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

Same ol G

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This started on PS360, games were taking too long and began costing too much (anybody remember FFXIII versus? Better known as FFXV nowadays)
That's why the Tomb Raider game which sold 5 mil wasn't enough to cover the costs for Square.
Now they have to do the GAAS to cover the cost with MTX and all of that crap, and we're getting incomplete buggy games on top of that.
This is also the reason GTA V keeps rereleasing, after all the development time they stuck in the game they are literally milking it for all that it's worth.
I think alot of developers forgot what makes gaming fun, instead they are all chasing the big money now.
 
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DenchDeckard

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Sorry I I'm not totally up on it but it the slip dpace engine built from the ground up from scratch or is it just a modified halo engine?

Because 6 years to completely make an engine plus ship a game isn't too bad.

I agree with a lot of what you're saying. Last of us 2 didn't need to be as long and should have shipped with multilayer. Ghosts of tsuahima and AC could be a lot shorter. I'd take more hones games with shorter length at like 40 to 50 dollars or on gamepass if it meant we had more experiences. Leave the rockstars of the world to do their thing and give me more games like returnal etc.

Studios needing 2000 employees etc to get a game out, including outsourcing is insane.
 
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Tschumi

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I... Your thread title doesn't seem to match your op... It seems like every game these days is an RPG so in that sense i disagree with your title and think the scope of games being made is already too narrow .. er but as far how long it is taking companies to make games i agree, i remember we were freaked out by how long half life 2 took, but that's thoroughly mid-length by today's standards, it seems
 

Dream-Knife

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Games take too long to make. This will continue to get worse until the industry implodes on itself.

All the real innovation is happening on the indie side, which is AAA of the 90s.
 

balls of snow

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Kinda agree. Really the best open world games are not the vast sprawling kind but smaller. Horizon Zero Dawn was the perfect type of open world, not so big that things get repeated to hell and back. 3 years for a sequel max.
 
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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)
Wow so mature and there's been plenty of games that have taken years to make even in the old days. SEGA took over 5 years for Shenmue and that was released incomplete, Polyphony Digital took 6 years with GT5 and that was released incomplete, The last Guardian took over 8 years and 2 generations, Zelda BOTW took over 6 years, the Mario Kart team has done nothing at all this gen (and you can hardly blame 4K for that) and yet you bring focus on HALO Infinite?
 
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Banjo64

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Love some AA and indie games at the moment. A Plague Tale is one of the best games I’ve played recently, can’t wait for the sequel. Ori 1 & 2, Hellblade I didn’t like but there is huge potential for the sequel with some additional MS funding. Hades is the bollocks. You can still have great gameplay and graphics without spending £100m on development.
 
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yurinka

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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.
Well, I've been hearing this 'lack of creativity' topic since the 8 bits age. The reality is that every year more games are published and now we have the biggest amount game types we ever had and there are more creative games than ever, but many of them can't afford, don't know how to be creative or simply don't want to be creative because most creative games tank in sales.

People buys what they already like, something they already know. Because human beings typically reject change and unknown things. So innovation in games must be with a few things or with smaller things while keeping a base of the game that is solid and proven with other games, or will fail hard in sales.
 
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WitchHunter

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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
Who is everybody? Didn't Cyberpunk 77 showed that the loudest ones are not the majority? Only big companies know who and how they consume their games. They have the numbers and until someone decides to publish that you can only assume how and what people are buying and on what basis.
 

Sub Boss

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Who is everybody? Didn't Cyberpunk 77 showed that the loudest ones are not the majority? Only big companies know who and how they consume their games. They have the numbers and until someone decides to publish that you can only assume how and what people are buying and on what basis.
Everyone on this forum lol
 
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brian0057

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I don't know, man.
People bitch and moan about Nintendo not sinking the average yearly GDP of Ukraine into every single hardware and/or software they make.

That being said, I agree with the fact that videogame budgets have gone insane.
This is why some of the most impressive games of the last 5 years have been indies.
 
