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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Warner Bros. to double down on live-services after Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League tanks

Soundwave said:

Metroid still can't sell over 5 million reliably. 

Which backs the point that games shouldn't have exploding budgets. Because if Metroid would cost as much as Suicide Squad it wouldn't exist at all. The big budget game trend means, we will have less and less game series, as only a few are profitable with that. So yeah, let's support low budget games, as this means more diversity!



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Soundwave said:
curl-6 said:

Wii/DS being "casual" doesn't mean they magically don't exist. 

Metroid is a niche series, that's got nothing to do with the viability of non-AAA games.

The idea that publishers absolutely must spend hundreds of millions of dollars per title to make their games sell, and that therefore their only choice is to make live service games is ridiculous and false. 

There are countless popular games that are not AAA.

How many "countless popular" games that are not AAA can you list that aren't

A) Made By Nintendo

B) Don't Rely On Existing, Established License with nostalgia attached to it

C) Not low-cost "indie" games

There's not actually a ton. 

Not many games exist that are *not* big AAA games inside the big AAA game industry. What a surprise. LOL.

I have more shocking news: not many ravens exist if you look at doves, not many trees if you look at grass and not many fish if you look at mountains.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

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JRPGfan said:
curl-6 said:

I kinda doubt Ratchet cost anywhere near what Spiderman or God of War or COD cost, is what I meant.

And yeah you can have great graphics nowadays without breaking the bank, provided you keep your scope under control. We saw this last gen with Hellblade, and more recently with Plague Tale.

Too many fully open world games, and too many side quests / content.

Hell look at something like DQ11.
‘I felt that rather than spread our effort across a breadth of things, we’d rather concentrate everything on the story’ - Yuji Horii

“If you’re going for a completely open world, there’s obviously a development cost attached to that, affecting where you spend your time and effort.” 
- Yuji Horii

Basically open world games, can limit you, in story telling.  And theres tons of extra work, makeing lots of these little shallow story elements, that need to be everywere.  Sometimes a more focused approach, is going to offer better results, and require less work overall.

Does DQ11 feel limited in anyway as you explore that world? nah.
Does it have Photo realistic graphics? nope, doesn't need it either (infact it would be odd, or bad if they chased that)

I read online people are saying a game like DQ11 isn't even AAA.... I guess I dont even know what AAA is anymore.
I just know I like it, it feels polished.

The same is true with Photo realistic graphics..... not every game needs it, and the costs it takes.
If game devs are worried about costs, the first things they should look at, is scope (as you mentioned), and really "does it need to be open world?" , "does it need photo realistic graphics?".


Hell I love alot of those old school rpgs, with the 2D backgrounds from the PS1-2 days.
If your budget is really tight, why not try some of the tricks that worked then?
Pretty sure you could make use of the same techniques today and still get good results.

Wholly agree.  Some games are amazing as open world high cost.  But not everything needs to be.  DQ11 was superb.  I recently loved Triangle Strategy and cocoon.  Hades 2 will be superb as well.  

First question a developer should ask themselves is scope.  I get tired of 40 hour games that have 20 hours of good content and 20 hours of fluff.  



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Chrkeller said:
JRPGfan said:

Too many fully open world games, and too many side quests / content.

Hell look at something like DQ11.
‘I felt that rather than spread our effort across a breadth of things, we’d rather concentrate everything on the story’ - Yuji Horii

“If you’re going for a completely open world, there’s obviously a development cost attached to that, affecting where you spend your time and effort.” 
- Yuji Horii

Basically open world games, can limit you, in story telling.  And theres tons of extra work, makeing lots of these little shallow story elements, that need to be everywere.  Sometimes a more focused approach, is going to offer better results, and require less work overall.

Does DQ11 feel limited in anyway as you explore that world? nah.
Does it have Photo realistic graphics? nope, doesn't need it either (infact it would be odd, or bad if they chased that)

I read online people are saying a game like DQ11 isn't even AAA.... I guess I dont even know what AAA is anymore.
I just know I like it, it feels polished.

The same is true with Photo realistic graphics..... not every game needs it, and the costs it takes.
If game devs are worried about costs, the first things they should look at, is scope (as you mentioned), and really "does it need to be open world?" , "does it need photo realistic graphics?".


