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Opinion Why do we need so many devs? Valheim Was Made By 5 People And Sold Nearly 7 Million Copies

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
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Back in the early days of 3D gaming, developers would have to create everything from scratch including all of their game development tools and the 3D engine. For example, the Half-Life 2 team consisted of 82 people and that included a brand new game engine and breakthrough physics technology.

Nowadays, your run of the mill triple A game has a staff of 300 plus people and they take years and years to come out with their iterative sequel. If most game developers can just use unreal engine, what's the real need for all those game developers complaining, unionizing, and shitting on their consumer base?
Honestly we could probably avoid $70 games by publishers taking a good hard look at their workforce and getting rid of the mouthbreathers who can barely write lines of code, bankrupting the company.
 
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Cravis

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If You Say So Reaction GIF by Identity
 

SkylineRKR

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You're confusing me with someone else - I don't care about crunch.

People demand experiences like Uncharted, RE Village, Final Fantasy and GTA. Do you think those games will ship within a reasonable timeframe with only a handful of people working on it? Or do you want every game to be indie like? Workforce increased for a reason, not because they're all dumb fucks who can't write code.
 

TheDreadBaron

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Oct 27, 2019
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I think there's some truth in what you say, as far as those huge AAA teams having some inefficiencies. That is what is required to produce a AAA game, but it's not very efficient.

I think you just don't like AAA games focus on polish instead of substance or new ideas and I agree.

All these types of games and different sized development teams have a place in the market, but yeah the indie side is where the really scrappy creative stuff is going to happen, that's just the tradeoff between the two.
 

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
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People demand experiences like Uncharted, RE Village, Final Fantasy and GTA. Do you think those games will ship within a reasonable timeframe with only a handful of people working on it? Or do you want every game to be indie like? Workforce increased for a reason, not because they're all dumb fucks who can't write code.

If you want every game to be some barebones sandbox sure I guess we can just have 5 man studios
look to the past. You just make narrower scope games and you can toss some sort of stupid rng thing like returnal (which shouldn't have been so expensive, anyway).
 

Stuart360

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Valheim has no missions, no voice acting, bad graphics (yes it has some pretty lighting effects, but the assets suck balls), procedural world, etc.
If you want a handcrafted world with stuff to find and explore, proper handcrafted missions, voice acting, good graphics, etc, well thats why AAA games are so expensive.
Also these kind of games are super popular on PC, even the shit ones tend to sell pretty well.

Give these 5 devs a 100mil budget and ask them to make a game as good looking and scale as say something like Odyssey or Valhalla, and then see how long it takes them.
 
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Jan 16, 2020
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look to the past. You just make narrower scope games and you can toss some sort of stupid rng thing like returnal (which shouldn't have been so expensive, anyway).

There are plenty of shit indie games still being made that you can drown yourself in

Just ignore the AAA if you don't like it
 
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ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
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There are plenty of shit indie games still being made that you can drown yourself in

Just ignore the AAA if you don't like it
Or I can create a topic on a message board and explore the idea of reducing the 300+ person workforce that is pumping out the same style of games for the past generation.
Maybe shoot for 100 people?
For an easier option, they can once again swipe ideas from the past for level design, quest design, and cutscene inspiration. Even I, a complete lackwit, can open up unreal engine and make some platforms for a character to run through. I'm assuming seasoned devs can do much better, much quicker with tools they probably already use.
This wouldn't have been possible 10-15 years ago.
 
Jan 16, 2020
5,654
21,625
855
Or I can create a topic on a message board and explore the idea of reducing the 300+ person workforce that is pumping out the same style of games for the past generation.
Maybe shoot for 100 people?
For an easier option, they can once again swipe ideas from the past for level design, quest design, and cutscene inspiration. Even I, a complete lackwit, can open up unreal engine and make some platforms for a character to run through. I'm assuming seasoned devs can do much better, much quicker with tools they probably already use.
This wouldn't have been possible 10-15 years ago.

