Amy Henning: Single Player games are not sustainable at their current price

So the person responsible for creating one of the best single player series in gaming, (Not Uncharted) which is Legacy of Kain, Amy Henning gave a rather interesting statement regarding single player games.

"Developing single-player games has not gotten easier. In fact, Hennig said that "the traditional ways we've done that are getting harder and harder to support." The problem is how the games industry can keep making single-player games "when they're getting prohibitively expensive." She continued by saying that: "We don't want to break the single-player experience, but there's pressure to provide more and more at the same price point games have always been."

http://www.gamerevolution.com/news/404455-amy-hennig-single-player-games-are-not-sustainable-at-current-price-points

While she is indeed right, gaming development isn't getting any cheaper, I do disagree with the notion that single player games can't be supported at reasonable price points.

Hellblade: Senua's sacrifice is a good example, that game broke even and made a profit for Ninja Theory with little marketing and at 30 dollars, it offers a 8-10 hours worth of content.

The Witcher 3, which is one of my favorite games of all time, sold 10s of millions and it's an open world single player game. That game was made on a very lower budget for your typical open world game, although this is probrably because it was cheaper to make in Poland then say the U.S.

I think the issue here is how you properly budget a game, how much money and resources you pulled into it's development and marketing, as marketing takes a huge chunk of a game's budget.

She isn't wrong, but I do disagree that single player games aren't sustainable if they're not staffed and budgeted right.

Hey, throwing it out there, maybe gaming can learn some fucking self control when it comes to spending money? Lara Croft's hair has individually animated strands and the MGSV horse shits in real time? You know who asked for that? NO ONE! I know we all are bombarded with the narrative that gamers are obsessed with graphics, but considering the successes of indie games and the fact that games like Yakuza can have graphics that aren't breaking processors and still look good enough for people to be happy, maybe we shouldn't be turning gaming into a sunk cost fallacy where you just keep pouring more and more fucking money into it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to waiting for Octopath Traveler, a single player JRPG made with the Unreal engine that will probably give me 60-80 hours of content that Square Enix of all people managed to make, charging 40 dollars for it, twenty below standard gaming price, and with no paid DLC. Last I heard, Square Enix didn't acquire the Infinity Gauntlet recently, so maybe they just did the insane and gave the game a well measured budget, shock of all fucking shocks. Probably helps that they didn't blow millions of dollars on marketing that probably wouldn't have changed that much.

The AAA should be a little more frugal in the graphics department (I mean, in the interview she's talking about short games like Uncharted FFS!).

Sounds like another video game dev trying to convince us that microtransactions are "necessary".

Haven't we proven already that single player games do just fine?

Hell in the last year we've gotten:

Horizon: Zero Dawn
Persona 5
God of War
Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice
Resident Evil 7

Before that we got the Witcher 3, which not only was single player only but also had NO DRM. Yet it still made tons of cash.

So what is really her point? A shitty single player isn't going to work obviously. You couldn't package that shit they called single player from BattleFront 2 and expect to make your money back.

A good single player experience will make plenty of money back. Stop trying to bullshit us game industry.

erttheking:
Hey, throwing it out there, maybe gaming can learn some fucking self control when it comes to spending money? Lara Croft's hair has individually animated strands and the MGSV horse shits in real time? You know who asked for that? NO ONE! I know we all are bombarded with the narrative that gamers are obsessed with graphics, but considering the successes of indie games and the fact that games like Yakuza can have graphics that aren't breaking processors and still look good enough for people to be happy, maybe we shouldn't be turning gaming into a sunk cost fallacy where you just keep pouring more and more fucking money into it.

Well, how expensive is the next Tomb Raider actually going to be? I ask this because recent graphics heavy games, like Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War, were only 40 - 50 million dollars to produce. Which is still a lot of money, but nowhere near the amount you might expect with all the doom and gloom about AAA budgets ballooning out of control. Marketing is a whole other question though, but then I don't remember either of those two titles getting a ludicrous amount of exposure.

Honestly, I think the cost for these types of single-player games are generally fine. They even seem to be pulling in a decent profit (if the game is actually well received), but they're probably not going to add much to the growth of the industry the way they used to (eventhough they seem to be going through a bit of a mini-boom at the moment). They're not the massive money makers that Ubisoft collect-o-thons or [insert multiplayer battle royale with microtransactions] are.