Hell I love alot of those old school rpgs, with the 2D backgrounds from the PS1-2 days.
If your budget is really tight, why not try some of the tricks that worked then?
Pretty sure you could make use of the same techniques today and still get good results.

Wholly agree.  Some games are amazing as open world high cost.  But not everything needs to be.  DQ11 was superb.  I recently loved Triangle Strategy and cocoon.  Hades 2 will be superb as well.  

First question a developer should ask themselves is scope.  I get tired of 40 hour games that have 20 hours of good content and 20 hours of fluff.  

Yeah Triangle Strategy is pretty good too.
Currently playing Unicorn overlord and loveing that.

So graphics arn't everything (to me atleast).



JRPGfan said:
Chrkeller said:

Wholly agree.  Some games are amazing as open world high cost.  But not everything needs to be.  DQ11 was superb.  I recently loved Triangle Strategy and cocoon.  Hades 2 will be superb as well.  

First question a developer should ask themselves is scope.  I get tired of 40 hour games that have 20 hours of good content and 20 hours of fluff.  

Yeah Triangle Strategy is pretty good too.
Currently playing Unicorn overlord and loveing that.

So graphics arn't everything (to me atleast).

Unicorn is on my list.  Probably summer after paper mario and LM2.  Looks really good.  



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The other problem is a lot of these studios even with smaller scale games see exploding budgets. Control was 30 million, Alan Wake 2 is 75 million, their next game is probably north of 100 million.

If you have success as a studio, it costs money to retain the talent you have, you have to pay those people otherwise they can just walk to another studio, they already have the work they did for you on their resume and will easily get a job somewhere else if the studio is doing impressive work.

You can push people to work for less when you are a small studio and everyone is trying to make a name for themselves or just happy to have a job, once you break through and have more success in the industry, those people will then say "hey, we want to be paid more fairly for all the overtime and extra work we've done on the next game". And they're right to do that.

So even if you find a way with a smaller, lower cost studio to pump out some smaller scale nice looking games, the budgets will catch up to you in the long run if you have success, because with success comes an obligation to pay people more in line with what everyone else does or you can lose those people. 

And then there's also continuing pressure if you have some success with one game to raise the bar with the next one, which inevitably leads to having to hire more people and become even bigger, then the cycle repeats, those people have to be paid more as time goes on, then you're under pressure to top your last game and now have to go a little bigger in scope, oh now there's a hardware cycle refresh, now budgets double/triple, etc. etc. etc. It never ends. 

If you're an established big ticket studio like Insomniac your baseline is getting to $150+ million for new game no matter what because of your past success. To retain your staff and keep hiring new staff to keep up with graphics/scope demand, you're basically stuck not being able to go below that. Someone asked why Spider-Man Remastered cost like 40 million just for a remaster, that's probably a big reason why.

Last edited by Soundwave - on 16 March 2024

Soundwave said:
RedKingXIII said:

Control was also "cheap" and was made with a $30 million budget. The insane thing is Spiderman Remastered had a budget of $39m according to the Insomniac leak. A freaking remaster. It cost more to make than a brand new game.

Control is also a game that largely takes place in a very confined environment (an office tower) and can be beaten in 5-7 hours so it doesn't have the scope/scale of Spider-Man. Also Remedy being based in Finland probably helps them, not too many game studios in Finland, so if you have some artistic talent and don't want to move to a different country, working for them is probably your best bet even if the salary may not be as high. Whereas if you're a game designer/artist whatever in the UK, USA, France, Japan, etc. you will have multiple big studios bidding for your talent, so they have to pay you well to keep you or you can just walk elsewhere. 

A remaster of a existing game where the main things they added are ray tracing and a new Peter model should cost less than making a new game.

It also should be a smaller project than Control, even though it is game with a small scope made in Finland.

But no, instead... it's a $39m game. They didn't even remade anything from the ground up. It's a simple remaster.



RedKingXIII said:
Soundwave said:

Control is also a game that largely takes place in a very confined environment (an office tower) and can be beaten in 5-7 hours so it doesn't have the scope/scale of Spider-Man. Also Remedy being based in Finland probably helps them, not too many game studios in Finland, so if you have some artistic talent and don't want to move to a different country, working for them is probably your best bet even if the salary may not be as high. Whereas if you're a game designer/artist whatever in the UK, USA, France, Japan, etc. you will have multiple big studios bidding for your talent, so they have to pay you well to keep you or you can just walk elsewhere. 

