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Ex-Battlefield Designer: AAA Projects Only Stifle Creativity

We've definitely heard this before from noted designers.

This time it's former Battlefield 3 lead designer David Goldfarb, who tells that big-budget projects inhibit creativity:

"I think the risk/reward for the companies that can spend the marketing money and that have big successful franchises, for them it's still worth laying out that investment. But for people who don't have that kind of capital, you're not really in a practical success loop. AAA is the equivalent of the One Percent right now. It comes with all these caveats. You can't make the crazy stuff really."

Last year, Goldfarb left Overkill Software and made it plain that he was "abandoning AAA." Many other developers, including Metal Gear Solid legend Hideo Kojima have shared Goldfarb's sentiments in the past, saying it's difficult to have creative freedom when you work on such a gigantic scale. Added Goldfarb:

"I do think there's a spot between the $100-$200 million dollar AAA games and the $1 million indie games that is not being adequately explored. To me that's a really rich field to plow and you can do awesome stuff there."

If more big-budget games keep falling shy of expectations - something that has happened quite a bit early on in this new generation - you might start seeing more of those mid-buget games. And they might be a welcome sight, especially for those who pine for more innovation and originality in the industry.

Tags: gaming industry, aaa games, video games, david goldfarb

2/22/2015 9:48:32 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (6 posts)

Sunday, February 22, 2015 @ 10:56:02 PM

I think it has been proven that on a smaller budget you can make a great game.

I think the devs need to spend the money more wisely, I think voice acting has gotten out of hand lately. Yes Kevin Spacy did a great job but you could get someone really good for way less of the cost.

Also they need to start exploring different gameplay mechanics. Steam Greenlight has shown me that a small team with a small budget can do wildly creative things.

I would love to see what Naughty Dog could come up with if they had NO pressure, 100% free reign to make whatever they could dream up.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015 @ 11:46:30 PM

I also wonder how much Konami pay Kiefer Sutherland to play snake, 5-6 million maybe?

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Monday, February 23, 2015 @ 10:14:39 AM

Probably way more than is really necessary. Even if he does a better job conveying emotion than Hayter they could probably have saved that money and spent it elsewhere.

That being said the new MGS and MGO look dope.

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Monday, February 23, 2015 @ 5:20:52 PM

it certainly would be interesting to see what ND would do if they could do watever they wanted

happy gaming

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Monday, February 23, 2015 @ 5:19:58 PM

this is true atleast in my estimation that the risk reward is much more prone to endless rehashes so not much creativity is really allowed

happy gaming

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Monday, February 23, 2015 @ 5:59:56 PM

While I can agree to an extent, I don't think AAA games entirely spoil the gaming world. It's sad that what's now considered an indie game coincides with garbage for a lot of people. PS+ free games are a great example of it. Despite how fun and engaging an indie might be, there's this taboo about openly endorsing such games.

That said, the emphasis on AAA has left the developers leashed to a few aspects of the game and dismissed a lot of the mechanics as the sacrificial lamb.

Sad, really. A lot of what I tend to enjoy about indie games happen to remind me of the innocent days of gaming. I really do miss the old days. Every system had its perks and owning all of them was every gamers dream.

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