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As a Consumer Would You Rather?

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Total:45
Ryuu96 said:

AAA only means budget, it doesn't mean anything else, studio size is irrelevant. Yes, usually a studio making an AAA title has a large amount of employees but it isn't a hard rule, a AAA title could come from a studio of 30. Studio size also doesn't take into account outsourcing partners.

Typically all these studios calling themselves AAA are doing so because they have the budget and investment ready.

You can betcha that the Co-Founder of PlayGround Games has investors lined up.

I disagree, size does matter and budget.  Usually the budget is relation to the size because you need the people to produce a game at that level.  There is no way a 30 man crew is going to pump out a game on the same level as a 100 man crew.  There just so much hours within the day that 30 people can accomplish.  If they are doing 7 12 hour days for 3 years, the product will be a mess.

Even if the Co-Founder of playground games has the investor, he still would need to get to market sell the game and at least break even.  I think we are just kinda loose with the AAA studio title.  I would agree its more marking than anything else from any startup that doesn't already have the man power to make it a reality.  Hell, I wouldn't even call the Initiative a AAA studio since they basically just outsource the whole project.



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Machiavellian said:
Ryuu96 said:

AAA only means budget, it doesn't mean anything else, studio size is irrelevant. Yes, usually a studio making an AAA title has a large amount of employees but it isn't a hard rule, a AAA title could come from a studio of 30. Studio size also doesn't take into account outsourcing partners.

Typically all these studios calling themselves AAA are doing so because they have the budget and investment ready.

You can betcha that the Co-Founder of PlayGround Games has investors lined up.

I disagree, size does matter and budget.  Usually the budget is relation to the size because you need the people to produce a game at that level.  There is no way a 30 man crew is going to pump out a game on the same level as a 100 man crew.  There just so much hours within the day that 30 people can accomplish.  If they are doing 7 12 hour days for 3 years, the product will be a mess.

Even if the Co-Founder of playground games has the investor, he still would need to get to market sell the game and at least break even.  I think we are just kinda loose with the AAA studio title.  I would agree its more marking than anything else from any startup that doesn't already have the man power to make it a reality.  Hell, I wouldn't even call the Initiative a AAA studio since they basically just outsource the whole project.

The Initiative is literally a ~50 man studio working with an outsourced studio (Crystal Dynamics) on an AAA title.

Now I'm not saying this is what this new studio is doing and I do agree that often size is linked to budget but that isn't a hard rule. AAA literally only means what budget a title has, if a 30-man studio spent 4-6 years working on a title which exceeded whatever is considered an AAA budget by the gaming industry, it would be an AAA title. It literally doesn't matter at all if the game is good or not, it doesn't matter if they make money on it or not, it's still an AAA title.

And with how much outsourcing is done nowadays, an internal headcount is not an accurate look of manpower on a project. There's AAA's from studios with only 100-200 employees internally but they outsource like mad...

When someone says they're an AAA studio, they simply mean they're working on an AAA IP.

Last edited by Ryuu96 - on 27 March 2023

Angelus said:

Honestly, my thoughts on Diablo 4, after playing the beta, is that this game is a bit overhyped. Looking around in recent months, there has been so much glowing praise in the coverage of this game, and getting to finally play it myself...it's a bit much. The game is good, don't get me wrong. It's perfectly fun to play, it looks good, the story starts off very promising (although it gets much less interesting after like the first hour, which is far stronger than the rest of act 1), and I think that the open world, and mmo aspects are well integrated into the game.

That said, Diablo 4, as of right now, doesn't appear to me to be bringing anything particularly new, or fresh to the table. It's a good solid ARPG, and it doesn't do anything particularly poorly (at least not anything that can't be addressed with a few balancing patches, bug fixes, and tweaking of the odd mechanic or two)...but there's also nothing here that's really giving me the "wow" factor. I can't point to anything they're doing with this game that would make me say "Yes! This is why I need to play Diablo, instead of the next league of PoE." I will play it, and I'm sure that I'll enjoy it for at least a couple of months or so, but then they're really gonna have to show me something in terms of how they build on the game in future seasons.