Probably could have picked a better example other than Valheim
 

LRKD

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Nov 11, 2020
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We really don't, I think an ideal game dev team size ranges from around 25-100. A smaller team means each member of the team is a more important part of the team, with more influence on the games outcome. And they won't have the budget to focus on AAA graphics and advertising. Meaning if they want there game to sell they'll either need a gimmick, a miracle, or to do what devs used to do all the time, release a fun game.

Plenty of games sell without AAA graphics, Valheim, Phasmaphobia, both look like shit. Pretty much all of Nintendo's games go for stylization instead of intense graphics. If games focused less on realistic ground breaking graphics, it'd cut the dev team by a decent margin, and give more focused to other areas of the game. Plenty of people will attack this saying consumers only want pretty games, but that clearly isn't true when stuff like Valheim is out there. Plenty of people would rather have a fun game then a pretty game.

I do think both Phasmophobia, and Valheim have too small of teams though. If they both upped their teams to 10-25 they could get so much more done, then they are doing. As well as doing it so much faster.

A large 300 man team ends up just being a bullet point lists of pretty graphics, action, story, crafting, open world game with light rpgs elements. Like Uncharted, tLoU, Assassin Creed, all these AAA games that play and look the same 90% of the time. So I guess if you only enjoy the modern day AAA games that release now, you'll disagree and defend your pretty graphics bloatware, and that's fine. But not everyone wants that.
 

Foorbits

Member
Nov 14, 2008
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Back in the early days of 3D gaming developers would have to create everything from scratch including all of their game development tools and the 3D engine. For example the Half-Life 2 team consisted of 82 people and that included a brand new game engine and breakthrough physics technology.

Nowadays you're run of the mill triple A game has a staff of 300 plus people and they take years and years to come out with their iterative sequel. If most game developers can just use unreal engine, what's the real need for all those game developers complaining, unionizing, and shitting on their consumer base?
Honestly we could probably avoid $70 games by publishers taking a good hard look at their workforce and getting rid of the mouthbreathers who can barely write lines of code.
slap gtfo GIF
 
Mar 17, 2020
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Valheim is nice but also lacks content.
This game has been out for over 3.5 Months and they still didn't add any additional content - maybe working with such a small team ain't that good?
 

ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
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Some of us like games with actual content. Not sure why Twitch decided to blow up yet another resource gathering game but selling a lot of copies doesn't indicate that a game is any good.
What if I told you most of the classic masterpieces, 2d and 3d had less people on their team than almost any mainstream game that has come out in the past 10 years? Even the Morrowind team had only 40 people. Hardly a small game with no story or voice acting.
 

Ezquimacore

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Jan 8, 2021
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We really don't, I think an ideal game dev team size ranges from around 25-100. A smaller team means each member of the team is a more important part of the team, with more influence on the games outcome. And they won't have the budget to focus on AAA graphics and advertising. Meaning if they want there game to sell they'll either need a gimmick, a miracle, or to do what devs used to do all the time, release a fun game.

Plenty of games sell without AAA graphics, Valheim, Phasmaphobia, both look like shit. Pretty much all of Nintendo's games go for stylization instead of intense graphics. If games focused less on realistic ground breaking graphics, it'd cut the dev team by a decent margin, and give more focused to other areas of the game. Plenty of people will attack this saying consumers only want pretty games, but that clearly isn't true when stuff like Valheim is out there. Plenty of people would rather have a fun game then a pretty game.

I do think both Phasmophobia, and Valheim have too small of teams though. If they both upped their teams to 10-25 they could get so much more done, then they are doing. As well as doing it so much faster.

A large 300 man team ends up just being a bullet point lists of pretty graphics, action, story, crafting, open world game with light rpgs elements. Like Uncharted, tLoU, Assassin Creed, all these AAA games that play and look the same 90% of the time. So I guess if you only enjoy the modern day AAA games that release now, you'll disagree and defend your pretty graphics bloatware, and that's fine. But not everyone wants that.
Not everyone wants that and that's why we have a million snes looking games on steam. They need developers because just Ellie, drake or eivor have more animations and variables than an entire indie game. Plus they need to deal with motion capture, skeleton tech and different 3d environments. So developers are the to enhance the technical aspect not the creative aspect.
 