She never really mentions what the issue is, so hard to take much at face value. Other then "the way we've always done". Like yeah, you aren't going to pump out stuff along the lines of a flagship first party series that is often a graphical tech demo for a console and probably gets budgeted as a loss leader on a more moderate budget. Thats when you need to adjust your plans.

On the opposite end, Hellblade isn't a great counterpoint. They had to do a ton of side work to keep the doors open to pump that out. Don't know if its fully shaken out post-documentary vid on it, but there's a lot of front loaded risk to trying out that model without the side streams.

She does speak about game length which is a bit of an issue. Both on publisher side and on consumer side, there's a lot of attachment to the idea of the 20-30 hours long game, rather then the depth and quality of those hours. Its whats spearheadec the bloat of stuff like AC into gigantic 100 hour messes of thinly spread paste around maybe 7 hours of properly fleshed content. By the same standard, there are games down in the 4-8 hour range that have been decidedly well received critically and in the sales department though.

Seth Carter:
She never really mentions what the issue is, so hard to take much at face value. Other then "the way we've always done". Like yeah, you aren't going to pump out stuff along the lines of a flagship first party series that is often a graphical tech demo for a console and probably gets budgeted as a loss leader on a more moderate budget. Thats when you need to adjust your plans.

On the opposite end, Hellblade isn't a great counterpoint. They had to do a ton of side work to keep the doors open to pump that out. Don't know if its fully shaken out post-documentary vid on it, but there's a lot of front loaded risk to trying out that model without the side streams.

She does speak about game length which is a bit of an issue. Both on publisher side and on consumer side, there's a lot of attachment to the idea of the 20-30 hours long game, rather then the depth and quality of those hours. Its whats spearheadec the bloat of stuff like AC into gigantic 100 hour messes of thinly spread paste around maybe 7 hours of properly fleshed content. By the same standard, there are games down in the 4-8 hour range that have been decidedly well received critically and in the sales department though.

I believe in Ninja Theory's case, is that they did minor projects like Disney Infinity to help fund Senua's sacrifice. And even if it's not a great counterpoint, the game did moderately well on its own, it sold 1 million copies and it was profitable. The point is that a single player game can be successful without having to increase the price point, if the developer had a reasonable budget, resources, and number of staff working on it. Plus there's things like graphics that eat up development costs. It's all about prioritizing things basically.

These dedicated SP games are me favorite but yeah; they take years to make, have high initial investments, mostly short-term returns and are financially risky. If you can make way more money with microtransactions for mobile phone apps that get made for chump change or 'games as a service' crap then yeah, from a business perspective I can understand pulling out from AAA game development. As a fan ofcourse I'm disappoint. But the writing is on the wall: EA, Konami, Activision or even Squeenix and Rockstar to an extent all either drastically reduced their output or ceased it entirely in favor of other (more profitable and less risky) opportunities. Mobile and microtransactions are the growth sectors. I think people who complain about it on gaming forums aren't a representative sample group. I mean, how other do you explain that profit?

The companies who only care about nett profit will stop or drastically reduce making SP AAA games. There are simply way more alternatives in such a segmented market that have quicker (and more long-term) results at a fraction of the cost. Nowadays you really need executives with an affinity for videogames to have a high quality SP game released like Yoshida at Sony. Unfortunately at those positions they are few and far between. Mostly it are those assholes at Konami, EA and Activision.

It's also one of the reasons I can't really get excited for the next generation of consoles(or gaming in general). I mean sure, they will no doubt be technically impressive but who is going to make games for it, and when? People are already anticipating the PS5 but the PS4 didn't even really hit it's stride till 2015 or so. The first two years were a wasteland and even between releases there are long, long droughts. It's one thing there are only a few companies left that make these games but the half a decade development cycles also don't really help.

I really don't hope the games I love are going the way of the dodo but I guess it all depends if people at executive positions share that sentiment as from a pure financial standpoint there are better alternatives(I know how people hate on Konami but they are making record profits).