My biggest concern right now, is that it looks like the endgame is going to be all about dungeons. They're essentially taking inspiration from PoE's mapping system, by letting you take the dungeons, and making them harder and harder with up to 5 affixes that will change the dynamics of how they play. This is fine one paper, as a starting foundation for endgame, but does present some problems. For one, visually, all of the dungeons in Diablo 4 (at least in act 1) are...well...either the same flavor of dungeon, or some flavor of cave system. They say they've got 150 dungeons, but if they all blend together visually, going through them countless times is gonna get old real fucking quick. In PoE, the maps could pull from any environment in the game. Also, some of the mechanics in Diablo 4's dungeons are just fucking annoying. You'll often have to kill either every single enemy to progress through a door (very fun if you missed 1 or 2 stupid enemies in some corner), or backtrack in various directions to collect some artifact or other (which happens on slow, interruptible timers), etc. This kind of shit is just plain irritating, and you better believe it'll drive you mad once you're knee deep in the endgame, trying to farm efficiently.

I do like the world bosses as an idea, but in the beta they're supremely undercooked imo. Mechanically, it didn't offer much in terms of challenge, or anything that would foster cooperation from the players. I could easily solo it with my rogue by just staying glued to it's back legs, and dashing after it whenever it repositions. If you get a solid build going, you could easily down this thing in a small fraction of time you have available, and then, if you're so inclined, get yourself into another world instance, and kill it some more. That last part probably needs to be fixed, cus it's a bit of an exploit for massive amounts of loot, but yea...just in general would like them to design some world bosses in the future that really push the players. That would be cool.

Not too much to say about it other than that at this point. Class balance is all over the place, even within single character trees. You got stuff that's literally useless, and stuff that's hilariously OP. None of that surprises me, and I don't anticipate it will be particularly well balanced on release. I won't hold that against them too much, cus it's honestly kinda par for the course with these types of games. This will probably be like an 8/10 game at launch, with like a 6/10 endgame. Then we'll see where they go from there.

Interresting :) I have a bit a of a different perspective after playing both weekend and I agree (and disagree with some points) or at least I have a different opinion, but I can clearly see that you played it enough and have a good understanding of it (and other ARPG) :)

My take after playing everyday and levelling all chars to 25 and even farming that 35 Elite to get higher level gears and bring my AP to almost 1000 to all chars 😊

Classes: The 5 classes are different, and I like that a lot with the different mechanics.
Yes the skills are all over the places but we have no clue about so many legendary powers etc.. That’s I would not really be worried about that. Like D2, some skills really start shinning only with the right gear. I expect it to be the case here and this is pretty standard for any ARPG.

Barbarian - One thing that surprised me is how I loved the Barabarian. I never really like it in D2/D3 and was the least character I played (maybe the monk in D3). But the Barbarian in D4 feels SO good. I went with a WW build and farmed all the possible legendary power and I could even almost solo Ashava (some people joined at 20% HP).
Rogue – This fucker is so OP. This is probably the one that can ditch out the most damage at least up to 25 (melee blade fury) and I tried ranged too, was pretty fun. I played around with trap/penetrating shot build too and this was the most fun imo. But not as powerful as the melee one.
Mage – My favorite class in D3 (not really in D2) and while the class was fun to play, I really did not enjoy it as much as the 4 other classes for some reason. It was actually the most painful to get to 25 because I did not have “fun” playing her like the other classe (esp. rogue) where you have to combo/synergize with other skills way more.
Necromancer – I mean… The corpse explosion is just ridiculous 😊 You cannot ditch out the same amount of damage than a rogue but seriously, you can play the whole freaking 1 to 25 with 2 buttons… That’s not for me I think for the full game but I enjoy it for what it was.
Druid – By far the least powerful class (at least in the range of the beta) but I really like it. Played mostly Rabies with Werewolves pets and it was fun all along.