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vivftp

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OP what was the last game you put out? What experience and knowledge do you have in terms of what it actually takes to put out a game on any level and all the roles involved? I don't have any experience myself but you're conveying the impression that you do so I'm curious. Do you look at the credits for a game like TLOU2 or RDR2 or God of War and think to yourself that 95% of these people weren't needed to create this game? Or do you think those games just weren't needed at all and instead they should've made something simpler with smaller teams?
 

GuinGuin

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What if I told you most of the classic masterpieces, 2d and 3d had less people on their team than almost any mainstream game that has come out in the past 10 years? Even the Morrowind team had only 40 people. Hardly a small game with no story or voice acting.

Because they were small and ugly with poor or no animations. If you could make a blockbuster with a team of 40 don't you think they would? Modern expectations have evolved.
 
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Or I can create a topic on a message board and explore the idea of reducing the 300+ person workforce that is pumping out the same style of games for the past generation.
Maybe shoot for 100 people?
For an easier option, they can once again swipe ideas from the past for level design, quest design, and cutscene inspiration. Even I, a complete lackwit, can open up unreal engine and make some platforms for a character to run through. I'm assuming seasoned devs can do much better, much quicker with tools they probably already use.
This wouldn't have been possible 10-15 years ago.
Ah yes, the good ol' copy paste design. Ship it!
 

Yoboman

Member
Sep 17, 2005
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The original Doom was made by 5 people

It has been 5 console generations since then so you should only need 5 x 5 = 25 people for a game like Doom Eternal

It’s just simple math these devs are so stupid and are somehow stealing our tax dollars
 

TonyK

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Aug 13, 2020
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I can't play with graphics like Valheim so I prefer the less innovative but prettier Assassin's Creed Valhalla. I want AAAA graphics, not indie games. Luckily, we live in a time where both markets can coexist.
 

Kimahri

Member
Jul 27, 2020
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Back in the early days of 3D gaming developers would have to create everything from scratch including all of their game development tools and the 3D engine. For example the Half-Life 2 team consisted of 82 people and that included a brand new game engine and breakthrough physics technology.

Nowadays you're run of the mill triple A game has a staff of 300 plus people and they take years and years to come out with their iterative sequel. If most game developers can just use unreal engine, what's the real need for all those game developers complaining, unionizing, and shitting on their consumer base?
Honestly we could probably avoid $70 games by publishers taking a good hard look at their workforce and getting rid of the mouthbreathers who can barely write lines of code.
Instead of being angry at the people doing a profession, how about learning about what that profession actually entails first? Even just a tiny little bit of knowledge could help you not embarrass yourself like this.
 
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ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
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Because they were small and ugly with poor or no animations. If you could make a blockbuster with a team of 40 don't you think they would? Modern expectations have evolved.
That game is 20 years old, most 20 year old games are kinda ugly. Imagine if they had modern day tools. It would look, run, and be easier to debug than what they worked with. You're arguing modern tools and know how would slow developers down.
 
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RoboFu

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There’s a whole ecosystem of consultants and contract companies that intentionally bloat projects based on the lie that the more people you have the faster it will get done.

basically dependancies do not care how many people you have waiting.
 

GuinGuin

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That game is 20 years old, most 20 year old games are kinda ugly. Imagine if they had modern day tools. It would look, run, and be easier to debug than what they worked with. You're arguing modern tools and know how would slow developers down.

No I'm arguing that for a game to look and run up to modern expectations requires far more work than games did in the past.
 
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CamHostage

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Why five people even? There are games made by "just one guy."


Why even one guy? AI starting to learn to make video games or build levels for existing video games all on its own.