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Zekra Dezivad

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You are looking at the wrong problem.
Games getting more and more big, open, long, non bc they want bigger games, but bc they want to claim that that's the next big thing that you absolutely can't miss. They need to get you "excited and engaged".
They know it's totally useless developing those infinite 150+ hours monsters, they know from statistics that almost nobody actually beat them. It's more about what they can claim to look like the best thing ever.
 

Torrent of Pork

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As studios go for this experiment of super long and costly AAA development cycles there are hundreds of smaller studios putting out incredible games.

The market will decide the winners and losers.
 
Feb 15, 2021
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I disagree I would would rather have one 30 hour game released every 3 to 4 years than three 10 hours games released in the same period.

I replay games I enjoy and I was burnt out on some of my favourite franchise’s from the 360 and ps3 era that released every 2 years like uncharted, gears, Arkham.

I think 3 to 4 years is the sweet spot between releases enough time to not burnout on franchise and get excited again.

I think the increase in digital sales has allowed budgets to increase naturally (without even discussing mircotransations etc) and will self correct eventually once digital growth stops.

Personally I am more excited about sequels of last gen games coming into this gen than I was for the ps3 to PS4 era.
 
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Fbh

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Just another aspect where From Software are best in the biz:
Memorable visuals through great art direction instead of "graphics", non crazy budget which means their games don't need to sell 10 million units to be a success, games stay in the 30-45 hours range instead of putting a ton of bloat, filler and repetition for the sake of some inflated runtime.
It has allowed them to release Bloodborne (+ awesome DLC), Dark Souls 3 (+awesome DLC), Sekiro and now close the gen (and kickstart the new one) with Elden Ring in the same time frame that other devs have made like 1 or 2 games.


I don't even know who really wants these super long and bloated games. Did anyone really want an 80 hours Assassins Creed?
 
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RJMacready73

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i understand 4k visuals take a long time, but maybe this could be remedied by
Making smaller scoped game

I was under the impression that when art assets are created they're usually at maximum fidelity and then scaled back for the games, i.e. 2 billion polygon chest armour is modelled up in Maya/3D studio whatnot by the artist and then handed over to the Devs who convert down to a few Hundred polygons... Is it not that we can now show so much more detailed worlds that the time is taken with the enormous amount of asset creation and set dressing that now takes place on a level?

I mean looking at the sheer insane wealth of detail in a naughty dog level where your character is just simply walking from one area to another must take an age and then to keep up that level of detail throughout a 30hr campaign must take years. When I cleared an area in TLOU2 or UC4 I took the time to walk around and admire the effort put in by all the art teams
 

Xeaker

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It's horrible. On PS1-PS2 there were constantly coming RPGs out, and today? L O L
 

Nico_D

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Personally I more often wish the AAA factory would put more emphasis on the game part of their products and not how it looks.

Reading reviews it seems more words are used to describe the latter than the former.

But I've been less and less AAA titles last few years so probably not my problem really.
 
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Umbasaborne

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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
I dont think fidelity should be reduced, but id be fine with smaller games. Meaning more games like miles morales or uncharted lost legacy. I think that would be a good trade off if they came out more offen
 
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ZywyPL

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David Jaffe also had this concept in his recent podcast, and have to say it makes so much more sense - 5-6 years, 100-200M budgets, 12-20h playtime, 70$, cut everything in half and you'll have a perfect formula.
 
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Huge 60+ hour open world games have kept me into gaming big time.
I'm honestly the exact opposite. I'm so fucking burnt out on open world slogs and I really wish studios would stop shoehorning their series into the open world formula. Sometimes all I want to do is sit down and play a 6-8 hour relatively linear (but not *too* linear) story. In the last 3 years I have played 8 games to completion...just 8...and the last 2 were in the last 2-3 months, before that I hadn't really played anything since the release of RE3make.

