kalkano (User)

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"Hating SEGA, and SquareEnix for killing my two favorite franchises(Shining Force, and Final Fantasy)"

The popularity of the AAA FPS has more to do with the AAA, and less to do with the FPS

kalkano | 129d ago
User blog

Everyone seems to think that FPS and action games are the only genres that can be successful in the AAA space. But, why is that? Why, suddenly, are there only two genres capable of success, when we used to have a good variety of genres?

Some will argue that "AAA" hasn't existed until the PS3/360 gen. I argue that "AAA" has always existed, and is simply defined by a developer pushing the top-of-the-line consoles to their limits.

In the PS1 and PS2 eras, we had AAA turn-based RPGs. Yet, today, people scoff at the very thought of such games. "They would flop, horribly" they say. "The publisher would go bankrupt", they say. "Nonsense", I say.

I think people need to ask themselves why. Why can FPS and action games be AAA, but turn-based games cannot? Why do people look down on turn-based games, when they used to be so popular, and sold millions of copies?

To me, the answer is clear. Yet, no one else seems to see it. Think of your average (emphasis on the word: average), modern turn-based game.

I'm willing to bet that, for one thing, you just thought of a handheld or phone game. I present you with problem number 1. How well do you think an FPS would sell on a handheld or phone, compared to its AAA console counterparts?

I'm also willing to bet that you thought of story scenes taking place with static, cardboard-cutout characters who occasionally change the emotion they're supposed to show. Can you even fathom how hard an FPS would flop if it tried to get away with the same crutch? People would laugh at that game. You can't take it seriously.

I think "Demon Gaze" is a perfect example. Look at "Demon Gaze", and replace the turn-based battles with FPS gameplay. Do you think it would sell well? Hardly.

And this is the point I'm trying to make. People (the entire industry, included) look at turn-based games as a "niche" genre, so they make "niche" games in that genre. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. A "niche" FPS or action game will flop just as hard as a "niche" game in any other genre.

And, along those same lines, it is my strong belief that a AAA turn-based game can be just as successful as a AAA game in any other genre, including FPS and action. The only reason they are "niche" is because the industry has forced them to be.

SquareEnix has proven these things to be true, in the past. But the other Japanese companies that make these games look to them to lead the way. And, SquareEnix has not been playing the role of leader. They've been following western companies, and (in my opinion) are largely responsible for the state of the Japanese industry.

If SquareEnix can put their money where their mouth is, and bring turn-based RPGs back to the AAA space, I believe that they will, once again, be a massive success, and other Japanese companies will follow them. All they have to do is try. Something that hasn't been done in a long time.

Godmars290  +   128d ago
Yes PS1 games such as FF7 were clearly AAA in terms of production value, but AAA only became a thing a 3D, realtime and high definition, or Western gaming standards.
cyguration  +   126d ago
WRONG!

Final Fantasy VI (known as FF3 in the States) was considered AAA, so was Chrono Trigger.

Baldur's Gate was considered AAA and it was still sprite-based.

Street Fighter II was most definitely considered AAA, along with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games.

Top Gear, Sonic and Super Mario were also considered AAA back in the day.

AAA simply refers to the public or mainstream recognition of a brand based on its perceived production values.
maniacmayhem  +   128d ago
You are seriously getting the definition of AAA wrong.

Triple A titles are determined by their budgets of production set by a company not their success in the market.

A company could make a turned based RTS and for them it would or could mean it is a triple A title since they are sinking so much money for engineering, marketing, QA, promotion, etc, etc.

It has nothing to do with a genre or success of a title.
kalkano  +   128d ago
If a company is sinking a ton of money into a game (any game) it should look the part, or they have likely wasted money. I didn't say AAA wasn't based on the budget. It absolutely is. I don't quite understand what you're saying I got wrong.

Also, it DOES have to do with the success of a title, since you will see an increase in sales with an increase in production value.
maniacmayhem  +   128d ago
You keep using the term AAA as a means of success or pushing a console to its limits and I am saying that triple A has nothing to do with any of that.

Example (from experience), Namco has the original PAC-MAN that is their biggest seller for mobile games. PAC-MAN is not a triple A title? Very little engineering and production goes into it and the name alone does it's own promotion and yet it makes millions on every device it's released on. That is because it's considered a flagship title that makes money regardless on what platform they are on.

If Square made a AAA turn based titles as good looking and marketing intensive as their Final Fantasy series and the game bombed, it wouldn't mean that turn based games wasn't a AAA title.