 
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LRKD

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Not everyone wants that and that's why we have a million snes looking games on steam. They need developers because just Ellie, drake or eivor have more animations and variables than an entire indie game. Plus they need to deal with motion capture, skeleton tech and different 3d environments. So developers are the to enhance the technical aspect not the creative aspect.
Dishonored was done by 150 people, a little bit larger then my posted number. Motion capture? Check. Different 3D environments? Check. More animations and Variables then some 32 bit inspired trash hentai game on steam? Check.

It's graphics are no the last of us, don't get me wrong. Visually it doesn't stand a chance. But smaller teams can still pull out really good games that aren't just shitty 32 bit inspired games, or what might as well be a tech demo like Phasmophobia. Denying that is silly, and I'm not denying that AAA bloatware games will do some crazy shit, like RDR2 had like fully realistic horse dicks or something? Nice, I guess? They have there place in gaming, and can do some amazing things. But there is far more room in the industry for games that are more then 1 man projects, and less then 300 people.

I'm not really for the large majority of indie games, that's why I listed what I considered an ideal team, as going as high as about 100 people. Far larger then what most people think of when they hear the words indie game. I prefer something more in the realm of AA games. Indies, AAs, and AAAs all have there place in gaming. However AA's really don't exist for the most part anymore, they pretty much got completely wiped out during the 7th gen consoles, which is a damn shame.
 

Tutomos

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One example is the exception, not the rule. Maybe in 30 years, you can have AI do much of the work, but the market wants different kinds of games that are made by different sizes of teams.
 

Optimus Lime

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Yes, OP. I too yearn for the day when the entire gaming industry is indie survival games on Steam that are promoted by streamers and played by 12-20 year olds with nothing better to do. What a glorious, perfect paradise that would be. A tree-punching paradise.
 
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SaturnSaturn

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Because 99% of you only care about "better graphixxxx" in turn you have killed off any A and AA games, every studio now has to make high fidelity blockbusters and takes no chances, its not like the ps2 gen where you could experiment and a five man team could make a commercial hit. (the nintendo switch is the exception here) i would rather we use todays hardware for ps2 like graphics and some insane game world shit, you could fill it up with anything if you just went lower poly on models and gave zero fucks about high fidelity.

Also Indie devs are the only one in this industry now that actually likes and cares about game, thus they are fun. 70-80% of "new" people in the industry (in aaa studios and journalism) are people who have no where else to go and they dont even like games, they are not technicaly gifted and diversity hires, and washed up hacks that couldnt cut it in hollywood as a director or writer, so they are angrily destined to work on games. or use it as a tool to lecture people with a agenda (this applies to the western branch of games) Videogame crash incomming in a few years.
 
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ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
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Yes, OP. I too yearn for the day when the entire gaming industry is indie survival games on Steam that are promoted by streamers and played by 12-20 year olds with nothing better to do. What a glorious, perfect paradise that would be. A tree-punching paradise.
...... Minecraft has hundreds of people working on it. You guys claim to be hardcore gamers and barely know about the people, conditions and history on which games were made. Dig a little and I might not sound so crazy
 
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Optimus Lime

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...... Minecraft has hundreds of people working on it. You guys claim to be hardcore gamers and barely know about the people, conditions and history on which games were made. Dig a little and I might not sound so crazy
You're comparing Minecraft, the originator of the genre, a pop cultural phenomenon, and a game that at this point is far, far, far more than a tree-punching sandbox, to Valheim - an indie flavour of the month on Steam from your ridiculous original post?

I just did some digging, and I had no idea that Minecraft was originally a one-man production by that 'Notch' dude! Crazy!! I always thought it was made by 100 people at a big studio! That's nuts!!!!!

You're right. You are clearly a 'hardcore gamer', and I should bow to your hardcore gamer opinions, since you have such powerful knowledge about the people, conditions, and history on which games were made.
 
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ItsTheNew

I believe any game made before 1997 is "essentially cave man art."
Mar 26, 2013
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You're comparing Minecraft, the originator of the genre, a pop cultural phenomenon, and a game that at this point is far, far, far more than a tree-punching sandbox, to Valheim - an indie flavour of the month on Steam from your ridiculous original post?

