Cliff Bleszinski: 'I'll Never Make Another Disc-Based Game'

Cliff Bleszinski: 'I'll Never Make Another Disc-Based Game'

Interesting words from the man who designed Gears of War: "The whole 'old guard', where you get a Game Informer cover and an E3 reveal, is dead... I'll never make another disc-based game for the rest of my career, and [at E3] they're trying to woo buyers from Target and Walmart?"

At this point it's a common sentiment: the world of indie game development is packed with designers who exchanged the high-octane world of AAA gaming for freedom and flexibility, and all sorts of pundits have declared that consoles as we know them won't be around for many more decades. Still, it's fascinating to see this coming from Cliff Bleszinski, the guy who helped create one of last generation's biggest franchises. Is the world of traditional retail AAA games really dying?

Read the rest of Leigh Alexander's great interview with Bleszinski over on Gamasutra.

Picture: Deviantart


    But, I like buying discs >:

      You'd probably be one of the few, if consoles had a more competitive digital market like PC's I think it would signal the end of disc based media.

      I think the last disc based game I bought was The Last of Us and that was only because it was cheaper at retail then it was digital.

        But consoles barely have the room to maintain those games and if new games are going to be as high as 50gs that people are fearing then they will barely be able to hold 10 games at once.

        Also add to the fact that Australia internet is friggen lame. Like, in the time it takes for me to download a full game I can drive down to the store, buy it, return and start playing.

          Agree completely. Hell with the size of games on ps4 and Xbox one you can almost complete the game twice before the download would finish. Plus I like being able to see the physical copies looking nice on my shelf

            Also gives a better sense of ownership. You buy it on disc, it's yours. You can play it whenever you want.

            Digital? Eh, it's more like you're paying someone for permission to play their game.

              Breaks disc, has to rebuy disc. (I don't care if you yourself never have, there's plenty of people out there with kids for instance, who've had the dreaded gouge of doom on a dvd or bluray that can't be fixed...)

              Deletes download, can redownload game no worries.

              Each side has its positives and negatives. Personally I like both methods. The ONE factor that remains true though is when the servers go cold for downloadable games, your disc will still be there to play.

              The DLC though that's required for that disc is a different matter...

              Last edited 19/02/14 12:11 pm

                That is a good point. While it's true that I have never damaged a disc, there is the option for protection for a couple of extra bucks. Some might think it's lame, but I did have to use it once when during a LAN a friend borrowed my copy of Bad Company 2 to test out and when the pizzas arrived his console was in the way. At which point he decided to pick up his console to move while it was still running. All I heard was a rusty chainsaw.

                Maybe they should do what some people are doing with books and movies. Buying the disc gives you a download code to go with it.

                  I recently found after my purchase of a PS4 that I am quite on the fence about digital distribution. While I have had a lot of good experiences with it (taking 100% of my psp library to my vita without spending a dime extra), there are still some pretty important bad ones. It seems to be different from person to person, but this whole no backwards compatibility thing, the fact that my PS3 HDD died a while back (hadn't backed up saves/game data in over a year) or the fact that movies/tv shows bought on the PSN do not transfer over to PS4 left a really bad taste in my mouth.

                  I feel like both formats are very valid and will probably stick around for a fair while yet.

          Agreed, since the Xbox update I've learnt I was at 49% used of the 500GB HDD thats from 6 disc based games, 2 digital and the Titanfall beta.

          There is nothing wrong with Australian internet, I was able to download Assassin's Creed 4 (a total of about 25GB) on a 15Mb/s connection in about 4 hours. Considering I paid $35 for it and the cheapest at retail was about $50 (PC version, console versions were in the high 60's), I'm actually very pleased with my puchase and download speed.

          People need to stop being so damn impatient.

            There may be nothing wrong with your internet but some of us can't even get half that speed.
            And the point still stands. In those 4 hours you could have gone to the store, bought the game and been back and playing.
            Or, pick it up on the way home and play as soon as you get there. Rather then having to wait again.
            It's not necessarily about patience but time management. I don't have a lot of time to play games anymore. So when I do find the time I need to be get on it pretty quickly.
            Also there is still the issue of the size of games, data limits and console disk space.
            Especially with 4k growing in popularity.

            Well I only get about 6Mb/s with ADSL2. So that's over 8 hr to download for me. Plus I have a cap of of 50GB. That's only 1 game if I want to use my internet for anything else.

