120°

Fire Tears Through Offices of STALKER 2 Developer

It seems as if the development of STALKER 2 has suffered another setback, with a fire affecting the offices of developer GSC Game World

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escapistmagazine.com
lucasnooker225d ago

That’s so unfortunate! This team have had such a hard time getting this game to the light! I wish them the best

70°

‘It’s been really painful’: Ex-Lionhead devs explain why they’ve announced, and shelved, a new game

An independent UK developer says it’s been forced to announce and postpone its game on the same day, and lay off more than half of its staff, due to the sharp downturn in investment in the games industry.

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videogameschronicle.com
50°

Former WipEout Devs at Starlight Games Announce Futuristic Sports Title, House of Golf 2 and More

A new studio based in Liverpool called Starlight Games is developing a futuristic sports title and is headed by the co-creator of WipEout.

300°

Starfield Highlights a Major Problem With the AAA Game Industry

Video games -- particularly AAA video games -- have become too expensive to make. The intel from every fly on the wall in every investor's room is there is an increasing level of caution about spending hundreds of millions just to release a single video game. And you can't blame them. Many AAA game budgets mean that you can print hundreds of millions in revenue, and not even turn a profit. If you are an investor, quite frankly, there are many easier ways to make a buck. AAA games have always been expensive to make though, but when did we go from expensive, to too expensive? A decade ago, AAA games were still expensive to make, but fears of "sustainability" didn't keep every CEO up at night. Consumer expectations and demands no doubt play a role in this, but more and more games are also revealing obvious signs of resource mismanagement, evident by development teams and budgets spiraling out of control with sometimes nothing substantial to show for it.

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comicbook.com
franwex3d ago

It’s a question that I’ve pondered myself too. How are these developers spending this much money? Also, like the article stated, I cannot tell where it’s even going. Perfect example was used with Starfield and Spiderman 2.

They claim they have to increase prices due to development costs exploding. Okay? Well, I’m finding myself spending less and less money on games than before due to the quality actually going down. With a few recent exceptions games are getting worse.

I thought these newer consoles and game engines are easier-therefore-cheaper to make games than previous ones. What has happened? Was it over hiring after the pandemic, like other tech companies?

MrBaskerville3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

Costs quite a bit to maintain a team of 700+ employees. Which is what it takes to create something with state of the art fidelity and scope. Just imagine how many 3D artists you'd need to create the plethora of 3D objects in a AAA game. There's so much stuff and each asset takes time and effort.

That's atleast one of the things that didn't get easier. Also coding all the systems and creating all the character models with animations and everything. Animations alone is a huge thing because games are expected to be so detailed.

Back in the day a God of War type game was a 12 hour adventure with small levels, now it has to be this 40+ hours of stuff. Obviously it didn't have to be this way of AAA publishers hadn't convinced themselves that it's an arms race. Games probably didn't need to be this bloated and they probably didn't need to be cutting edge in fidelity.

franwex3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

Starfield’s animation and character models look like they are from Oblivion, a game that came out about 20 years ago. I cannot tell the difference between Spider-Man 2 and the first one at first glance. It’s been a joke in some YouTube channels.

Seven hundred people for 1 game? Make 7 games with 100 people instead. I think recent games have proven that it’s okay to have AA games, such as Hell Divers 2.

I guess I’m a bit jaded with the industry and where things are headed. Solutions seem obvious and easy, but maybe they aren’t.

MrBaskerville3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

@franwex
I'm not talking about Starfield.

And I'm not advocating for these behemoth productions. I think shorter development time and smaller teams would lead to better and more varied games. I want that, even if that means that we have to scale things down quite a bit.

Take something like The Last of Us 2. The amount of custom content is ridiculous if you break it down. It's no wonder they have huge teams of animators and modellers. And just to make things worse, each animated detail requires coding as well.