I just did some digging, and I had no idea that Minecraft was originally a one-man production by that 'Notch' dude! Crazy!! I always thought it was made by 100 people at a big studio! That's nuts!!!!!

You're right. You are clearly a 'hardcore gamer', and I should bow to your hardcore gamer opinions, since you have such powerful knowledge about the people, conditions, and history on which games were made.
Yep one person made the phenom, and now it has bloat. Thanks for proving my point 😂
 

Optimus Lime

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Yep one person made the phenom, and now it has bloat. Thanks for proving my point 😂
I didn't 'prove your point', unless your point was 'my thread backfired horribly, and now I'm desperately trying to look like less of a moron by saying idiotic things and proclaiming how hardcore I am'.

Minecraft doesn't 'have bloat'. It was the originator of a genre, that has been used for an insane number of applications in gaming and non-gaming spaces.

Valheim is a FOTM indie game on Steam that became disproportionately huge due to gross streamer culture and dumbasses like yourself.
 

The Alien

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Glad to see we cherry picking this specific, successful example being held up as the typical expectation for video game development.
 

LRKD

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One example is the exception, not the rule. Maybe in 30 years, you can have AI do much of the work, but the market wants different kinds of games that are made by different sizes of teams.
Phasmophobia: 1 guy great launch?
Fall Guys: 30 people great launch?
Valheim: 5 guys 7 million copies
Sus Game: 3 guys, i don't know or care how much it made.

That is like 4 in a single year? I think it's a little more then an exception. It's no rule either. There might be even more then that idk, I don't keep up with all the latest trends while I'm living under my rock.


Yes, OP. I too yearn for the day when the entire gaming industry is indie survival games on Steam that are promoted by streamers and played by 12-20 year olds with nothing better to do. What a glorious, perfect paradise that would be. A tree-punching paradise.
Yes, commenter. I too year for the day when the entire gaming industry is AAA action-story games with crafting and light rpg mechanics on PlayStation that are promoted by nonstop marketing and played by 12-20 year olds with nothing better to do. What a glorious, perfect paradise that would be. A crafting paradise.

I'm actually quite sick of Ark, Conan, Valheim, Minecraft, 7 days to die, and all the other games of this genre. They are a dollar a dozen. But op isn't saying every game should play exactly like valehim, and be a 5 person team. Don't be stupid. Like Little Witch Nobeta is a Souls esque game being made by? I heard some where it was a small number, my google-fu has failed me today, cuz I can't find any exact numbers. But it's got to be a small team making it. Small team doesn't mean you will only get one type of game for the rest of forever. Just like AAA team doesn't mean we will only get The Last of Us forever, there are racing games, fps, and plenty of other games in the AAA. Indie games have varying quality, and genres just like AAA.

...... Minecraft has hundreds of people working on it. You guys claim to be hardcore gamers and barely know about the people, conditions and history on which games were made. Dig a little and I might not sound so crazy
Minecraft is interesting, because it started out as a small indie team. Then became a AAA game, and despite having MicroBucks backing it, and now a much larger team. They still struggle to put out a single update every year. They have gotta be some of the worst devs of all time, right along with GameFreak lol.


a game that at this point is far, far, far more than a tree-punching sandbox
I genuinely laughed. Yus now I can punch trees and tame bees YUSSSS. The game went from small sandbox, to bigger sandbox you can't be serious.

Valheim is literally right there with Minecraft, you can't act like Minecraft is so much higher and mightier then Valheim. They are cut from the same cloth.
 
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Optimus Lime

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I genuinely laughed. Yus now I can punch trees and tame bees YUSSSS. The game went from small sandbox, to bigger sandbox you can't be serious.
If that's what you think, then you clearly have absolute and total ignorance of Minecraft's modding and PvP scenes. Minecraft is so, so, so much more than what you're describing at this point - unless you're the kind of retard who's only experience of the game is Bedrock.

I genuinely laughed. The ignorance is just palpable.