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AAA Game development has ballooned out of control. Scope should be reduced.

Umbasaborne

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Dec 21, 2020
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6 years, that is the amount of time that will be between the release of halo 5 and halo infinite. One of those years was an entire extra delay year, and its still launching incomplete! Bioware launched 5 good games during the 360 era, last generation we got one okay one and two pieces of dog shit in the same amount of time. Rockstar put out two gta games, red dead redemption, and single player dlc from the years of 2008-2013. From 2013 to now rockstar has only managed to get out two games. We havent gotten a new mainline elder scrolls game in ten years. During the ps3 eranaughty dog released 4 AAA games, last generation we got 2.5. Bayonetta 3 and metroid prime 4 were announced 4 years ago...

The only AAA developers who seem to be able to release new games on a consistent basis now are part of activision (fuck them), insomniac, or one of Ubisoft's many teams.

I understand 4k visuals take a long time, but maybe this could be remedied by making smaller scoped games. Insomniac is able to get games out consistantly and without crunch because they are scoped appropriatley. They dont have massive dynamic open worlds. Spidermans ny looks pretty but its small, and serves as simple set dressing for a hand full of repeatable challenges and story missions. Ratchet and clank: Rift Apart was awesome, and really pretty, but it wasnt the biggest game in the world and that was fine, i didnt feel ripped off. Uncharted lost legacy was developed in like a year and a half and it was somehow better than uncharted 4. If big studios make smaller scoped titles we would get them more often. Id rather have a smaller more linear mass effect 5 (similar to mass effect 2) than wait 7 years for another obnoxious ubisoft style open world with mass effect set dressing.

sorry for all the grammatical errors, i wrote this quickly at work.
 
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Plantoid

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Nov 4, 2015
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I was going to agree but on second thought, after re-reading your post I changed my mind.

Games are $70 now, almost all game gets paid dlcs, if games are shorter we will be getting tons of dlcs, even more than we already have.

I never buy dlcs, I'm paying premium for something I want the full experience. With more releases, more incomplete games.

Well if that's the case then I will be waiting for the special editions, I have a massive backlog anyways
 

Swoopsail

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Apr 18, 2021
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It's almost like, we need to let the slow aged lumbering giants die, so that new motivated companies can take their place. What ever could be keeping these bloated executive-ballwashing companies alive? Hmmmmmmmm? It's almost as if having Bobby Caustics, Andrewbot Wilsons, and investor meetings running your company aren't good for video games?

Idk, maybe if they fire 200 more low-wage devs and lazily do one game as a service for 15 years, they can tell their investors the company is overperforming again 🤑🤑🤑
 

YoshiMadness

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I think what we really need is more mid-tier, or AA developers if you will. Back in the day, we had stuff like THQ and Midway, but nowadays, it seems like mid-tier developers are a dying breed. Sure, we still have devs like THQ Nordic and Sega holding down the fort, but it feels like anymore, it's mainly just AAA and indie devs.

A middle tier dev has the benefit of having a higher budget and bigger scope than indies (and I say this as someone who loves indie games) while still being able to take more risks than AAA devs because they don't have such an absurd amount of money invested in their titles that they could possibly lose if it doesn't quite pan out.

In a perfect world, we would have an equal balance of AAA, mid-tier, and indie. Sadly, this is not a perfect world.
 

Warnen

Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead / Hey, there, there goes the Spider-Man
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Nope I want bigger better games, covid sucks and gonna take a while for teams to adjust. Vote with your wallet if you are not happy.
 
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GuinGuin

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Plenty of devs release games fully formed on a decent schedule. Covid messed a few things up but overall I enjoy and am impressed with the current direction of games outside of the GaaS and f2p trend.
 

Umbasaborne

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I agree scope should be reduced but so should the cost. RE Village felt a little too short I would say 60$ is too high. We need more Miles Morales type games. More frequent releases, with medium size length, and a reduction in price.
This would be ideal imo, smaller games with AAA production quality
 

WitchHunter

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Jun 22, 2021
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6 years, that is the amount of time that will be between the release of halo 5 and halo infinite. One of those years was an entire extra delay year, and its still launching incomplete! Bioware launched 5 good games during the 360 era, last generation we got one okay one and two pieces of dog shit in the same amount of time. Rockstar put out two gta games, red dead redemption, and single player dlc from the years of 2008-2013. From 2013 to now rockstar has only managed to get out two games. We havent gotten a new mainline elder scrolls game in ten years. During thr ps3 era naughty dog released 4
Triple a games, last generation we got 2.5. Bayo 3 and metroid prime 4 were announced 4 years ago...

the only AAA developers who seem to be able to release new games on a consistent basis these days are part of activision (fuck them) or insomniac or ubisofts various teams.