Overall the class balance is not an issue for me cause this is up to 25. That’s not even important to be honest. Level 100 will be what’s important and also, I do not really care about PVP.

Dungeons (and end game) : I liked them and esp. because for me that will be perfect for the end game. Let’s face it, other ARPG are not better and this is what a endgame should look like. Those dungeons are designed to be repeated and played over an over like POE (or rifts in D3) and I agree that the “carry” this item to “to this thing” mechanics are not good and sometime when you have to backtrack it was really annoying. So if we will have to do those dungeons like POE/D3 over and over they need to either remove that or fix it…

World Boss: I loved it 😊 That was a lot of fun, esp. when I go in the first time and died few times figuring out the rotation, skills and positioning (and like you said, behind one of his legs and a bit moving around when he does that move that brings in front arms back) but that was about it and then it was a piece of cake everytime. The idea is really fun to have randoms like that to try to get this down, obviously when we got geared like hell it was killable in 2 or 3 minutes but that will probably scale after 100 only like everything. So, no big deal for me. Being able to farm more than one kill, needs to be fixed, 100% agree.

Crafting/Gear Upgrades: That's super good for me, that's why I like ARPG, the loot and how you can min/max the stats etc. I like what they did in D4. I farmed those level 420+ items from the elite and on my barb. I have almost all items 420+ item power and my weapons are 462 and 464. The fact that you are looking for good rares instead of legendaries and then need to upgrade them (before to apply a leg affix on it or it will cost so much after that), then reroll and finally apply the right legendary affix is gold to me (using the amazing imbue system). There are a lot of options and way to increase/maximize your gears and even more opportunities to find better gear. I really like the system. The +Skill is also back. Of course this was level 25, but I can def. see myself doing that at 100 with the Sacred/Sanctified items that will drop only after level 50 and then 70 etc. and keep farming for better gear. And it will take time, unlike D3 for instance (itemization sucked, let's face it...) and D2 was better but so many useless affixes at the end or the opposite, affixes that were a MUST so basically randering them mandatory which is not a really good design. 

Overall, this was a blast for me. I’m a huge ARPG fans (Diablo, POE, etc.) and this is perfectly aligned with my expectations so far!

June cannot come sooner now.

Last edited by Imaginedvl - on 27 March 2023

Yeah, I agree that size is a definite factor for a AAA game. I don't think I have ever seen a game that I would personally define as AAA that came from a developer with less than 100 devs, at least not in the last 7 or 8 years (Skyrim's dev team was under 100 devs but that was in development from 2008-2011, Bethesda increased to about 140 core devs for Fallout 4 plus an additional 50~ devs at support studios, and now Starfield's team is over 250 core devs just at Bethesda Game Studios itself). For instance Ninja Theory called the first Hellblade AAA, but it wasn't really, they made it with just 20 devs and it was only 6 or 7 hours long as a result, there is a reason it released for $29.99 instead of the typical AAA and large scale AA price of $59.99 at that time. They seem to be going properly AAA with Hellblade 2, with both a longer dev cycle and rumors they have 100+ devs on Hellblade 2 now.

In fact I'd say budget is less of a hard rule than team size is. While some AAA's these days have budgets in excess of $100m, we have seen recent AAA games with smaller budgets, sometimes much smaller than $100m. While it has been 8 years now, Witcher 3's budget was $81m at the time which is $93m with inflation and that was a 150+ hour RPG in a 100+ square mile open world, I'm sure there were smaller AAA games this past gen with lower budgets than that. It was reported that Resident Evil 2 Remake's budget was under $100m back in 2019. Ubisoft reportedly made the first Watch Dogs for $68m and the first The Division for $50m. And then there was Control, definitely AAA in graphics quality, length (30ish hours of content), and dev team size, yet Remedy themselves reported a budget of just 30m Euros or $35m USD for it.