Resident Evil 2
Red Dead Redemption 2
Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman Arkham City
Batman Arkham Knight
Resident Evil 3
Superhot VR
Alien Isolation (in VR)
 

hemo memo

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Just another aspect where From Software are best in the biz:
Memorable visuals through great art direction instead of "graphics", non crazy budget which means their games don't need to sell 10 million units to be a success, games stay in the 30-45 hours range instead of putting a ton of bloat, filler and repetition for the sake of some inflated runtime.
It has allowed them to release Bloodborne (+ awesome DLC), Dark Souls 3 (+awesome DLC), Sekiro and now close the gen (and kickstart the new one) with Elden Ring in the same time frame that other devs have made like 1 or 2 games.


I don't even know who really wants these super long and bloated games. Did anyone really want an 80 hours Assassins Creed?
Yes I do. I would play a 80 hours Assassin’s Creed instead of any From title any day.
 
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AA and indie is where it's at.

You can't afford to have your £50-£100m game fail so have to play safe.

My favourite game recently was It Takes Two which I assume was AA as I can't see someone making a £100m game with forced co-op.
 

hemo memo

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Wouldn't you rather have 40 hours Assassin's Creed that's better paced, less bloated and less repetitive?
Of course. My answer is that I am sure I would enjoy a long Assassin’s Creed rather than playing a From game.
 

Umbasaborne

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This started on PS360, games were taking too long and began costing too much (anybody remember FFXIII versus? Better known as FFXV nowadays)
That's why the Tomb Raider game which sold 5 mil wasn't enough to cover the costs for Square.
Now they have to do the GAAS to cover the cost with MTX and all of that crap, and we're getting incomplete buggy games on top of that.
This is also the reason GTA V keeps rereleasing, after all the development time they stuck in the game they are literally milking it for all that it's worth.
I think alot of developers forgot what makes gaming fun, instead they are all chasing the big money now.
But on the ps360 bungie put out two and a half halo games, 343 made one as well. On the xbox one they made a single new halo release (mcc doesnt count) and have since taken 6 years to make a new one. Bungie was pumping them out every two to three years. Bioware put out their mass effect and dragon age games in rappid succession, now, if we are LUCKY. We will get one of each of those series this generation. Long gone are the days where i company like bioware can commit to getting out a full trilogy of new games within a 5 year time span, since it now takes 5 years to put a single new title out
 

Fbh

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Of course. My answer is that I am sure I would enjoy a long Assassin’s Creed rather than playing a From game.

I guess my point came across badly.
I'm not saying I don't get why someone would want Assassins Creed over a FROM Game. I'm just questioning how many people really thought that even more length and more bloat was what the franchises needed after Odyssey.
I really see no scenario where Valhalla would have been a worse game if they made it 40 hours instead of 80 and focused on making it less repetitive and better paced.


I don't more devs to be like FROM in the sense of making their games play like Dark Souls. It's more in the design philosophy of not having crazy budgets and limiting the size and scope. Focus on making your new games better or different instead of longer.
 
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Starfield

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Why should it be reduced? Just give developers better tools to be more efficient and more. fucking. TIME.
 
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David Jaffe also had this concept in his recent podcast, and have to say it makes so much more sense - 5-6 years, 100-200M budgets, 12-20h playtime, 70$, cut everything in half and you'll have a perfect formula.
I personally think this would backfire.

Short single player only games ( short for me is under 10 hours ) have topped out at around 5 to 10 million copies.

Halving the price would require doubling the sales which I think is unlikely.

Longer games have always sold better if you can hit your looking at around 10 to 30 million copies sold.
 

Kenpachii

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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.

Same here anything that's 20 hours long isn't even worth my time unless i got absolutely nothing else to do. I like long games, more AC games i am all for it.
 
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Kimahri

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It is a very rare thing that I playa new game that at no point starts to bore me. Games are just full of filler material and bloat. Too much content, too many things to hunt down, too complex levels, too many story beats the devs think they have to explore, while taking an axe to it would be the best option.

I stop playing before I reach the end because I'm done with the game before it's done.

