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[Polygon] You can’t make AAA games for just one platform anymore

Esppiral

Member
Yes you can.

Make them shorter, release them more frequently, and stop spending 500 million dollars to make them.

This (release on 1 platform) formula has worked for decades, it doesn't just stop working overnight - These publishers are just being greedy. Making billions isnt enough, making the same amount of money they made last year isnt enough - They have to make WAY MORE money than last year, or its a failure.
500m dollars of witch 300 goes to marketing.
 

Men_in_Boxes

Snake Oil Salesman
Make them shorter, release them more frequently, and stop spending 500 million dollars to make them.
The market has totally rejected shorter games.

People really need to stop saying this. As if these companies wouldn't love to produce shorter games and release more frequently....They aren't doing that because it doesn't work.
 

Fredrik

Member
Meanwhile proper exclusivity is why Nintendo is selling so many consoles and their games are selling so well even with no price drops.

And among the other two…
I don’t use my Series X, I use my PC.
I don’t use my PS5, I use my PC.
Maybe games are selling more but these platforms are getting irrelevant and I’ll likely think twice before I invest in a new one as long as I have a PC.

Meanwhile I’ll be there day 1 on a new Nintendo console.
 

UltimaKilo

Gold Member
Obviously this is true, but the market is not big enough to sustain these huge game budgets even with Microsoft and Sony going multi platform. Eventually, you hit saturation on console an PC.

Time for the industry to follow the Nintendo model.
 

Loomy

Thinks Microaggressions are Real
"wah wah wah we want AAA single player narrative driven games, not this GaaS shit!"

"Ok, we'll make you an epic! Top production value, 15-20 hours of gameplay, top of the line shit! Just give us 5-6 years"

"Wah Wah Wah games take too long to make!"

"Oh!, Okay. Here's Spiderman: Miles Morales! Made it in 2 years! Only about 8 hours long, still has AAA production value!"

"Wah Wah Wah, this game is too short. You're asking too much for it."

"Oh, our bad. Here's Spiderman 2! Only 5 years since Spiderman 1, and 3 years since Miles Morales. We made it quick fast!"

"Wah Wah Wah why is it basically the same game! Why does New York look the same"
 

mckmas8808

Banned
Yes you can.

Make them shorter, release them more frequently, and stop spending 500 million dollars to make them.

This (release on 1 platform) formula has worked for decades, it doesn't just stop working overnight
- These publishers are just being greedy. Making billions isnt enough, making the same amount of money they made last year isnt enough - They have to make WAY MORE money than last year, or its a failure.

Solution: reduce scope in areas like hyper-realistic graphical assets and instead focus on polished gameplay. Utilize smaller teams and invest in the individual developer’s career and skill set, and strive for long term employee retention. Keep games shorter and more focused.

For the cost of one Concord, Sony could have thrown 200 Balatros at the wall. Or 50 Hades. Or 20 Hi-Fi Rushes. Embrace the creativity of the individuals in your arsenal, create small and passionate teams, and let them fucking cook. This is why indies are eating AAA’s lunch.

And I’ll add on to this. Executives and publishers need to STOP making decisions on what games developers should make. That’s a guaranteed way to ensure your game ends up passionless and homogenized, and it almost never works out. If you want real quality and innovated, let your developers decide what games they want to create.

Do you guys remember Marvel’s Midnight Suns? That’s a Firaxis game. Firaxis consistently made absolute quality titles that sold insanely well over the last few decades. They almost never missed, both in terms of critical reception and sales figures. Games Civilization and XCOM were built out of passion and love, whereas Midnight Suns was thrust upon that same team by 2K to try and capitalize on the Marvel IP. And look what happened. Layoffs. (I only bring up this example because I have friends on that dev team, so I’ve heard first-hand about it.)

It’s depressing and annoying. Board members and executives almost never know better than the people actually doing the work (and that’s true for almost every industry, by the way), and game developers will continue to fail under their guidance and dictation. It’s a foundational problem, and it’s so frustrating.


How can the first two posts to the OP be smarter than 90% of execs at these Publishing companies?
 

ProtoByte

Gold Member
Stupid article. It always shocks me that people fail to remember that most 3rd party games do not sell the 15-25 million thay exclusives from successful manufacturers sell, all with the added cost of having to port to and support versions across multiple platforms, AND with 30% of sales revenue having to be paid to platform owners.

But then again, it's Polygon.

Make them shorter, release them more frequently, and stop spending 500 million dollars to make them.
Nobody's spending 500 million dollars on games.

More frequent releases = more devilish crunch and pressure on developer mental health. Lol

Solution: reduce scope in areas like hyper-realistic graphical assets and instead focus on polished gameplay. Utilize smaller teams and invest in the individual developer’s career and skill set, and strive for long term employee retention. Keep games shorter and more focused.
Focus on gameplay instead of chasing graphics. I appreciate good looking games, but it's really not necessary to waste your artists' time drawing the most realistic trees. Minimize bloat in games and just make a really good core experience. Games don't need to have 1000 side quests just so you can artificially lengthen the game to justify the $70 price tag.