i understand 4k visuals take a long time, but maybe this could be remedied by
Making smaller scoped games. Insomniac is able to get games out consistantly and without crunch because they are scoped appropriatley. They dont have massive dynamic open worlds. Spidermans ny looks pretty but its small, and just simple set dressing for a hand full Of repeatable challenges and story missions. Ratchet was awesome, and really pretty, but it wasnt the biggest Game in the world and that was fine, i didnt feel ripped off. Uncharted lost legacy was developed in like a year and a half and it was somehow better than uncharted 4. If big studios make smaller scoped titles we would get them more often. Id rather have a smaller more linear mass effect 5 (similar to mass effect 2) than wait 7 years for another obnoxious ubisoft style open world with mass effect set dressing.

sorry for all the grammatical errors, i wrote this quickly at work.
Yeah, agree. I say 20 hour tops for a title is good. 4 hr per day on avg, that's one week.
 

Sub Boss

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I understand what you saying but there is not much they can do, reducing the scope will make everybody complain they are cheap(look at Nintendo) and make less sales for third parties.

That and 343 is kind of incompetent
 

MrFunSocks

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Places like this very forum whinge and bitch incessantly when a game doesn't have industry leading graphics and assets and endless replayability and endless content included from day 1. Fix that problem and then maybe devs can release smaller games more frequently.
 
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ACESHIGH

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May 16, 2020
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Is a slippery slope: The media taught gamers to search for supposed value for money in games, which led to open world single player borefests and grindy multiplayer games. Also is hard to cut on production values in AAA games since cutbacks really stand out. Picture a game like TLOU2 with terrible voice acting or animations. It would be meme worthy, like Mass Effect Andromeda was.

But yeah, its out of control and also AA games just can't win: Gamers love to bash AA and "Eurojank" games because they always compare them against best in class AAA games. So it seems that devs have no choice: For single players is either use the GDP of a small country to put together an AAA Ubisoftian Open world or an indie dev creating a first person horror game or pixel art platformer/roguelite.
 
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MrS

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6 years, that is the amount of time that will be between the release of halo 5 and halo infinite.
You're really gonna use an inept studio like 343i as your basis for this? That's absurd imho. From Software, CoD devs and Insomniac Games are able to put out good to excellent product every 3 years. The situation is not as dire as you're making it out to be imho.
 
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Corndog

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Apr 17, 2020
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6 years, that is the amount of time that will be between the release of halo 5 and halo infinite. One of those years was an entire extra delay year, and its still launching incomplete! Bioware launched 5 good games during the 360 era, last generation we got one okay one and two pieces of dog shit in the same amount of time. Rockstar put out two gta games, red dead redemption, and single player dlc from the years of 2008-2013. From 2013 to now rockstar has only managed to get out two games. We havent gotten a new mainline elder scrolls game in ten years. During thr ps3 era naughty dog released 4
Triple a games, last generation we got 2.5. Bayo 3 and metroid prime 4 were announced 4 years ago...

the only AAA developers who seem to be able to release new games on a consistent basis these days are part of activision (fuck them) or insomniac or ubisofts various teams.

i understand 4k visuals take a long time, but maybe this could be remedied by
Making smaller scoped games. Insomniac is able to get games out consistantly and without crunch because they are scoped appropriatley. They dont have massive dynamic open worlds. Spidermans ny looks pretty but its small, and just simple set dressing for a hand full Of repeatable challenges and story missions. Ratchet was awesome, and really pretty, but it wasnt the biggest Game in the world and that was fine, i didnt feel ripped off. Uncharted lost legacy was developed in like a year and a half and it was somehow better than uncharted 4. If big studios make smaller scoped titles we would get them more often. Id rather have a smaller more linear mass effect 5 (similar to mass effect 2) than wait 7 years for another obnoxious ubisoft style open world with mass effect set dressing.

sorry for all the grammatical errors, i wrote this quickly at work.
I think you need both. Smaller, faster made games and then longer more epic games. Here’s hoping new tools like UE5 speed up the development process. Probably wishful thinking though.
 

OneMoreDay

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Dec 29, 2020
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But what exactly is the problem here? As far as I can tell, there's an abundance of interesting games being released, far more than I have the time to play. If you only want to play GTA and The Elder Scrolls I get why you're upset, but if not, then I don't really see the issue.
 
