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Let's Define the "A"-"AAAA" Scale. Once for and for all.

What Video Game Budget Tier Is Your Personal Favorite?

  • A

  • AA

  • AAA

  • AAAA

  • Star Citizen

Results are only viewable after voting.

Grildon Tundy

Gold Member
I don't want to alarm you, but there are marketers running amok, and they must be stopped.

Some of them have no regard for truth and clarity. They'll sell you on a new cell phone service by adding a "G" when they know well and good that a "G" is not an objective measure. They'll tell you their movie is the "#1 Movie in America!" without revealing if the ranking is based on the numbers of screens it's playing on/critic reviews/audience reviews/box office gross, etc.

And worst of all, they'll say right to your face and your mother that their new game is not AAA--no!--their game is AAAA. It's nonsense and when pressed for clarity, watch them shrivel and scatter back into the shadows.

Let's return objectivity to the definition of gaming production values. I hereby propose the following to be the standard A-AAAA scale:

Single A: Under $1M
AA: $2M-$10M
AAA: $10M-$100M

AAAA: $100M+

In real-game terms, that puts indies like Vampire Survivors at Single-A, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice squeaking in at the high end of AA, Watch Dogs at AAA, and GTA V, Red Dead 2, and Cyberpunk at AAAA.

It's easy to remember. No more ambiguity. No more fibs. Only truth.

NOTE: This scale includes development cost only. No marketing costs, since marketing does not determine the production value you see on your screen while playing.

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Gold Member
No Way Meme GIF


Next generation magazine coined the term aaa as far as I know. It was used to mean games that were cream of the crop in terms of sheer excellence. Like VF2 was AAA not because of it's budget but because it was impeccable design and programming.

Grildon Tundy

Gold Member
Seems kind of pointless considering that the development costs for most games are never made public. Nothing objective about guesswork.
Solution: if you don't release your dev costs, then you cannot use the A-AAAA scale in your marketing. To be enforced by the FTC or whoever has power to prosecute fibbers in advertising.

Inevitable outcome: marketers make
up a new "B-BBBB" scale to circumvent new regulations
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Dick Jones

Gold Member
AAAA is not real and anyone using it unironically should be viewed with caution. The Initiative was a self declared AAAA studio and it ended up being 50 staff where in the end they said fuck it, let's just hire Crystal Dynamics to make Perfect Dark.

No need to put undue pressure on teams with that ridiculous term. Just bin it and move on.
The definition and scale of any AAA titles constantly change with time, sometimes even multiple times during a single generation (see seventh gen),
''Minor'' productions with lower budgets and resources than the average (for its time) AAA title don't have a name and probably don't really need one.


A is something which is considered investment grade. Something like Vampire Survivors should be considered more like C grade because if someone invested their pension fund in it before it blew up, you would think they are crazy. What you are looking at more is not the game itself, but the history of the series and developer. I suppose Chris Roberts has a history, but the situation where people just dump huge amounts of cash on him and not expect any financial reward or product, ever, just openly defies the logic of any grading system.


AA and indie is the new AAA. Some of them (Ori, Plague Tale, A Hat in Time, Yooka) remind me of the releases Sony and Nintendo used to make.

Kev Kev

Gold Member
i dont have a "personal favorite"

its pretty meaningless to me until i play the game and can judge it for myself. and even then im not thinking "hm this feels like a AA" or "im gonna put this one in the AAA category". its more like, do i like this game enough to play it again? ok great. then i will play it again and make that judgement once more after im done playing it the next time.

now as far as defining what the industry sees it as? at this point id say you need to be a bit of a house hold brand name like bethesda, blizzard, activision, squarenix, from software, capcom, etc, in order to be considered AAA. other than that ive seen everything else just be considered less than AAA. maybe some will say AA, but i cant recall ever seeing someone say a game is A tier or AAAA tier. never heard that before


AAAA = Rockstar

It's not just about budget but also about polish, scope and detail. Star Citizen and Cyberpunk might have the budget but they lack the polish.

GTA and to a lesser extent RDR are AAAA. Basically top-of-the-foodchain in terms of budget and sales expectations.

I wouldn't put CDPR in the same league frankly. Cyberpunk was an attempt to get there, but ultimately it was a less than complete success. The Witcher 3 sold really well, but if we're being honest it was a major outlier (Witcher 2 did only 1.7m) that performed way above anyone's expectations. Meaning that there's not a certainty that a Witcher 4 would sell even better in the way that successive GTA entries have.


do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
AAAA isn't a thing.

We must beat this thing back into the hole it crawled from.
And we cant have a fixed price for AAA, because the cost of making games keeps going up.
Basically AAA just means an expensive game to make compared to most games.
An expensiver game to make is still AAA, so there is no tier above AAA.
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Phone reception is more important to me than human rights
OP I do appreciate you bringing it back to budget.

Cant remember how many hot takes I read about Returnal and comparing that game to Recore....


Neogaf and this thread in particular are going to be the deciding factor in how the world define "a"-"aaaa". If we as a collective agree to your proposition you will go down in history as the man to finally put this pressing issue to rest. Godspeed, sunshine. Best of look to ya. It's good to be discussing the important stuff on Neogaf again.


A = smaller indie games
AA = bigger projects like Halo
AAA = big budget productions,Assassin's Creed etc.
AAAA = super slick production values like TLoU Pt.2

(don't take the bait,lol)
Wouldn't A just be called indie and outside the grip of big publishers? AA mid tier and AAA big budget blockbuster? AAAA isn't a thing and I feel we all should treat the idea like the ramblings of a syphilis ridden brain.


As a general rule (exceptions exists), the more the budget the less risk you take.
That's why i like AA indie games, oftentime they try to compensate lack of production value with neat ideas. That's the spark of innovation we need, as good ideas often migrate to larger production later.
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hemo memo

Single A is not a thing and 4 AAAA also not a thing and also stupid. AA is rarely the case anymore with the nature of the industry but I will list it any:

Indie = small budget
AA = mid budget
AAA = big budget
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