People keep on making this mistake. Graphical fidelity and game length in themselves isn't why these games are getting expensive. It's a mixture of things that don't necessarily show up on the screen.

For example, Spider-Man 2. Very lean game. Little to no bloat to the point that they rushed the main story. Reused assets out the wazoo and only some small iterations from 2 prior iterations of systems and design. Not much of graphical bump above cross-gen Miles Morales.

300 million dollars. Why? Burbank office and corresponding wages/benefits expectations, development timeline, work licensing to the city of New York and 100 million in licensing to Marvel.

You actually hit on some of these points in your post AmuroChan AmuroChan , but it's worth reiterating that game development cost is just employees x average salary x time + licensing + marketing.

Getting good graphics is easier than ever. Hellblade 2 had 80 people working on it for what? 5 years? Even if it was seven, it's the highest graphical fidelity game out, and it'll be way cheaper than God of War Ragnarok.

Gameplay systems development is and will be a much harder, more time consuming and hence expensive endeavor than going after graphical fidelity.
 

mckmas8808

Banned
"wah wah wah we want AAA single player narrative driven games, not this GaaS shit!"

"Ok, we'll make you an epic! Top production value, 15-20 hours of gameplay, top of the line shit! Just give us 5-6 years"

"Wah Wah Wah games take too long to make!"

"Oh!, Okay. Here's Spiderman: Miles Morales! Made it in 2 years! Only about 8 hours long, still has AAA production value!"

"Wah Wah Wah, this game is too short. You're asking too much for it."

"Oh, our bad. Here's Spiderman 2! Only 5 years since Spiderman 1, and 3 years since Miles Morales. We made it quick fast!"

"Wah Wah Wah why is it basically the same game! Why does New York look the same"

Nothing but truth here. Gamers can be the biggest cry babies, just bouncing from one excuse to the next. I wish Publishers would stop reading what gamers say on Twitter so much.
 

HisExcellency

Neo Member
Nothing but truth here. Gamers can be the biggest cry babies, just bouncing from one excuse to the next. I wish Publishers would stop reading what gamers say on Twitter so much.
Luckily for us most developers ignore the vocal minority and watch the sells hit game after game. They made Spider-Man 2 (and MM) because everyone told them how much they liked the first one by buying it. Same with GoW and Horizon. All of these Sony first party games take a tremendous amount of money to make and still make even more back. They want to expand into the GaaS model because they want some of that Fortnite money. If even one of their GaaS games hits that's worth the other three or four attempts.

But yeah, Nintendo and Sony have no issue making games and putting them on a single platform. The model doesn't work when you don't put out good games, or you buy a publisher and therefore can't spend money on a AA studio because everything has to either be dirt cheap or CoD.
 

FunkMiller

Gold Member
A desperate attempt from a failing media outlet to cozy up to the games publishers to ensure continued access. Of course games can remain exclusive, but that’s harder, might make a bit less money, and requires better management.

Thats the last thing these lazy fuckers want to have to do. Much better to convince people exclusives don’t matter, and keep putting out slop on every platform.
 

Ribi

Member
Sorry, that was a lot of words before. Lemme try again.

REDUCE SCOPE. MAXIMIZE GAMEPLAY.
Why so we get the same boring fucking games every other week? The truth is we want expanded scope but we're too impatient.

What do you think makes GTA sell so much? That shit it's crazy in scope and it takes a decade to come out yet no one cries that it should stop being scoped up.

Same with BG3, massive game with crazy scope and it took its sweet time. No one complained when the game came out of early access to rave reviews. Where was the "fuck your scope" people?
 
Yes you can.

Make them shorter, release them more frequently, and stop spending 500 million dollars to make them.

This (release on 1 platform) formula has worked for decades, it doesn't just stop working overnight - These publishers are just being greedy. Making billions isnt enough, making the same amount of money they made last year isnt enough - They have to make WAY MORE money than last year, or its a failure.
This is the only real solution in my opinion.

Publishers should stop being greedy cunts and they should release shorter games more frequently. There was nothing wrong with 10-15 hour games that weren't open world. Open world is so fucking overdone at this point and the majority of those games are the same shit different publisher.

However, it's not going to happen and the industry is going to crash hard I imagine. It seems like smaller independent games are becoming more popular and review so much better than the AAA shite that gets pumped out.
 

Bernardougf

Gold Member
Nintendo has great exclusives - their consoles sells
Sony has great exclusives - their consoles sells
MS - ? ...

You get my point.

If you want to remain in the console business... exclusives are the only way. Always was, always will.

Now.. the companys have to make them sustainable by adjusting the scope and budget... creativity and gameplay are king. Time to review this open world bloated 40-60 hours graphics whoring extravaganza that AAA has become.
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
Ok, we'll make you an epic! Top production value, 15-20 hours of gameplay, top of the line shit! Just give us 5-6 years
Yeah that's the issue right there. Games in the past did not need 5-6 years for 20 hours of content
 

Schmendrick

Member
All the people in this thread crying about "too much scope in AAA" should stop a second and think about why we look forward to games like GTA.....
"Better, bigger, prettier" requires more time and budget and leaves no room for exclusivity? As a consumer I don`t see the problem for me.
 