This is te result of gamers whining about games being too short if they're under 10 hours long. 10 hours is the perfect length for most games. Cut the fucking hunt for idiotic collectibles, and many games would already be redused to a sensible length.
 
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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.
Yeah, this is me. I tend to be a glutton when it comes to gaming lol.
 

Lethal01

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It is a very rare thing that I playa new game that at no point starts to bore me. Games are just full of filler material and bloat. Too much content, too many things to hunt down, too complex levels, too many story beats the devs think they have to explore, while taking an axe to it would be the best option.

I stop playing before I reach the end because I'm done with the game before it's done.

This is te result of gamers whining about games being too short if they're under 10 hours long. 10 hours is the perfect length for most games. Cut the fucking hunt for idiotic collectibles, and many games would already be redused to a sensible length.
I'm the opposite, I wish the final fantasy remake could have been way longer and let me explore each plate, I wished BOTW had 5x more sidequests and puzzle. I want more complex levels and more bosses to fight.

AND ontop of that I want more games in the series, throw some side teams at it.
 
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Gamer79

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343 studios is too busy pushing their racial agenda instead of making a good product.
 

Rhazer Fusion

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In my own world.
m.youtube.com
I wouldn’t mind shorter games with smaller scopes. I don’t need every game to be 100+ hours filled to the brim with thousands of meaningless side-quests and content. Games are just getting too time consuming, complex and expensive for everything needing to be hundreds of hours with a $100 million budget.
 
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april6e

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I completely disagree. The larger a game, the more I get excited about the possibilities. I want to see even larger experiences that push the boundaries of immersion.

What you actually mean to say is, "the games I like are taking too long to come out". The vast majority of video games are still linear, sub 12hr experiences. So if that is your cup of tea, there is no end of games you could play like that. It's just that open world games are popular and are being focused on by the big devs studios for good reason as that is where the innovation is. Games like Skyrim and GTA V are what really changed the landscape of gaming by trying to expand what a typical game experience is, not reducing it.
 
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Heisenberg007

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While I agree with you to some extent, I also want to call this out.
During the ps3 eranaughty dog released 4 AAA games, last generation we got 2.5.
Naughty Dog did reduce the scope of their game (Lost Legacy) exactly as you're suggesting. However, now you just termed that full game as half a game (or 0.5). No offense, but that's hypocrisy.

If devs don't reduce the scope, we get (valid) complaints like this. If they do and make a relatively shorter game (completely on par with PS2/PS3 gen games in terms of length and content), we don't consider that game as a full game.

As long as that happens, why would developers reduce the scope of the game?
 

Arsic

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Ubisoft honestly is the best at AAA releases. You don't wait too long for a new AC, but just enough to want a new one. The AC is supported with post dlc content to get you back in a few months later.

Far Cry is similar too.

Watch Dogs is a bit of a miss for them but the support is there even with a mediocre game at launch.

As for OP, I am a bigger fan of sub 30 hour games. Quality over quantity. Disco Elysium took me about 30 and I loved every second of it. RE8 I beat several times and loved it. DMC5 too.

It's rare to to above 30 for me and stick with it.
 
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It's not just AAA games.

I'd be fine if scope was reduced assuming the rest of the game is improved a lot. Then add back content later. But it seems devs are happy with "bigger is better" and that is the selling point.

Out of all EA Sports games, NHL has to be the worst for improvements. The core game has been the same since the 360 days, they took off a year during last gen launch, released new XBO/PS4 games (which were basically the same anyway except for new clunky UI and FMV intros), but somehow they have enough time to add a million modes, mtx HUT packs, jersey and mascot tweaks and heritage classic/pond hockey shit into the game. One recent game even had NHL 94 Rewind mode.

Yet the core AI and gameplay is virtually the exact same since I'd say about NHL 10. Shitty. With the same AI cheats and extreme difficulty where All Star is cheat heavy and Vet is way too easy. Same issues since the 360/PS3 days.

It's like there's only 5 people who work on the game the past 10 years.
 
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