A remaster of a existing game where the main things they added are ray tracing and a new Peter model should cost less than making a new game.

It also should be a smaller project than Control, even though it is game with a small scope made in Finland.

But no, instead... it's a $39m game. They didn't even remade anything from the ground up. It's a simple remaster.

The Insomniac staff have likely earned multiple pay raises over the years as the studio has grown. You either pay those people what the feel they are owed or you let them go, but you let them go and what is your studio then if you're losing a lot of your talent. 

CD Projekt Red also has kinda gone through this, when Witcher 3 was started the main team had 150 people and the game cost $81 million dollars. The team grew to 250 people over the course of Witcher 3's development. 

Cyberpunk 2077 cost $340 mill (marketing included) with DLC, but that's all-in more than 4x the budget of Witcher 3. Huge increase. The same team by next year will have about 450 people on it. I'm gonna guess Witcher 4 is not going to cost any less than Cyberpunk 2077 did, probably talking a 400 million dollar+ budget, maybe 500 mill+. 

Those people earning 100k, 150k, 250k+ per year ... they got to be paid every 2-4 weeks on the clock. Maybe 5-6 years ago they were at only making 75k. But when you have success as a studio, you have to pay more to keep your staff and then you also have to pay more to bring on new staff because they will want to be paid comparably to other people within the company. 

Last edited by Soundwave - on 16 March 2024

Soundwave said:
JRPGfan said:

It wasn't really a graphically wow peice though.
I say something like Alan Wake, if you wanted to use a xbox title with great graphics, could be mentioned.
Honestly dont think Starfield is in the same league (if your compairing to the avatar game).

And I agree with you, that graphics arn't at a point where theres insane benefits from chaseing the highest tier of graphics.
Does it help a game like Cyberpunk sell? without a doubt though.
Avatar looking the way it does, probably didn't cost it any sales either.... people will always want good looking games.

Starfields problems arn't its graphics, its just the story and gameplay arn't great.... decent/good at best.
So it came and went, and was forgotten.

Alan Wake is definitely one of the better looking games out there, though they "cheat" quite a bit with limited scope/environments (game is basically a forest and a small town lol) ... and it didn't even chart in the top 20 for its release month. Which kind of proves the point. 

Starfield is an example of the problem with AAA big budget development ... you spend a ton of money but a few things are off and the game is likely a disaster for Microsoft at this point money wise. $400 million+ budget probably needed 12-15 million in sales, they really were probably anticipating 20+ million in sales. I don't think they're even close to that, no wonder a PS5/Switch 2 ports are heavily rumored. 

Avatar I don't think is going to sell enough to cover its budget or maybe just barely. It debuted at a luke warm no.6 on Circana charts and then was never seen again. 

The funny thing is if you look at Circana/NPD's player engagement charts (what gamers are actually playing the most), several other interesting trends stand out:

For people dumb founded as to why developers like GAAS, the proof is right there, look at what kids are freaking playing the most. ROBLOX is another one that doesn't get talked about, but way more people would rather play this:

Than this:

It's not even close either, lol, Roblox is way, way, way, way, more popular with the up and coming generation of gamers. And Roblox looks so bad it makes some of the LEGO games look great, lulz. 

I rather play neither one.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

Unfortunately tools just didn't mature enough to keep development time and costs reasonable if your game's scope and graphics are very high. Top graphics (technical) in turn won't wow as much as the old days due in part to diminishing returns (and yet CGI detail remains hilariously above realtime).

I for one feel that we've reached the point where sense of scale, artstyle, and animations trump any other technical aspect. Hi-Fi Rush is a more beautiful than most AAA games out there. And FF7 Rebirth, whose graphics/resolution got shat on in Resetera and DigitalFoundry, had breathtaking environments that gave me more goosebumps than anything I can remember in recent memory. Thinking about it now, every game whose visuals gave me the chills since the PS4 launched is one that didn't get praised for its technical prowess. The Last Guardian, Bloodborne, NieR Automata, Sekiro, Tears of the Kingdoom, and now FF7 Rebirth.

Last edited by Kyuu - on 16 March 2024