Just to add to animation work. It can take up to a week to make detailed walking animations. A lot of these tend to vary between character types. And then you need to do every other type of animation as well which is a task that scales quickly depending on how detailed the game is. And that's just a small aspect of AAA development. Each level might require several level designers who only do blockouts. Enviroment artists that setdress and lighting artists that work solely on lighting. Level needs scripting and testing. Each of these tasks takes a long ass time if the game is striving for realism.

Personally I prefer working on games where one level designer can do all aspects. But that's almost exclusively in indie and minor productions. It gets bloated fast.

Yui_Suzumiya3d ago

Then there's Doki Doki Literature Club which took one person to make along with a character designer and background designer and it's absolutely brilliant.

Cacabunga3d ago

Simply because they want you to believe it’s so expensive to develop a game that they must turn into other practices like releasing games unfinished, micro transactions and in the long run adopt the gaas model in all games..

thorstein3d ago

I think game budgets are falsely inflated for tax purposes.

Just look at Godzilla Minus One. It cost less that 15 million.

If they include CEO salary and bonuses on every game and the CEO takes a 20 million dollar bonus every year for the 4 years of dev time, that's 80 million the company can claim went to "making" the game.

esherwood3d ago

Yep and clogged with a bunch of corporate bs that has nothing to do with making good video games. Like diversity coordinators gender specialists. Like most jobs you have 20-30% of the workforce doing 80% of the work

FinalFantasyFanatic2d ago

I honestly think this is where a large portion of the budget goes, a significant portion to the CEO, then another large portion to the "Consultancy" group they hire. The rest can be explained by too much ambition in scope for their game, or being too inefficient with their resources available, then you have whatever is left for meaningful development.

rippermcrip2d ago

Who is upvoting this shit? They are counting a CEOs $20 million dollars 4 times for tax purposes? You have zero comprehension of how taxes work.

-Foxtrot3d ago

Spiderman 2 is so weird because the budget is insane yet I don't see it when playing

Yeah it's decent, refined gameplay, graphics and the like from the first game but it's very short, there's apparently a lot cut from it thanks to the insight from the Insomniac leak and the story was just not that good compared to the first so where the hell did all that money go to.

Even fixes to suits, bugs to wrinkle out and a New Game Plus mode took months to come out

Put it this way, the New Game Plus took as long to come out as the first games very first story DLC

FinalFantasyFanatic2d ago

I don't see it either, you have a good portion of the game already made if you reuse as much as you can for the first game, and based on the developer interviews, there was a lot of stuff they didn't implement. They also hired that one, currently infamous consultancy group, despite all this, I can't see how they spent more than twice as much money making the sequel.

Profchaos3d ago

There's so much more at play now compared to 20 or 30 years ago.

Yes tools have matured they are easier than ever to use we are no longer limited and more universal however gamers demand more.

Making a game like banjo Kazooie vs GTA vi and as amazing as banjo was in its day its quite dated an unacceptable for a game released today to look and run like that.

Games now have complex weather systems that take months to program by all accounts GTA vi will feature a hurricane system unlike anything we've ever seen building that takes so much work months and months.

In addition development teams are now huge and that's where a lot of the costs stem from the manpower requirement of modern games can be in the hundreds and given the length of time they spend making these games add up to so much more to produce.

Art is also a huge are where pixel art gave way to working with polygons and varying levels of detail based on camera location we are now in the realm of HD assets where any slight imperfections stand out like a sore thing vs the PS2 era where artwork could be murky and it was fine this takes time.

Tldr the scope of modern games has gone nuts gamers demand everything be phenomenal and crafting this takes a long time by far bigger studios.

We can still rely on indies to makes smaller scope reasonably priced games like RoboCop rouge city but AAA studios seem reluctant to re scope from masterpieces to just fun games

Mulando3d ago

In case of Spiderman license costs were also a big chunk. And then there is the marketing, that exploded over time and is mostly higher than actual development costs.

blacktiger2d ago

All lies and top industries owns by elite and lying to shareholders that these are the expensive and getting expensive.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 2d ago
raWfodog3d ago

I believe that it is due to this unsustainable rise in production costs that more and more companies are looking to AI tools to help ‘lower’ costs.

northpaws3d ago

The use of AI is all about greed, even for companies that are sustainable, they would use AI because it saves them money.