Fabieter

Member
You totally can and also cam make it profitable but capitalism isn't about making profits its about maximising them.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
All the people in this thread crying about "too much scope in AAA" should stop a second and think about why we look forward to games like GTA.....
"Better, bigger, prettier" requires more time and budget and leaves no room for exclusivity? As a consumer I don`t see the problem for me.
We could be totally fine with one big publishers on the market making games like GTA and RDR2. We don't need every studio trying to follow their example and drowning themselves in mountains of debt that they then shove the cost onto us for.
 
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TGO

Hype Train conductor. Works harder than it steams.
With a few exceptions like COD & GTA what IP's sale the most and on how many platforms?
This maybe true for 3rd party but not much for 1st
 
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GymWolf

Gold Member
We could be totally fine with one big publishers on the market making games like GTA and RDR2. We don't need every studio trying to follow their example and drowning themselves in mountains of debt that they then shove the cost onto us for.
But nobody is following rockstar example...their games take almost 10 years to be made and with budgets that are 20x times higher than any other AAA, they are the only real AAAA studio.

I mean except for scam citizen :lollipop_grinning_sweat:
 
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Kokoloko85

Member
This narrative that people trying to push and shill Ms media has started since MS had gone 3rd party is so bs.

God of War Ragnarok and Spiderman 2 has sold 10+ million.

Xbox cant do exclusives anymore, Playstation has done more than fine in the last 11 years with AAA games
 
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64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
But nobody is following rockstar example...their games take almost 10 years to be made and with budgets that are 20x times higher than any other AAA, they are the only real AAAA studio.

I mean except for scam citizen :lollipop_grinning_sweat:
If not Rockstar then Naughty Dog and if not that than Larian. Potato potato.

Devs should make whatever game they want and not feel pressured to consistently revolutionize the industry with 500 mill budgets, over promoting and long hype cycles
 

Schmendrick

Member
We could be totally fine with one big publishers on the market making games like GTA and RDR2. We don't need every studio trying to follow their example and drowning themselves in mountains of debt that they then shove the cost onto us for.
Right.....all the big publishers should come together in some restaurant, laugh eat and then hold a democratic vote about who gets a shot at raking in billions next. Because that is exactly how the market works......
Also no one is shoving anything onto you. You get an offer that you can freely accept or refuse.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
If not Rockstar then Naughty Dog and if not that than Larian. Potato potato.

Devs should make whatever game they want and not feel pressured to consistently revolutionize the industry with 500 mill budgets, over promoting and long hype cycles
Maybe some of them like to make big ass games with big budgets...

Working on a big project should be something that make you proud (on paper).

I'm against turning single player devs into gaas devs like sony is doing, but i have nothing against big ass simgle player AAA with big budgets.
 
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Portugeezer

Member
Going to hear this narrative a lot over these next few months to soften the blow for when a big MS game is confirmed for PlayStation.
 

DrDamn

Member
Really odd that the only two options presented for "sums not adding up" is to charge more or increase potential audience. Reduce costs and not spend so much is a Nintendo exlcusive and not available to others.
 

Gaelyon

Member
Remember the Playstation leaks ? There's a slide where sony is experimenting with slicing the next spider man in 2 ou 3 shorter parts (with reduced price vs full price) to sell instead of one big game.
That's probably where it will go :

KUm8fwN.jpeg
 
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TrebleShot

Gold Member
They are right, its very old school to think you can have a walled garden and you cant access those games titles wherever you want, its just not viable in 2024 especially if cost to make games remains so high.
 
Probably true for most studios, assuming no moneyhatting is involved. There are exceptions, though. I'm sure BG3 didn't need consoles sales to turn a profit for Larian, for example.

Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo and their internal studios obviously play by different rules. If you're getting a cut from every game sold on your platform, regardless of whether you financed it or not, then you've got quite a bit of leeway when it comes to exclusivity.
 

KXVXII9X

Member
All the people in this thread crying about "too much scope in AAA" should stop a second and think about why we look forward to games like GTA.....
"Better, bigger, prettier" requires more time and budget and leaves no room for exclusivity? As a consumer I don`t see the problem for me.
The thrill of GTA for me is more with how alive the world feels and use of physics and AI. So much attention to detail. The scope of the world doesn't matter as much to me.
 

thefool

Member
Maybe, maybe not.
I look at Ragnarok and that game could be smaller, less fluff, more arenas, more customization, more modes and it would cost less and be a much better game and more replayable. Would that be enough for one platform? Im not sure, but it would certainly not cost 200M.
 

Rockman33

Member
Every time one of these articles is written I feel like it’s not the full story.

Making great exclusives can be the decision of which platform you get. Meaning even if the game in question doesn’t make a ton of money you are still getting a 30% cut of everything else purchased on the platform.
 
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