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JerryinSoCal

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Apr 11, 2020
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6 years, that is the amount of time that will be between the release of halo 5 and halo infinite. One of those years was an entire extra delay year, and its still launching incomplete! Bioware launched 5 good games during the 360 era, last generation we got one okay one and two pieces of dog shit in the same amount of time. Rockstar put out two gta games, red dead redemption, and single player dlc from the years of 2008-2013. From 2013 to now rockstar has only managed to get out two games. We havent gotten a new mainline elder scrolls game in ten years. During thr ps3 era naughty dog released 4
Triple a games, last generation we got 2.5. Bayo 3 and metroid prime 4 were announced 4 years ago...

the only AAA developers who seem to be able to release new games on a consistent basis these days are part of activision (fuck them) or insomniac or ubisofts various teams.

i understand 4k visuals take a long time, but maybe this could be remedied by
Making smaller scoped games. Insomniac is able to get games out consistantly and without crunch because they are scoped appropriatley. They dont have massive dynamic open worlds. Spidermans ny looks pretty but its small, and just simple set dressing for a hand full Of repeatable challenges and story missions. Ratchet was awesome, and really pretty, but it wasnt the biggest Game in the world and that was fine, i didnt feel ripped off. Uncharted lost legacy was developed in like a year and a half and it was somehow better than uncharted 4. If big studios make smaller scoped titles we would get them more often. Id rather have a smaller more linear mass effect 5 (similar to mass effect 2) than wait 7 years for another obnoxious ubisoft style open world with mass effect set dressing.

sorry for all the grammatical errors, i wrote this quickly at work.
It depends on the studio and the management not just the scope of the games, Xbox game studios and 343 are notoriously inefficient, the lack of output and lengthy delays to outright cancellations are proof of that, someone else should be running studios there and 343 likely needs completely new leadership across the board. I would also not look to Bioware as a developer who knows how to run a tight ship these days, important people leaving and confusion as to what kinds of games they want to make aren't helping.

That's not the case with every publisher though, Sony does a great job for the most part, look at Naughty Dog, they got UC4, an expansion and TLOU2 all out in the matter of 4 years which is crazy especially with the large scope of TLOU2 which was actually longer than it needed to be. Guerrilla would have had Forbidden West out this year and SMS may have actually gotten GOW out as well if it weren't for Covid.

As far as Rockstar they also made changes to their technology and added online components to GTA that they never had before, yeah they had online in RDR but it wasn't at that scale. It's also not like they spent all that time between GTA and RDR2 in full production, it took them quite a while to get the story down and the rest of the creative.

Delays have been a thing since games were 2D sprite based platformers it's nothing new, Nintendo used to delay every big game they announced going back to the SNES. Yes it takes 5 years to make a large scale game but the payoff is usually worth it, if you make a small game and it takes 3-4 years is it really worth cutting so much of it out just to get a game done a year sooner? I don't think it is.
 
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tommib

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Dec 7, 2020
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I hate this bang for the buck thing. If gamers are paying 70 USD then games need to have endless repetitive content? I much prefer to pay that money for a super tight, prestige and quality game. I hate spending 80 euros repeating similar quests just because the content is there and that impresses the average gamer.

Production values and quality do not equate to endless hours played.
 

KAL2006

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I don't mind I barely have time to play that many games anywyas so having less games but with massive scopes and higher budgets work out for me. I can barely keep up with the amount of games as it is I can't imagine if they were to release more. So keep at it, keep the crunching going, work those coders and game devs to death.
 
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FUBARx89

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Jun 26, 2019
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I agree scope should be reduced but so should the cost. RE Village felt a little too short I would say 60$ is too high. We need more Miles Morales type games. More frequent releases, with medium size length, and a reduction in price.


It's a RE game. They're all short. I live in the UK so my milage will differ to yours, but I haven't paid RRP for a RE game for a very very long time.
 
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The ones you mentioned are taking too long (Bayo 3 and Metroid 4), its not because development is long, they are just vaporware.
 

yurinka

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The OP is right. Many big AAA games take 4 to 6 years to be developed with around 1500-2500 people working on them. These games are getting budgets of around $200M, but game prices and amount of units sold didn't grow proportionally. In fact now games get discounted frequently and price cutted a few months after release.

This also puts more pressure on devs, who crunch like motherfuckers because the competition is too hard and is very difficult to achieve a great level and requires a ton of work, and they are very time constrained due to the budgets.

It's becoming too risky for the companies, who sometimes have to shut down these studios when one or two tank hard. AAA games should stop of becoming larger and larger and go back to be 10-15 hours long plus another 10h or so for completionism, or something like that, instead of becoming 50h+ hours long games (and in some cases 100h+ games). This of to make them GaaS with a ton of DLC, IAP, casino tricks and gatcha.

I would rather have more creativity in games with lower budget. Most AAA games have to play it safe to recoup their invesment and leave little oportunity for risk and creativity.
To make AAA games is becoming too risky, so they will avoid being creative and instead to bet more on what they know it sells because it has been proved in many other successful games. But well, it's what they already do.
 