Different companies have different budgets. EA's budget is going to be very different from some independent company sinking a ton of money into their own game. The differences in looks might be drastic but it doesn't take away that they would both be considered triple A titles by their companies.

Atlus has Disgaea, it is a niche RTS game. It is also a triple A game for Nippon Ichi. They put in a lot of development time, resources, and production, it is definitely a triple A game from Nippon Ichi's. Whether it was super successful on a Final Fantasy/FPS level is irrelevant in that regards. Triple A does not mean success or pushing a console to it's limits.
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DragonKnight  +   128d ago
At first I was going to agree with maniac, as several developers have come forward and stated that AAA meant games with high budgets and nothing more, but then I looked into it.

Now, this is from wikipedia so you'll have to look at the sources provided at the bottom for further proof, but here's the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

"In the next decade, during gaming conventions in the US (CES, CGDC, E3 and private ones), some development companies started using the acronym AAA[2] among themselves, based on the Academic grading in the United States (A being the highest and F, denoting failure, the lowest).

Since AAA its an acronym, each "A" has a meaning regarding an overall quality.[7] One "A" is given to games that are consider to be "Critical Success" (critics or reviewers give it a perfect, or almost perfect score), another "A" is used when a game brings "innovative Gameplay" (a gaming characteristic so unique that differentiate the game from all the rest), and finally, the last "A" defines "Financial Success" (game sales that generate a huge profit). A title consider to be AAA is therefore a high quality game and its expected to be among the year’s bestsellers.[8]

Soon after, video game journalism, reviewers, and even the companies press-releases,[9] would also use the term to classify games (in some cases, referring to it as an equivalent to a movie blockbuster).

As the years progressed and during the new millennium, many publishers started to consider their games to be AAA even before their release,[4][10][11] and justifying this decision through huge development and marketing budgets.[12] This lead to a misrepresentation of the AAA title, since not all games with a huge budget (specially for consoles), are either a financial success, critical success or have innovative gameplay."
kalkano  +   128d ago
@Dragon:

I disagree with that definition, as well. AAA is defined by nothing but high production value. Just because certain developers said it, doesn't make it true, especially because some developers bastardize the term for PR purposes.
DragonKnight  +   128d ago
@kalkano: Who are you to decide what AAA means? You've seen developers have their own definition, and they make the games, and you've seen the official definition as sourced by other areas, and you are so arrogant as to believe your definition is the only, and accepted, definition of what is AAA?

Well sorry but, until someone names you the official of game industry terminology definitions, I'm going to go with the definitions of those people who are actually in the gaming industry and have actually made AAA games, not someone making a blog on N4G and shooting down EVERYONE'S definition of the term but his own, and only to suit his own blog.
kalkano  +   128d ago
@DragonKnight:

I'm just calling it how I see it. It seems obvious to me. And what you listed as the definition of AAA is not "official".

I'll throw your statement right back, "Who are they to decide what AAA means?" Whether they work in the industry is irrelevant. I stand by my statements.

BUT, this is not even what the point of this blog is! This is getting off topic.
Meep  +   127d ago
@DragonKnight

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you are in the minority with that definition. AAA is synonymous with big-budget. Just because game developers call it that doesn't mean people will follow it. AAA is synonymous with big-budget. I'll give you an example.

The creator of GIF(Graphics Interchange Format) said the it is pronounced jiff. God knows I will never change the way I say GIF.
Also I wouldn't call games like Hotline Miami, Braid, a AAA game. It just doesn't fit.

"...not someone making a blog on N4G and shooting down EVERYONE'S definition of the term but his own, and only to suit his own blog."
Cald down, he isn't shooting anybody opinions down. maniacmayhem and kalkano have essentially the same definition on AAA. Their disagreement is if financial success has an impact. Besides like kalkano said the definition of the term AAA isn't really what the blog is about. I know you get annoyed when people go off topic in your blog.
#2.1.6 (Edited 127d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(0) | Report
TransientDreamer  +   127d ago
@DragonKnight

Donnie, you are out of your element. Games with big budgets and high production values are considered to be AAA. PR, gamers, journalists, and developers themselves have all used the term to describe games in development and after release.
DragonKnight  +   127d ago
@kalkano: "I'm just calling it how I see it. It seems obvious to me. And what you listed as the definition of AAA is not "official".