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 27 March 2023

Ryuu96 said:
Spade said:

Gamepass Check - 1st Quarter 2023

Summary: I will try to update every three months (I probably won't and will forget about this until the end of the year). The purpose is to see when/if the Xbots here have hit their Gamepass subscription fee. 

For me: I have the Ultimate Edition, so I have to hit $180 worth of games. I will only count games that came out to Gamepass this year and where I've played for at least 5 hours. 

After extensive analysis, I have found that I reached my Gamepass Cost on March 3rd, 2023. 

  • 5,270,400 seconds
  • 87,840 minutes
  • 1464 hours
  • 61 days
  • 8 weeks and 5 days
  • 16.71% of 2023 
  • ~17% of 2023

Persona 3 - Completed - $20 - Jan 19
Persona 4 - Completed - $20 - Jan 19
High Fi Rush - Completed - $30 - Jan 25
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Completed - $50 - Jan 31 (END OF JAN $120)
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty - Completed - $60 - Mar 3 ($180 COST REACHED)
Guilty Gear Strive - Completed - $40 - Mar 7 
Ni No Kuni II - In Progress 6 Hours In - $60 - Mar 21 

Currently as of 3/26/23 - $280 in Total Savings. 

BestDealInGaming

Using TrueAchievements.

  • Tinykin - £20.
  • The Skywalker Saga - £40
  • Hi Fi Rush - £30
  • Yakuza 3 - £6 (Current Deal)
  • Yakuza 4 - £6 (Current Deal)
  • Yakuza 5 - £6 (Current Deal)

Total £108.

Not reached it yet, but I'll be playing Minecraft Legends, Redfall and Starfield day one so I'll definitely reach it, Lol.

Completed:

Soccer Story - €20
Nobody Saves the World - €25
Signalis - €20
Persona 4 Golden - €20
Infernax - €20
Hot Wheels Unleashed GOTY - €90
Besiege - €20
Umurangi - €21
A Plague Tale: Requiem - €60
Full Throttle Remastered - €15
Shadow Warrior 3 - €40
Soul Hackers 2 - €30 (currently on sale)

Total: €381

And a couple more that I started or I'm currently playing like Ni no Kuni 2, Guilty Gear Strive and Metal: Hellsinger



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shikamaru317 said:

Yeah, I agree that size is a definite factor for a AAA game. I don't think I have ever seen a game that I would personally define as AAA that came from a developer with less than 100 devs, at least not in the last 7 or 8 years (Skyrim's dev team was under 100 devs but that was in development from 2008-2011, Bethesda increased to about 140 core devs for Fallout 4 plus an additional 50~ devs at support studios, and now Starfield's team is over 250 core devs just at Bethesda Game Studios itself). For instance Ninja Theory called the first Hellblade AAA, but it wasn't really, they made it with just 20 devs and it was only 6 or 7 hours long as a result, there is a reason it released for $29.99 instead of the typical AAA and large scale AA price of $59.99 at that time. They seem to be going properly AAA with Hellblade 2, with both a longer dev cycle and rumors they have 100+ devs on Hellblade 2 now.

In fact I'd say budget is less of a hard rule than team size is. While some AAA's these days have budgets in excess of $100m, we have seen recent AAA games with smaller budgets, sometimes much smaller than $100m. While it has been 8 years now, Witcher 3's budget was $81m at the time which is $93m with inflation and that was a 150+ hour RPG in a 100+ square mile open world, I'm sure there were smaller AAA games this past gen with lower budgets than that. It was reported that Resident Evil 2 Remake's budget was under $100m back in 2019. And then there was Control, definitely AAA in graphics quality, length (30ish hours of content), and dev team size, yet Remedy reported a budget of just 30m Euros or $35m USD for it.

