There is More than One Way to Make a AAA Game

The big game studios have begun to emulate each other in terms of what they can do to optimize profits. I have nothing against making profits, having worked on games first hand, game studios need a healthy sum of money to keep their doors open and employees fed. However in copying one another I feel they do disservice to themselves and to the players.

If AAA game releases were a laser field, we could all channel our inner Catherine Zeta-Jones and provocatively navigate it blind folded. The game comes out at a base price, you pay that for sure but you KNOW there’s gonna be DLC. Okay so you pay the extra wad of cash for the DLC pass. Oh you thought you were done? No, no, no the days of paying for an entire game up front are over. That pass is good for SOME DLC but not ALL of it. The days of opening your wallet ONCE for a game are dead.

Oh, and now everyone must have randomized crates, packs or juice boxes. The things you unlock to get random stuff, most of it lame, but it emulates gambling which of course is all the rage. You don’t need real money for the juice boxes, but you will tempted to buy the super dope mega juice box which will expedite your journey to less lame crap.

Can we please play a new tune? My budget, along with that of many gamers, is not luxurious, I have to plan for big game investments way in advance. I don’t mind paying for something that is worth it, and again, having worked on games, I rarely suffer from sticker shock. My beef is if you’re going to eat up my leisure budget, be original about it. To start, give me a game that is worth my money. I’m tired of sloppy glitches and day one patches the size of Australia. Same goes for lackluster DLC and recycled assets presented as new skins or items that are overpriced. Why are you all copying this terrible behavior from one another?!

You wanna nickel and dime me? Wow me.

There have been AAA studios making attempts to defy these “new rules.” A good example that affected me directly is 343 Industries with Halo 5: Guardians. All the DLC is free which has kept me a loyal player long past launch. Is all of the DLC amazing? No, definitely not, but I didn’t shell out for it so I don’t mind the experimental nature of it. I have enjoyed certain DLC aspects, certainly enough to keep me playing. That being said, 343 did slide some randomized juice boxes in there with their “Req Packs” and a lot of the assets are just boring or downright ugly.

I am speaking directly to AAA studio executives when I say stop treating development like a chore and take pride in the quality of your product. You have an army of talented devs at your disposal, let them do their job and push those who could do better to meet their potential. That means setting timelines with quality in mind as opposed to quarterly performance convenience. That also means putting equal standards of quality  for everything you intend to sell. Games are not just technical, they are a creative medium. So get, f**king creative.


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Rebecca Rothschild

Editor in Chief
Rebecca is a writer and narrative designer living in Chicago working on several animation, comic and game projects. She is the creator and writer for the sci-fi comic book series Warshiner as well as the free web comic Shero and Vex. She has worked on games like Mutant Football League.
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    There is More than One Way to Make a AAA Game

    The big game studios have begun to emulate each other in terms of what they can do to optimize profits. I ...
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