              I'm genuinely curious as to why you have such a low speed and cap. Is it because of technical limitations with your local exchange, or because you simply cannot afford a higher quality service either with your current ISP or a different one?

              I know my reply above was very opinionated and downright rude, but to say "Australian internet is shit" is simply false, good internet can be provided in Australia you just have to be willing to pay for it. I make no claim that all internet in Australia is good, but the fact is you can get 100Mb/s cable from Bigpond if your exchange supports it.

            4 hours? Damn that's slow. Also, very negative and condescending post dude. You should know better.

            It was quite a quick download for me, total time to download was 12 minutes.

            Congrats on having a 15 Mbps connection, I think our average is still less than 5 as a country.

            Wow. So many downvotes. I agree. I downloaded Titanfall Beta on the weekend, which is around 20Gb or so, in a few hours.

            Australia's internet isn't great, but in most places it is respectable enough to do digital downloads. The issue with australian internet and digital downloads is forward looking ,as the size of games continues to get larger, then there will be a bigger issue.

              If you live in a suburb built since Telstra was privatised then your Internet speed is likely to be slow

                Most suburbs in new areas (mainly the last 3-5 years) have some of the best access. A handful also got NBN straight up as new land releases.

                The issue is those in the 90's to early 2000's.

                Last edited 19/02/14 3:47 pm

            I download at 450k/s at best, and I've been disconnected twice in the ran today. How about you shut the fuck up.

            25gb is more than I get in a month.
            And don't say "then just upgrade" because I can't upgrade.
            The best internet where I live is wireless and the highest amount you can get is 15gb.

            Might be nothing wrong with your internet, but 25GB on my connection will take just over 74 hours, assuming no dropouts, and would make the connection unusable with anything else.
            So I don't think that not seeing that as a reasonable distibution model makes me impatient.

          Consoles could probably benefit from NAS storage integration. Your account dictates what games you're licensed to install, but you can download and store the games on NAS and then install them on-demand from the NAS to the console, kinda like how you keep your music library on your PC, and then transfer the ones you want to listen to at any given time to your portable media player.

            Totally read that as NSA storage and had an internal giggle...

            My PS3 can already do that!

            Its not entirely legal I'll grant you....

            Last edited 19/02/14 1:36 pm

        Not quite right, the digital market on console is going strong.

        It is purely the problem of digital pricing and internet connection that makes most gamers unwilling to release discs in favour of digital content.

        The last disc based game I bought was skyward sword. I would never go back to disc based games.

        Actually no he isn't one of the few. Many people prefer to buy physical copies. Didn't you take notice of the whole anti-DRM during XB1's announcement?

      Same, I like the cover art on a case, i like the art on the disc, I enjoyed reading the manuals, I like the extra goodies in special editions, you just don't get the same feeling when you buy a digital copy. Furthermore cliff has become such a dick lately so i wouldn't buy his "games" anyway.

      Always wondered what would happen if Cliff and John Carmack teamed up. Without out doubt two of the greatest FPS makers in the history of FPS.

    If consoles had terabytes of storage and internet was fast and quota free then I'd go completely digital. As it is I think the biggest laptop drive you can get is 1.5TB so that's the biggest you can get for PS4 which is still limiting given the size of games. Nintendo allow you to plug in giant USB drives but I'm not buying their big titles digitally until they fix their account system.

    I'm completely digital on PC because of steam (which I get quota free and just leave stuff downloading overnight) but for consoles I'll still buy discs.

      I just wish they'd unlock the external storage limit on the 360 - I have an old phat model with a 60GB HDD and another 32GB stick perrenially plugged in - it would probably take another 2 USB drives to house all the games I've bought digitally over the years yet M$ no longer sell the old hard drives and cap the ext drives at 32GB :(

    I'll always prefer disc based games, mainly because with digital, you never know when they may disappear due to license expiration, service shutdown, internet bandwidth, storage considerations, etc. Discs forever!

    Last edited 19/02/14 12:24 pm

      *Discs until the optical drive keeps working!

      FTFY ;-)

        "Stops" working.

        FTFY ;)

          lol, herpaderp....

          I think my brain switched from one sentence to another midway through typing that out.

    The interview was a good read.
    The context for the quote - to sum it up in one line, he wants to be the next Notch. Minecraft style iterative release, word of mouth popularity. Interesting philosophy.

