“We don’t need 40 first-person shooters,” says Avalanche Studios’ creative director.
Things aren’t looking good for AAA development. Costs are rising, studios are closing and even the most monolithic publishers seem to be acutely aware of the looming spectre of bankruptcy. While the unlikely concept of some kind of upper industry crash may seem apocalyptic to some, particularly those whose jobs are on the line, others see it as a positive, if not outright necessary, chance for the industry to evolve. Like Avalanche Studios’ creative director, Stefan Ljungqvist, for example.
“I don’t think big-budget games are going away. There’s going to be less of them,” he told Gamasutra. “But that’s a good thing, because maybe we don’t need forty first-person shooters. I don’t want to play them all, but maybe we need one, two or three.”
To be fair, Avalanche hasn’t exactly been hitting the creativity drum with all its strength. Of the studio’s four games, two are installments in the open-world Just Cause series, one is a free-to-play hunting game and the other is a top-down, twin-stick shooter. The studio has three games in the pipeline; One is another open-world game (which many assume to be Just Cause 3 co-developed with Square Enix. The other two are unnamed titles based on unidentified comic book and movie licenses.
“What I like now is that there are more opportunities to be creative,” he continued. “Maybe over the course of the past five years, developers have pitched creative or more artistic games, but publishers had been more careful of betting a lot on those games, because they’re associated with some risk. But maybe now they can [take more risks] because they need to be more unique in the marketplace.”