Fortunately I also like other genres like racing or older games that can be played over and over. So I guess there will always be something to play even if the well one day does dry up. :p

Casual Shinji:

erttheking:
Hey, throwing it out there, maybe gaming can learn some fucking self control when it comes to spending money? Lara Croft's hair has individually animated strands and the MGSV horse shits in real time? You know who asked for that? NO ONE! I know we all are bombarded with the narrative that gamers are obsessed with graphics, but considering the successes of indie games and the fact that games like Yakuza can have graphics that aren't breaking processors and still look good enough for people to be happy, maybe we shouldn't be turning gaming into a sunk cost fallacy where you just keep pouring more and more fucking money into it.

Well, how expensive is the next Tomb Raider actually going to be? I ask this because recent graphics heavy games, like Horizon: Zero Dawn and God of War, were only 40 - 50 million dollars to produce. Which is still a lot of money, but nowhere near the amount you might expect with all the doom and gloom about AAA budgets ballooning out of control. Marketing is a whole other question though, but then I don't remember either of those two titles getting a ludicrous amount of exposure.

Honestly, I think the cost for these types of single-player games are generally fine. They even seem to be pulling in a decent profit (if the game is actually well received), but they're probably not going to add much to the growth of the industry the way they used to (eventhough they seem to be going through a bit of a mini-boom at the moment). They're not the massive money makers that Ubisoft collect-o-thons or [insert multiplayer battle royale with microtransactions] are.

I'm not sure about the next one, but it is worth throwing out there that when it comes to "most expensive games developed" the 2013 Tomb Raider is actually pretty high up there, costing a hundred million dollars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

And yeah, that's the problem with modern gaming, the lack of support for mid-tier games.

erttheking:
I'm not sure about the next one, but it is worth throwing out there that when it comes to "most expensive games developed" the 2013 Tomb Raider is actually pretty high up there, costing a hundred million dollars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

And yeah, that's the problem with modern gaming, the lack of support for mid-tier games.

Yeah, but that's total cost, right? The section under 'developement' is empty, and marketing typically has a higher budget than the actual production. From what I heard, many publishers don't want to forward info on developement costs.

I think another issue is that any non-exclussive AAA single-player (linear) game is going to have a hard time. The purpose of games like The Last of Us and God of War mainly seems to be to push their console. So even if they can't recoup their developement cost, or make a large profit, they'll still succeed in pushing sales for the console that they're exclussive to. They're adding to the library, adding to the goodwill. A game like (current) Tomb Raider doesn't have that exclussive safety net to back it up.

And honestly I would classify a lot of "indie" games as mid-tier games now. You look at games like Ori, Journey, and Inside, or the recent Rayman games, and despite being small games by comparison, you know those took a hefty chuck of change to produce. I don't think the split between AAA and indie is that definitive.

"pressure to provide more and more"?

Games coming out these days have less features and less content than games that came out ten years ago did. Well, content that comes included with the game that is.

stroopwafel:
These dedicated SP games are me favorite but yeah; they take years to make, have high initial investments, mostly short-term returns and are financially risky. If you can make way more money with microtransactions for mobile phone apps that get made for chump change or 'games as a service' crap then yeah, from a business perspective I can understand pulling out from AAA game development. As a fan ofcourse I'm disappoint. But the writing is on the wall: EA, Konami, Activision or even Squeenix and Rockstar to an extent all either drastically reduced their output or ceased it entirely in favor of other (more profitable and less risky) opportunities. Mobile and microtransactions are the growth sectors. I think people who complain about it on gaming forums aren't a representative sample group. I mean, how other do you explain that profit?

The companies who only care about nett profit will stop or drastically reduce making SP AAA games. There are simply way more alternatives in such a segmented market that have quicker (and more long-term) results at a fraction of the cost. Nowadays you really need executives with an affinity for videogames to have a high quality SP game released like Yoshida at Sony. Unfortunately at those positions they are few and far between. Mostly it are those assholes at Konami, EA and Activision.

People are already anticipating the PS5 but the PS4 didn't even really hit it's stride till 2015 or so. The first two years were a wasteland and even between releases there are long, long droughts.

I was going to basically say a bunch of this. I don't think that SP games aren't profitable, it's just that other games are far more profitable. A company in any industry is looking to maximize revenue/profits so why would they make a product they know will make less money than something else they can just as easily make? I think that's the major problem with SP games right now is just that they make less overall and are riskier as well. That's probably the major reason why Amy's Star Wars game got cancelled.

IMO, the PS4 didn't get good until tail-end of 2016 (Dishonored and The Last Guardian) into the early 2017 that was loaded with games.

erttheking:
And yeah, that's the problem with modern gaming, the lack of support for mid-tier games.