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Captain Toad

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So many people here seem to buebe the biggest contributor to a game's development time and budget is how long the game is. That really has very little, if anything, to do with it
 

M1chl

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Full ray tracing pipeline is going to ease out on dev front (like Metro: EE) and good CPUs are going to make it smoother so you don't have to think
oh well it would be few lines of code if I can execute on cpu, but these idiots put there notebook cpus, so I am going to go and write 1000+ gpGPU code"

Plus Unreal 5 when you don't have to give a shit about LOD models, etc... Lot's of QOL shit for devs this gen.

Remeber that Insomniac did Ratchet and Clank in like 2 years of so 8 hours per day job. That shit would take waaay more on PS4.
 

Dr_Salt

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To make AAA games is becoming too risky, so they will avoid being creative and instead to bet more on what they know it sells because it has been proved in many other successful games. But well, it's what they already do.
Yea it totally sucks. I sometimes wonder if I am outgrowing games since each year there are less games that appeal to me but then I check the market for new games and most AAA seem like the same thing. Same game with the same concepts, character tropes, color pallete and even music.
AAA gaming is all about money nowadays and I'm not saying it wasn't before but companies were taking much more risks back then.
 
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So many people here seem to buebe the biggest contributor to a game's development time and budget is how long the game is. That really has very little, if anything, to do with it
 

WitchHunter

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Well, maybe there is some strange factor that derails these games. The ones who force this factor on people need to be nuked. Fuck the system.
 

WitchHunter

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Yea it totally sucks. I sometimes wonder if I am outgrowing games since each year there are less games that appeal to me but then I check the market for new games and most AAA seem like the same thing. Same game with the same concepts, character tropes, color pallete and even music.
AAA gaming is all about money nowadays and I'm not saying it wasn't before but companies were taking much more risks back then.
Yep, like some invisible force doesn't let creativity break through a barrier. Or just the neverending optimization of the medium, just like in movies. Oh this shit got consumed by that many people? Then give them even lower quality, let's see how they like it. Ooooh, they also ate this shit. Go even lower. And nobody cares (well, there are a few exceptions, but they are bombarded left and right) that people get dumbened down, because while "consuming" they get nothing that would add something to their lives. Just the bare minimum to enjoy their free time.

Or maybe veterans get disillusioned, siderailed or deprived of opportunity or since this medium is a strong one, maybe even stronger than journalism, that must be controlled. Also if you work 10+ hours for months, years, you just empty your creative reserves and become empty. Creative people need free time to let new ideas come to life.
 
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Gameplaylover

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Places like this very forum whinge and bitch incessantly when a game doesn't have industry leading graphics and assets and endless replayability and endless content included from day 1. Fix that problem and then maybe devs can release smaller games more frequently.
This very forum worships and praises games without those things all the time.
 
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Don Carlo

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In two days gap, both Techland and MaschineGames are now linked with multiple AAA Games. It's truly farming now.
 

SaturnSaturn

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100% we are heading for a new crash if this keeps up.

Super fidelity also kills creativity and only leaves the top dogs able to create something due to budget limitations for smaller devs. In essence you are left with only 6-7 studios that are making AAA games now due to the fidelity demands. And its all safe generic gameplay since they cant take any chances with a mega investment as AAA games have become. I will say it again, go back to PS2 level fidelity, imagine what the game world and ai would be like on these new machines with ps2 like fidelity, it would be insanely good, and it would also make smaler devs and a-aa games competetive again
 
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Shubh_C63

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I don't care about the developers or publishers. I mean if I did they will turn their profit margins even higher rather than giving back to the devs, so I don't.

I like AAA and hype. I'm only human.
 

Soodanim

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For all the time and effort they put into GTA5, it’s the first game in the series I purposely stopped playing because I’d had enough of its boring missions. It lacks the feel, fun, and charm of the PS2 games, and no amount of AAA budget and polish will change that.

That’s irrelevant though, because they turned the game into the most successful money maker in the industry. That’s all that’s ever going to matter to big business.
 

GymWolf

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With rtx, ssd, ia machine learning and the new tech inside the modern engines the work for the devs is gonna be more easy in a couple of years, at least this is what people told me.

I love big ass games so i hope the scope remain the same tbh.
 
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Stuart360

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Huge 60+ hour open world games have kept me into gaming big time. I dont really care how long they take to make, and not all AAA games take 5 or 6 years anyway.
Plus it helps not being a snob when it comes to AA and Indie games as there are more than enough of them to keep you going between big AAA releases.
 
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Shut0wen

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I think the main issue is most games have got to be huge like beyond 4x the dize of a previous game, which shouldnt be the case, hellblade proved you coukd make a small good looking game eith less then half the budget, id also say as well in gtas case 6 started production not that long ago as they have been riding out gta online and putting crazy detail into red dead
 
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