How you see it isn't how it is, and what seems obvious to you doesn't make it the truth. I linked a page to you for you to read, it has sourced material about when AAA was first used, and why it was first used, that is by far more official than your definition of AAA.

"I'll throw your statement right back, "Who are they to decide what AAA means?" Whether they work in the industry is irrelevant. I stand by my statements."

What? So let me get this straight. You're asking "who are they" about people that actually make AAA games telling you what AAA means and standing by your completely baseless, inexperienced statements. I'm sorry but that has to be the absolute dumbest thing ever written on this site. Next you're going to tell me that you are the authority on brain surgery and can tell brain specialists a thing or two about how to perform surgery on the brain, and who are they to tell you otherwise.

@Meep: I think you're mistaking me for kalkano. Originally I was going to agree with maniac when he said that AAA is about the game's budget, but I researched when AAA was first used and why and posted a link to the page that explains it. kalkano is the one that says that AAA isn't about the budget but about market success, not me.

Your example is an inaccurate one due to the laws of language. The creator of gif wanting the term to be pronounced jif is, frankly, ignorant. Gif stands for Graphics Interface Format so even the first word of the anagram has a hard "guh" sound. Then there's the word "gift" which only has a letter added at the end but sounds like the way everyone says gif. It has to do with language, not opinion.

I know the blog isn't about what the definition of AAA is, all I did was provide the most official definition of the term that there is since that was the discussion going on and I was trying to make things clear.

@TransientDreamer: What in the blue hell are you talking about?
LoveOfTheGame  +   127d ago
I know I'm adding to the off topic part a bit, but lets say that we use the three separate A's given by DK as the definition for AAA.

If that is the definition of AAA, then I'm having trouble remembering a game that would actually fall under all three of those categories. Might even have to think back to PS2/Xbox days to think of one.
kalkano  +   128d ago
"Example (from experience), Namco has the original PAC-MAN that is their biggest seller for mobile games. PAC-MAN is not a triple A title?"

At the time that the original PAC-MAN was made, yes, it was a AAA title. Making PAC-MAN today is about as far away from AAA as you can possibly get. Sales numbers do not define AAA; budget does.

"If Square made a AAA turn based titles as good looking and marketing intensive as their Final Fantasy series and the game bombed, it wouldn't mean that turn based games wasn't a AAA title."

I agree.

"Atlus has Disgaea, it is a niche RTS game. It is also a triple A game for Nippon Ichi."

I wholeheartedly disagree. Nippon Ichi has never made a AAA game, and Disgaea is far from AAA.

"Triple A does not mean success or pushing a console to it's limits."

I agree that AAA does not mean success, but it DOES mean pushing a console to it's limits (whatever budgetary number that will take, at the time).

But the entire point I'm making here, is that making your game AAA will have a positive impact on sales, regardless of genre.
maniacmayhem  +   128d ago
Ok, well then our definitions of AAA seem to differ at certain points then.

Also I pointed out PAC-MAN because you stated:

"it DOES have to do with the success of a title,"

I was saying how a title's success has nothing to do with it being a triple A product. Triple A stands for the type of production that goes into a game.

I'm not entirely sure but I believe a very small team of people programmed the original PAC-MAN. Very little money, resources and time went into it (a whole year). It became a success due to how fun, and addicting (at the time) the game was. But it was not considered a triple A project.

But I am curious as to why you think Disgaea is not a triple a game from Nippon Ichi?
kalkano  +   128d ago
Yes, a very small team made Pac-Man. I wouldn't be surprised if ONE person made it. But, at the time, THAT was all that AAA took. Obviously, it's a much different story, today.

About Disgaea, it's always been made as a niche title. It's never had much production value put into it.

Also, the reason the industry hasn't been making AAA turn-based games, is because they don't think it's worth the risk. I argue that the risk of making a AAA turn-based game is comparable to the risk of making a AAA FPS.
DefenderOfDoom2  +   125d ago
i agree, the risk of making a big budget turn-based JRPG game is comparable to risk of making a big budget FPS game ! I talked about the lack of FPS campaign games down below! For example look at SYNDICATE. that game got great reviews . JEFF GERTZMAN from GIANT BOMB i think, picked it as his favorite game from 2012. Yet i do not even think it sold a hundred thousand copies! "CRYSIS Three" i thought had a great campaign and got some great reviews but it did not do good in terms of copies sold. Games cost big money too make . Big companies take big risk and most of them end up a failure! That is the entertainment business in general.
caseh  +   128d ago
'And, along those same lines, it is my strong belief that a AAA turn-based game can be just as successful as a AAA game in any other genre, including FPS and action. The only reason they are "niche" is because the industry has forced them to be.'