Size is often related but not a hard rule, that is my point, theoretically an AAA title could be made by a studio less than 100 employees because all AAA refers to is budget of a title but often sizes are larger than that because AAA is a lot of work. I don't think it's likely that this new studio stays at 30 FWIW...30 is their size upon creation, that's already quite large for a brand new studio.

There are a lot of studios with only 100-200 employees working on AAA titles. By the logic that size matters, Perfect Dark isn't an AAA title because The Initiative is only ~50 employees but that brings me onto my second point, that the size of the lead studio is an extremely poor method of determining a games total size nowadays with the sheer scale of outsourcing that goes on.

Sea of Thieves was made by a 100-200 Rare team, Hellblade 2 is being made by a 100-200 Ninja Theory team, Gears 4/5 was only in the 200s for The Coalition IIRC. None of these sizes that I'm listing though take into account outsourcing partners.

The issue with the varying levels of AAA budgets is there isn't really a set rule on where the threshold is to turn something from AA-AAA, it's really developer decided but it doesn't change that it only means the budget of a title.

And my third point that when a studio calls themselves "AAA" all they mean is that they're working on an AAA IP...

Last edited by Ryuu96 - on 27 March 2023

Ryuu96 said:
shikamaru317 said:

Yeah, I agree that size is a definite factor for a AAA game. I don't think I have ever seen a game that I would personally define as AAA that came from a developer with less than 100 devs, at least not in the last 7 or 8 years (Skyrim's dev team was under 100 devs but that was in development from 2008-2011, Bethesda increased to about 140 core devs for Fallout 4 plus an additional 50~ devs at support studios, and now Starfield's team is over 250 core devs just at Bethesda Game Studios itself). For instance Ninja Theory called the first Hellblade AAA, but it wasn't really, they made it with just 20 devs and it was only 6 or 7 hours long as a result, there is a reason it released for $29.99 instead of the typical AAA and large scale AA price of $59.99 at that time. They seem to be going properly AAA with Hellblade 2, with both a longer dev cycle and rumors they have 100+ devs on Hellblade 2 now.

In fact I'd say budget is less of a hard rule than team size is. While some AAA's these days have budgets in excess of $100m, we have seen recent AAA games with smaller budgets, sometimes much smaller than $100m. While it has been 8 years now, Witcher 3's budget was $81m at the time which is $93m with inflation and that was a 150+ hour RPG in a 100+ square mile open world, I'm sure there were smaller AAA games this past gen with lower budgets than that. It was reported that Resident Evil 2 Remake's budget was under $100m back in 2019. And then there was Control, definitely AAA in graphics quality, length (30ish hours of content), and dev team size, yet Remedy reported a budget of just 30m Euros or $35m USD for it.

Size is often related but not a hard rule, that is my point, theoretically an AAA title could be made by a studio less than 100 employees because all AAA refers to is budget of a title but often sizes are larger than that because AAA is a lot of work. I don't think it's likely that this new studio stays at 30 FWIW...30 is their size upon creation, that's already quite large for a brand new studio.

There are a lot of studios with only 100-200 employees working on AAA titles. By the logic that size matters, Perfect Dark isn't an AAA title because The Initiative is only ~50 employees but that brings me onto my second point, that the size of the lead studio is an extremely poor method of determining a games total size nowadays with the sheer scale of outsourcing that goes on.

Sea of Thieves was made by a 100-200 Rare team, Hellblade 2 is being made by a 100-200 Ninja Theory team, Gears 4/5 was only in the 200s for The Coalition IIRC. None of these sizes that I'm listing though take into account outsourcing partners. The issue with the varying levels of AAA budgets is there isn't really a set rule on where the threshold is to turn something from AA-AAA, it's really developer decided but it doesn't change that it only means the budget of a title.

And my third point that when a studio calls themselves "AAA" all they mean is that they're working on an AAA IP...