Nooderus2d ago

Is saving money inherently greedy behavior?

northpaws2d ago

@Nooderus

It is if they don't care about the employees who made them all those money in the first place. Replace them with AI just so the higher ups can get a bigger bonus.

FinalFantasyFanatic2d ago

I don't believe we'll get better or more complete games, the savings will just get pocketed by the wrong people, I wish it wouldn't, but I don't have a lot of faith in these bigger companies.

KyRo3d ago

I genuinely believe it's mismanagement. Why are we seeing an influx of one person or games with a team no bigger than 10 create whole games with little to no budget? Unreal Engine 5 and I'm sure many other engines have plugins that have streamlined to many things you would have had to create and code back in the day.

For instance, before the cull, there were 3000 Devs working on COD alone. I'm a COD player but let's be real, there's been no innovation since 2019s MW. What exactly are those Devs doing? Even more so when so much of the new games are using recycled content

Sciurus_vulgaris3d ago

I also think higher up leads may simply demand more based on the IP they are working on. This could explain why COD costs so much to develop.

Tody_ZA3d ago (Edited 3d ago )

I've stated this in many other articles, but corporate greed, mismanagement and bloat and failing to understand the target audience and misaligned sales expectations as a result are the big reasons for these failures.

You'll see it in the way devs and publishers speak, every sequel needs to be "three times the size" of its predecessor, with hundreds of employees and over-indulgence. Wasted resources on the illusion of scale and scope. Misguided notions that if your budget balloons to three times that of the previous game you'll make three times the sales.

Compare the natural progression of games like Assassin's Creed 1 to 2 or Batman Arkham Asylum to City or Witcher 2 to Witcher 3 or God of War remake to Ragnarok and countless others. How is it that From Software continues to release successful games? Why don't we hear these excuses from Larian? These were games made by developers with a vision, passion and desire to improve their game in meaningful ways.

Then look at Suicide Squad Kill the Franchise and how it bloats well beyond its expected completion date and alienates its audience and middle fingers its purchasing power by wrapping a single player game in GAAS. Look at Starfield compared to Skyrim. Why couldn't Starfield have 5-10 carefully developed worlds with well written stories and focus? Why did it need all this bloat and excess that adds nothing to the quality of the game? How can No Man's Sky succeed where Starfield fails? Look at Mass Effect Andromeda compared to Mass Effect 3. Years of development and millions in cost to produce that mediocre fodder.

The narrative they want you to believe is that game budgets of triple A games are unsustainable, but it's typical corporate rubbish where they create the problem and then charge you more and dilute the quality of their games in favour of monetisation to solve it.

Tody_ZA3d ago

Obviously didn't mean God of War "remake", meant 2018.

Chocoburger3d ago

Indeed, here's a good example, Assassin's Creed 1 had a budget of 10 million dollars. Very reasonable. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag had a budget of 100 million dollars, within the same console generation! Even though BF was released on more systems, its still such a massive leap in production costs.

So you ask why they're making their games so big, well the reason is actually because of micro-trash-actions. Even single player games are featured with in-game stores packed with cosmetics, equipment upgrades, resources upgrades, or whatever other rubbish. The reason why games are so bloated and long, artificially extending the length of the game is because they know that the longer a person plays a game (which they refer to as "player engagement"), the more likely they are to eventually head into the micro-trash-action store and purchase something.

That is their goal, so they force the developers to make massive game maps, pack it boring filler, and then intentionally slow down your progress through experience points, skill points, and high level enemies that are over powered until you waste hours of your life grinding away to finally progress.

A person on reddit made a decent post about AC: Origins encouraging people towards spending more money.
https://www.reddit.com/r/pc...

I've lost interest in these types of games, because the publisher has intentionally gone out of their way to make their game boring in order to try and make more money out of me. NOPE!