South Park games have great content value and very high production value - still, they are treated as "low-cost AAA title" that require "a relatively smaller investment than other (AAA) titles due to its simple animation" (THQ on South Park: The Stick of Truth).
So, maybe South Park shouldn't be $60 game since its production value is not as high as high-cost AAA games...then again, maybe it should:
"...when you’re animating to a very specific look and style, there’s not really compromising. There’s no shortcuts. And it’s funny that with something that’s more like a traditional 3D model-type rig, there’s actually a lot of ways that Maya and other programs help. They smooth things out. They give you some of the in-between positions, and you set targets for where those limbs will go. Not so with South Park. You have to move those frames. So you’re stepping animation all over the place, and if you want to have a unique facial expressions—and so much of the action of the show actually takes place on those big eyes and little mouth shapes—if you want it to be really expressive, you’ve gotta animate that too. You’ve gotta show pain, show effort, show all this stuff." (Jason Schroeder, game director of The Fractured But Whole)
I'm just hoping you're not implying that Octopath Traveler production value in on par with something like South Park...cause it's really nowhere near it.
It depends on what you mean by production values. When it comes to art and animation, both OT and the South Park games pale in comparison to games like God of War 4 or Zelda: Breath of the Wild. South Park's art is like something a person drew on the back of a paper napkin. But that is cool, because that is the look that they are intentionally going for. OT is intentionally going for a 16 bit look. Neither one is investing much into art compared to the average AAA game made today.
Instead the art of South Park is there to make a person feel like this is really a South Park game they are playing. And players are hoping that the game is going to be just as funny as watching South Park. Octopath is going for the 16 bit look, because they are telling players that the gameplay, story and music are going to be of the same quality as Final Fantasy 6. In both cases the art is there to tell people what the game is really about. The art is not the draw in itself like it is in a game like God of War 4.
That's what this discussion is really about. Does $60 mean, that the game needs a huge art budget? Or is it enough to be really exceptional in other ways like gameplay, writing, music, etc... without having a huge art budget?