It's not the industry, its the audience. Valkyria Chronicles received praise across the board yet it managed just over 1m units sold. Ubisoft release Tomb Raider and deem it a bit of a failure as it was expecting 5m sales, got 4m.

The mindset of most companies is pretty clear, if it doesn't yield ridiculous profits, it isn't worth the effort and possible won't see a sequel.

Funnily enough, Valkyria sold over x2 the number of copies in NA as it did in Japan, yet the sequels were only released in Japan but that's Sega's logic for ya. :)
kalkano  +   128d ago
Let's not forget that you're comparing an early-gen game to a late-gen game. That alone will have a big affect on sales. Also, people (not me) are turned off by anime-styled characters.

There are many factors at play. But, the vast majority of them deal with how the games are presented, and not with the gameplay itself.
caseh  +   127d ago
Sadly Sega's games perform poorly regardless how far into a cycle the game is released. VC, Yakuza and both great games but each of them barely managed the 1m mark. Yakuza sales actually dwindle as the series goes on.

I get what you mean by presentation though. I'm really enjoying FF14 on PS4 at the moment but the whole pirate 'aaarrrgh me hearty, shiv'r me timbrs!!' bs that like 90% of the NPCs come out with was almost enough for me to stop playing after the first few hours. I've endured that and glad I didn't quit out.
Meep  +   127d ago
"it is my strong belief that a AAA turn-based game can be just as successful as a AAA game in any other genre, including FPS and action."
Define successful? Successful in financially or ratings? I'm guessing you mean financially. This just all depends on the publishers (and developers). Hell, I remember Square Enix saying how Sleeping Dogs, Hitman and Tomb Raider were all failures. So the term success in the eyes of a publisher is "Did it sell as much as Call of Duty? No? Failure." Most of the budget from AAA games get poured into marketing.

Personally I find JRPGs to be boring as hell (although I used to like them as a kid). Also you should watch Jim Sterling video on this topic (sort of). I think you'll enjoy it.

http://www.escapistmagazine...
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StockpileTom  +   127d ago
Imagine all shooters looking and playing like the original Doom... that is the situation with JRPGS they aren't evolving... they are too scared to take risks.
Meep  +   127d ago
Yea I would have to agree. Main reason why I don't like a lot of JRPGs is because they fell all the same.
e-p-ayeaH  +   127d ago
AAA game usually means big budget game with lots of DLC that you end up being bored at it after a week or 2.

The exceptions are rare but when those come around those games are worthy of including in your colection i mean games like Red Dead Redemption and Heavy Rain not something like Call of Duty and Battlefield.
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BillytheBarbarian  +   126d ago
AAA games have been around a long time. Big budgets, lots of press, television spots, etc...and they go on sale sometimes above standard new game cost. A title like Phantasy star on Master System was $90, Street Fighter on SNES and Genesis were $80, Starfox, Virtua racing and others that featured new tech like Donkey Kong Country. Final Fantasy 7, Tekken, Virtua Fighter in the mid 90s. There were a ton.

The biggest AAA flop of all time is easily Shenmue for Dreamcast. Great game that may never see a final game because of its AAA budget needed to do it right.

AAA big budget with some kind of new thing to push it above the pack. Usually it's graphics.
DefenderOfDoom2  +   125d ago
okay , i am getting sick of people putting , ADVENTURE ACTION, 3RD person shooters , and FPS in the same category ! The truth is not to many FPS games have come out in the last 2 years . In 2014 we have had a total of zero FPS games with a single player campaign to come out this year in retail stores ! As far as i know there is only 1 FPS game coming out in before Sept 1st 2014 ! And because i love FPS campaigns , i did not buy CALL of DUTY GHOST , or BATTLEFIELD 4 or TITANFALL ! also just got off the phone with a really nice female GAMESTOP employee, and even she said "wow besides BORDERLANDS prequel DESTINY , and EVOLVE ", She could not think of any more FPS games coming out this year retail ! But just bought DOOM CLASSIC COLLECTION from the PS STORE , just to play FINAL DOOM levels and MASTERS LEVELS, so i am not mad . To the author , i can somewhat understand your frustration with FPS genre because COD , BATTLEFIELD and BORDERLANDS are games people play the most on the PSN and XBOX LIVE .

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