Well, The Initiative is a bit of a unique case, much like Mistwalker was when they made Lost Odyssey. Both are smaller studios made up of mainly lead and senior devs, while most of the grunt work was being outsourced, with Mistwalker the grunt work was outsourced to Feelplus, with The Initiative it is outsourced to Crystal Dynamics (though some of the lead and senior devs on Perfect Dark are at Crystal, it's not all grunt work there). I think with The Initiative you need to take into account both the 50 current internal devs, and the likely team of 100-150 at Crystal Dynamics that is assisting on it.



I don't think AAA actually ever had a true definition whatsoever and so to me, AAA refer only to overall quality (graphics, sound, gameplay, story, length) that a small teams can't produce consistently. You will sometime hear about small team doing an AA title but with AAA graphics or AAA story/length.



shikamaru317 said:
Ryuu96 said:

Size is often related but not a hard rule, that is my point, theoretically an AAA title could be made by a studio less than 100 employees because all AAA refers to is budget of a title but often sizes are larger than that because AAA is a lot of work. I don't think it's likely that this new studio stays at 30 FWIW...30 is their size upon creation, that's already quite large for a brand new studio.

There are a lot of studios with only 100-200 employees working on AAA titles. By the logic that size matters, Perfect Dark isn't an AAA title because The Initiative is only ~50 employees but that brings me onto my second point, that the size of the lead studio is an extremely poor method of determining a games total size nowadays with the sheer scale of outsourcing that goes on.

Sea of Thieves was made by a 100-200 Rare team, Hellblade 2 is being made by a 100-200 Ninja Theory team, Gears 4/5 was only in the 200s for The Coalition IIRC. None of these sizes that I'm listing though take into account outsourcing partners. The issue with the varying levels of AAA budgets is there isn't really a set rule on where the threshold is to turn something from AA-AAA, it's really developer decided but it doesn't change that it only means the budget of a title.

And my third point that when a studio calls themselves "AAA" all they mean is that they're working on an AAA IP...

Well, The Initiative is a bit of a unique case, much like Mistwalker was when they made Lost Odyssey. Both are smaller studios made up of mainly lead and senior devs, while most of the grunt work was being outsourced, with Mistwalker the grunt work was outsourced to Feelplus, with The Initiative it is outsourced to Crystal Dynamics (though some of the lead and senior devs on Perfect Dark are at Crystal, it's not all grunt work there). I think with The Initiative you need to take into account both the 50 current internal devs, and the likely team of 100-150 at Crystal Dynamics that is assisting on it.

Yup Yup...Forgot about Mistwalker which backs my point up a little more.

That is exactly my point though, it's rare and it's unique but it isn't impossible, Lighthouse could very well set themselves up like The Initiative and The Initiative's Perfect Dark is AAA. I don't think this is what Lighthouse Games is doing but I'm just saying, just because they're only 30 employees right now, doesn't mean they aren't AAA...When they say they're AAA, they just mean the game they're working on is AAA.

They've only just set themselves up, they could very well grow to over 100. We've no idea how much they plan on outsourcing either. But desires right now are to be AAA. I don't see why they should be doubted when investors are throwing dozens of millions lately, the Co-Founder of Playground is going to receive a lot of investment on top of the millions that Microsoft gave him for Playground Games, Lol.

I don't really think we are in a position to say to a studio claiming to be AAA "no, you're wrong" when we have no idea at all about their plans, investment, financials, etc.

I know that isn't what you're doing though.

Last edited by Ryuu96 - on 27 March 2023

This debate about AAA-AA is partly why I removed the AAA label from my independent studio list too.

There's sooo much debate about what it is, either it's about budget or quality, if it's about quality then people point out how there's small scaled titles that are often more polished than the majority of these titles labelled as "AAA" or AAA titles that are just straight up garbage overall. If we can agree it refers to budget then the debate becomes "how much budget" and none of us can answer that, Lol.

Last edited by Ryuu96 - on 27 March 2023