The mid-tier devs are kicking the asses of the AAA studios this gen. Divinity is better than Witcher. Shadow Tactics is the best stealth game of the gen. Cities: Skylines beat SimCity. Also, lots of successful "AAA" games this gen aren't very high budgeted either like for example the Souls series, Persona 5, Nier, Yakuza. It's mainly the big publishers that don't get you can make games on lower budgets and gamers are just as happy with the final product if the core game is solid enough obviously.

She said, "We shouldn't be stuck at this brick and mortar price point and trying to make more and more content, breaking the spirit of these games."

After two decades in the business. Ms. (Mrs.?) Henning should be looking inward towards the company. We're not asking for more and more content. We're asking for full and complete games at a reasonable price point. Everything else mentioned is superfluous and on your publisher. Now, is it even worth mentioning 'brick and mortar' in the digital/pre-order era. If so, price drop.

Casual Shinji:

And honestly I would classify a lot of "indie" games as mid-tier games now. You look at games like Ori, Journey, and Inside, or the recent Rayman games, and despite being small games by comparison, you know those took a hefty chuck of change to produce. I don't think the split between AAA and indie is that definitive.

Journey's development costs mostly came down to a lack of clear direction in their design. The game is certainly unique, but not exactly banging down any big technical doors that would chew up development budget.

Playdead (Inside) is 25 people. AAA titles tend to start at 1000 or more. Just in personnel costs that's a magnitude of difference. Ori presumably has a fairly high art budget, but still probaly noticably less then paying voice actors and mo-cap work and 3d designers to make full AAA style stuff.

Rayman is literally Ubisoft, so yeah, AAA in theory. How much the UbiART stuff actually eats budget wise is kind of vague, but its done by one studio compared to the multiple studio stuff in their AAA, so probably runs on a discernably lower budget.

Phoenixmgs:
Snip

I guess part of the problem with talking about mid-tier is that it's kind of hard to pin down what qualifies as a mid-tier game. It's super subjective. I'm enjoying Yakuza 0 right now and...I GUESS it could be qualified as a mid-tier games, outside of cutscenes it does look like the graphics weren't top priority, which I'm ok with. It's just...I don't know, never jumped out to me as "mid tier" but for reasons I can't really explain, and really it might just be because I wasn't think about it.

I'm rambling and not making sense, I need to go think about this.

Maybe games shouldn't have 175 developers just working on individual strands of hair? Maybe we don't need to have a marketing budget the same size as the development budget. Maybe games don't need to be movies. I mean, I like Uncharted, but my absolute favorite games are still Sly and Kingdom Hearts, and those aren't exactly photo-realistic.

Did we just lose 2 days worth of posts or have I gone mad?

Captain Marvelous:
Did we just lose 2 days worth of posts or have I gone mad?

Yes, it would certainly appear that way...

Cool lower the graphics, and graphics card requirements. I didn't ask for better graphics games. Games don't need to complete with movies.

Let the modders solve the rest.

That's kind of their problem, isn't it? If you can't delver a good game at an appealing price point, then you deserve to have your lunch eaten by those who can. Maybe if you concentrated on good game experiences instead of faithfully reproducing every last hair of stubble on your white brown-haired male protagonist, and every last crack in the wall of the corridor he's in.

Maybe it would be sustainable if the AAA industry didn't insist on having development teams the size of a small town and marketing budgets that could feed a small country for a year. Neither of which are necessary.

Captain Marvelous:
Maybe games shouldn't have 175 developers just working on individual strands of hair? Maybe we don't need to have a marketing budget the same size as the development budget. Maybe games don't need to be movies. I mean, I like Uncharted, but my absolute favorite games are still Sly and Kingdom Hearts, and those aren't exactly photo-realistic.

Gergar12:
Cool lower the graphics, and graphics card requirements. I didn't ask for better graphics games. Games don't need to complete with movies.

Let the modders solve the rest.

Also these. Some of my favourite games of all time come from the SNES and Gamecube eras so they can take their fancy high res. graphics and shove 'em.

Captain Marvelous:
Maybe games shouldn't have 175 developers just working on individual strands of hair?

Isn't that stuff just from NVIDIA or AMD SDKs?

