking 5 years and 200 million to make a game that may not sell well. It's a big risk and it's gotten way out of control. Greed, laziness and lack of inspiration take their toll. "Corporate gaming" is not going to work forever.
Coach_McGuirk  +   522d ago

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