AAA Is Not The Way Forward Says Splinter Cell Director, 'aaa' Is.

And no, that is not a typo. According to Splinter Cell director Patrick Redding, the games industry is moving away from high production values towards systemic depth. In his words, we're moving from AAA to a "lower-class" (lower case) 'aaa' model.

"The market as a whole is going to undergo a critical shift in priorities," he said, as reported by Games Industry International, "a shift away from the absolute primacy of graphics and production values and content creation toward systemic depth. This trend is going to trigger a reality check for developers like me who work on established franchises with a large succession of sequels, and it's also going to be a call-to-arms for smaller game creators, including a number of people who are sitting in this room, I hope."

The example Redding used was Minecraft, which he claims is the best current example of a 'aaa' game: a user driven experience with systemic depth over production values, a game pushed forward by its own core audience. Innovation is the key here, and Redding believes that may be a problem for some studios, particularly since many current AAA development is driven by investment and dollars. It's easy to add the polish with the kind of production values more cash brings, but it's more difficult to come up with the million dollar idea.

Very interesting.

AAA not the future, says Splinter Cell: Blacklist director [Games Industry International]


    They got it all wrong, they need to be making bbb games so they can progress to ccc types. I heard eee games are very awesome.

      eeee games were awesome but the screen was too small

    Im liking the sound of this

      I'm... cautiously optimistic, to use Penny Arcade's famous phrase. I don't want every game to rely on users for content creation. Nice if it's there, but non-critical. Other than that, I'm happy with the idea that Redding espouses.

    So the core of the game has to be better instead of just the graphics. Has this not always been the case?

      It's always been an idea largely ignored (from an end user perspective) with a lot of games these days.

    Or there could just be a balance of the two (or more) styles rather than everyone piling on 'the next big thing'.

    Interesting? I'm just surprised it's taken these people so long to work out how to make a game.

    Well we're just about hitting a plateau when it comes to graphices and sound anyway. With 1080p the standard for at least the next 10 years (4x is coming but no one will provide medai at that level for a while yet). So the next logical step is to look at the other areas for improvement. It's clear that the gamer base is growing and becoming diversified with casual & hardcore blurred into an unrecognisable miasma that really just means that almost everyone likes game - we're just finally seeing games that appeal to almost anyone.

      Resolution is only one element of graphics and on that subject current gen games are often 720p upscaled to 1080p and never at 60fps. So next gen for one will make 1080p at 60fps the norm so thats an improvement. Lighting is the the area where the most change will take place with next gen gaming.

      There has never been an issue with having graphically intense games. Look at Uncharted, Final Fantasy (pre XIII) and more to see games that at there time were graphical behemoths and yet the core game was also fun. The issue tends to arise when certain publishers get their hands on a game mainly EA (MOH Warfighter).

      Hopefully as a few developers have said recently about next gen consoles being cheaper, easier and quicker to develop for. Will allow game development to go back to it's roots without super publishers buying every good studio and runing their games into the ground.

      I'm hoping next gen fixes the issues with the big game/ big profit mentality that is in the amrket atm. It makes non shooters doomed to become indy/small scale game productions and that is unacceptable.

        I honestly don't care about graphics anymore while upscaled 720p is the industry standard right now. Get the freaking games to work at my monitor's native resolution. Then you can worry about lighting and textures and all that other stuff.

    I'd rather an aaa game nothing worse than not being able to play new gameson PC became the graphics requirements are to high

    Yeah, i've never understood the whole "AAA" thing.... i mean. do we have "BBB" games, and if so, what would that be?

    Btw, does this make Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball a DD game?

    ...... i'll see myself out.

    Last edited 05/11/12 11:41 am

      I think you're underselling the size of Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball

    this is just to put off management who aren't gamers but see big $$ when COD launches every year or so as the benchmark for the industry. There is nothing of substance in this article.

    Every time a new Unreal engine is announced some marketing spin gets pushed out like "we're shifting the focus back to making quality content instead of wasting time developing tools" and "so its easier to tell deeper more engaging" or "inset random, less dev time more story time".

    Sadly when you have people paid to make comments on every little thing and people watching for said people scratching themselves every 5 minutes on twitter you have to rehash the same old stuff once in a while just like the queen wearing the same dress once every 11 years. Some people don't notice some do.

    Honestly, if the dev has the skill and budget why not focus on the graphics after the game is playing fine? If a dev has the skill, monies and man power then making an amazing game with good graphics is easily achievable, but in the case of what is being said here it feels like he is not only making excuses about his game perhaps not being the best on the market graphically because its "aaa" but that us as the consumer want the experience to be less than AAA like, say... Mobile games? It just makes it sound like they arent bothered to even try.

    So it's essentially..."It's not how you look, it's what's inside that counts." Nice thought, unfortunately we live in the real world where shallow first impressions is pretty much how it works and good looks will satisfy that human instant gratification urge all the time.

    I just did an essay on how pretty much anything in the mid-tier (below AAA but not like tiny casual games) pretty much collapsed and wasn't coming back. This guy was smart to point out Minecraft as the indie space is pretty much the only ting that will be able to fill that gap.

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