Anyways, I think these are companies just being companies. Games aren't games to them, they are merely software, and tech exclusively owned by one publisher is appealing to investors.

Some publishers want to have engines with cutting edge graphics and support for industry standard plugins. They have to keep pimping their inhouse engines to keep up with each other, and they have to develop new pipelines so they can 3d scan and mocap everything, or else people will say how ugly it looks or how bad the animations are, like everyone does with Bethesda games.

Ironically the AAA console market has become the biggest graphics whores today. A triple-A game that looks like it's from 2009 will probably not garner much hype at E3. When Uncharted 4 came out, reddit was wanking how it was the prettiest game bar none, and dumbshit threads made it to the front page like "TIL You can see Nathan Drake's ears turn red in the light."

All the hype over TLoU2's mocap fest pretty much shows that graphics and realism sells hype, and hype sells copies. Sure you can name games like CoD or WoW that demolish every other game in terms of revenue, but those are runaway successes, household names, and clones don't produce results anywhere near them.

....Didn't this thread used to be longer?

erttheking:
Hey, throwing it out there, maybe gaming can learn some fucking self control when it comes to spending money? Lara Croft's hair has individually animated strands and the MGSV horse shits in real time? You know who asked for that? NO ONE! I know we all are bombarded with the narrative that gamers are obsessed with graphics, but considering the successes of indie games and the fact that games like Yakuza can have graphics that aren't breaking processors and still look good enough for people to be happy, maybe we shouldn't be turning gaming into a sunk cost fallacy where you just keep pouring more and more fucking money into it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to waiting for Octopath Traveler, a single player JRPG made with the Unreal engine that will probably give me 60-80 hours of content that Square Enix of all people managed to make, charging 40 dollars for it, twenty below standard gaming price, and with no paid DLC. Last I heard, Square Enix didn't acquire the Infinity Gauntlet recently, so maybe they just did the insane and gave the game a well measured budget, shock of all fucking shocks. Probably helps that they didn't blow millions of dollars on marketing that probably wouldn't have changed that much.

So much this.

erttheking:
....Didn't this thread used to be longer?

Yeah, a bunch of posts were eaten by some random bug. It seems all of july 12th just vanished. Unfortunate because there were some pretty good posts lost.

Pseudonym:
Yeah, a bunch of posts were eaten by some random bug. It seems all of july 12th just vanished. Unfortunate because there were some pretty good posts lost.

I'm not saying my posts were among the good ones, but the argument I made which was lost in its entirety was the root cause of exploding game budgets is excessive, inefficient, and unnecessary expenditure on marketing and distribution. This is because video game budgeting and marketing strategies are modeled after Hollywood; that's an incompatible and regressive business model for the medium, because initial sales aren't actually the determining factor of a game's success or failure.

Game publishers ought to re-prioritize funding on actual development, while shifting to more cost-efficient and cost-effective marketing and distribution models. That means better games on smaller budgets, leading to higher sales and maximized profit margins, all while preserving or even reducing the currently-accepted price point.

Gergar12:
Cool lower the graphics, and graphics card requirements. I didn't ask for better graphics games. Games don't need to complete with movies.

Let the modders solve the rest.

I actually want games to evolve, thank you very much.

OT: If singleplayer games aren't sustainable at their current price how come we're still getting plenty of them? Seems like another excuse to cramp in microtransactions in games.

I can see what she's getting at. The way the AAA industry has been approaching games development over past couple years really hasn't worked for the more traditional narrative driven single-player game. The ballooning costs and sales expectations over a game that isn't going to generate ongoing revenue isn't sustainable. I don't think it's particularly controversial to say that the road the AAA gaming has been heading down isn't sustainable.

However, though it sounds like she does have a suggested solution, the article does a really poor job of getting across what she thinks it is. It sounds like what is already in the process of happening, story based games being handed down to smaller publishers and independent developers, that don't need overly-inflated marketing budgets to get Hollywood actors to advertise for them or the need to shove more and more 'features' (edit: read microtransations) and multiplayer modes into titles that didn't need nor want them.

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

I actually want games to evolve, thank you very much.

Cool, so do I. Graphics doesn't really help games evolve though.

erttheking:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

I actually want games to evolve, thank you very much.

Cool, so do I. Graphics doesn't really help games evolve though.

Uh, of course they do. Would've GTAV worked and been successful if it used the exact same engine and had the same technical boundaries as San Andreas? Maybe you would've been cool with an 8-bit TLOU but I wouldn't be.