      Yeah, the rest of the article is actually way more interesting than the topic of the quote used in the headline.

      It's an interesting philosophy but I think lately a lot of AAA developers are falling into the trap of seeing Indy games as taking them back to roots they're seeing through rose coloured glasses. They see guys working from their basements, with a small team of friends, free from all the parts of development they don't like and gloss over all the negative parts that come with it.
      I mean the reality is that when you start working super small and intimate you have to sell your game through word of mouth. Cliff Bleszinski will be able to bring in some free publicity but aside from that getting your game through to even a small audience becomes a full time job. You suddenly rely on publicity that's completely out of your control. You don't lose theoretical money when the game fails to gain traction, you lose money you were depending on to pay the bills.
      It's got a whole mid-life crisis for AAA designers vibe to it. =P

        That's the other thing addressed too - he's mentioned that he's already got a sufficient nest egg stashed, so he doesn't have to keep creating. He'd be doing this because he wants to. I'm guessing a lot of indie devs (or all walks of devs for that matter) would love to be able to work under those sorts of conditions.

    The disc based game will soon become obselete. And when it does - Piracy will be massively curbed, and developers will be able to make more of the games they want.

    What is this, the 90s? Why not both? There's nothing difficult about providing your games on disc and then allowing that game to be applied as a digital purchase to your account for redownloading later.

    I'm so sick of companies not giving us options when it's that easy to do.

      Because it actually do cost alot to get the printed in physical. I've seen quite a lot of japanese publishers are afraid to localize titles in the west due to the cost of printing the physical and some decided to do digital only as the sales wasn't as good.

      Imagine the cost of print physical copies is $10000, even if the sales is $10000 it will only be enough to cover the cost of the printing. Digital on the other hand, the $10000 that was not used for printing can be put on for worker salary or get more resources to make a sequel.

        I wasn't debating the cost, only the demand and avenue. IMO too many devs/pubs pretend that the digital and physical forms of their games are mutually exclusive, like if they make one then they can't make the other. That's bullshit. Cliffy B is blowing smoke, he can make downloadable games if he want's to but there's nothing stopping him or whoever he works for from providing a physical version that can very easily provide the exact same experience.

          I think you are not understanding my point. I gave an example of why he would choose digital only. Nothing wrong with trying to save cost and save the trouble of distribution of physical goods.

          If you go physical you will definitely have digital but if you go digital only there will not be physical until they have profit enough to print some physical.

          Look at the indie titles. You see them do really well digitally and they will release physically such as Terraria, Limbo, Monaco and a few others.

            I understand your point completely, and it is a good explanation for his actions. However, I stand by my point that no matter the reason, it doesn't require such hyperbole as "I'll never make a disc-based game again." As far as I'm concerned, no dev ever needs to, and never should say this.

              True that for a person like Cliff, he should not declare such a thing. A person from a multi million dollar franchise decided to skimp on his next game does sound quite ridiculous.

              Maybe he is indirectly saying it will not be a blockbuster and do not put too much hope to it :P

    Should be both. I get digital titles when they are cheaper. But ill usually buy the disc if its a new release. YOU CAN TRADE IT. I havent paid money for a new game disc for over a year. Just been trading.

    Cliffy B, nobody cares what you have to say.

    Seriously, you went from creating one of Microsofts best IP's, to be an outcast of the gaming industry, you sit around and make outlandish remarks because you think people will pay attention to what you have to say, but we don't, we don't care.


    What he said about the old way of a Gameinformer cover and E3 reveal being over...... Destiny would have something to say about that.......

    Maybe he is sour because Bungie has successfully created two amazing new IP's since his time, and his IP turned to crap.

    Why not USB digital copies? Buy the USB from a store, receive an email with a password to unlock said USB and install to console. I know that would be annoying but they would be getting rural gamers and those with limited downloads on board because of internet download caps and ease of use. If they released the drives in a smaller version of a game box, that could be something to sit on the shelf.

    The password system would lock into the Gamertag of the person installing it so that they can stop distribution between different gamers.

    The downside would be the added price of the Flash drive on top of the game.

    Last edited 19/02/14 11:10 pm

    Here's a good example, just a little sample...(how I could just.....) I'll leave that song i your head now.

    I told my brother i bought Tomb Raider, he thought "Great, I'll borrow that when you're done."
    Me " you won't I bought it digitally"

    Brother "you dick"

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