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Splinter Cell director – “lower case aaa” is the future

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Big money, big games. That’s the mantra of the industry today, and while that approach doesn’t always work, it’s hard to deny the fact that it does produce results. Of course, in a changing economy, we might be looking at games which ditch budgets that could buy a small African country, as priotirities change. And that’s something that the director of the upcoming Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Patrick Redding, believes.

Speaking at the Gamercamp festival in Toronto, that GamesIndustry picked up on, Redding explained how low budget games such as  Minecraft, were a sign of things to come;

The market as a whole is going to undergo a critical shift in priorities, 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.

Redding believes that the idea of AAA games will evolve into one where factors such as development costs, digital distribution and player preferences will shape the future, instead of the usual concept that throwing enough money at a game can make it a best-seller.

Ironically, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is by its own nature a AAA game, but one that has more systemic avenues for lighting and AI design. Redding believes that this game will serve as example of using the money invested wisely to create something new and interesting.

I’ve always felt that there is no such thing as a “AAA” game. It’s an idea, a slogan used to entice buyers in. Sure, you can create some great games with a stack o’ cash, or you could waste it by creating a run of a mill title that serves as an expensive advertisement for Linkin Park.

But either way you spin it, it’s been a great marketing hook in recent years, and one that may finally be wearing thin with gamers.

Last Updated: November 5, 2012

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