Graphics need to always be improved or else the industry would be stagnated and boring.

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

erttheking:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

I actually want games to evolve, thank you very much.

Cool, so do I. Graphics doesn't really help games evolve though.

Uh, of course they do. Would've GTAV worked and been successful if it used the exact same engine and had the same technical boundaries as San Andreas? Maybe you would've been cool with an 8-bit TLOU but I wouldn't be.

Graphics need to always be improved or else the industry would be stagnated and boring.

The industry is pretty stagnated and boring, mid-tier devs are kicking the asses of AAA devs. Every Ubisoft or Rockstar game can pretty much just be called Ubisoft: The Game or Rockstar: The Game. GTA5 is still the same game as GTA3 but better looking, you still have the same horribly linear missions that have always been there making its open world totally unnecessary. Pandemic with Mercenaries schooled Rockstar 2 gens ago and Rockstar has yet to come close to even touching what Pandemic accomplished on a system with 32MBs of RAM. Games became so homogeneous that pretty much every game with melee combat directly used Arkham combat from Uncharted 3 to the Middle-earth games that are just reskinned Batman games. You had all the MMSs. You got all these Souls clones. The best video games nowadays are digital board games as board games do more gameplay-wise with basic paper, plastic, and wood than the shiniest thing coming out of the video game industry.

Phoenixmgs:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

erttheking:

Cool, so do I. Graphics doesn't really help games evolve though.

Uh, of course they do. Would've GTAV worked and been successful if it used the exact same engine and had the same technical boundaries as San Andreas? Maybe you would've been cool with an 8-bit TLOU but I wouldn't be.

Graphics need to always be improved or else the industry would be stagnated and boring.

The industry is pretty stagnated and boring, mid-tier devs are kicking the asses of AAA devs. Every Ubisoft or Rockstar game can pretty much just be called Ubisoft: The Game or Rockstar: The Game. GTA5 is still the same game as GTA3 but better looking, you still have the same horribly linear missions that have always been there making its open world totally unnecessary. Pandemic with Mercenaries schooled Rockstar 2 gens ago and Rockstar has yet to come close to even touching what Pandemic accomplished on a system with 32MBs of RAM. Games became so homogeneous that pretty much every game with melee combat directly used Arkham combat from Uncharted 3 to the Middle-earth games that are just reskinned Batman games. You had all the MMSs. You got all these Souls clones. The best video games nowadays are digital board games as board games do more gameplay-wise with basic paper, plastic, and wood than the shiniest thing coming out of the video game industry.

Heavily disagreed.

Though I must say it's weird that you hang out on a gaming forum when you don't seem to like video games.

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

Phoenixmgs:
The industry is pretty stagnated and boring, mid-tier devs are kicking the asses of AAA devs. Every Ubisoft or Rockstar game can pretty much just be called Ubisoft: The Game or Rockstar: The Game. GTA5 is still the same game as GTA3 but better looking, you still have the same horribly linear missions that have always been there making its open world totally unnecessary. Pandemic with Mercenaries schooled Rockstar 2 gens ago and Rockstar has yet to come close to even touching what Pandemic accomplished on a system with 32MBs of RAM. Games became so homogeneous that pretty much every game with melee combat directly used Arkham combat from Uncharted 3 to the Middle-earth games that are just reskinned Batman games. You had all the MMSs. You got all these Souls clones. The best video games nowadays are digital board games as board games do more gameplay-wise with basic paper, plastic, and wood than the shiniest thing coming out of the video game industry.

Heavily disagreed.

Though I must say it's weird that you hang out on a gaming forum when you don't seem to like video games.

I just said mid-tiers are kicking AAA ass, there's good games out there but they are hardly the ones pushing graphics. I remember when each game in a series would feel different like MGS, now many times all games from a single developer or even publisher across different series now all are basically reskins of the same game (like Watch Dogs/Ghost Recon and GTA/RDR). Even the only thing that separates Witcher 3 from your typical open world RPG had nothing to do with gameplay and it was all down to it just having better writing than everyone else. Dishonored was budgeted to turn a profit without even selling a million copies and it afforded players far more open-ended gameplay than the biggest budget AAA experience. So how are either graphics or money key to making a great game or evolving the medium?

 

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