Do AAA studios commission small teams to make small scope projects?

Do AAA studios commission small teams to make small scope projects? Would doing this be a good way of mitigating financial risk, encourage experimentation and lvl up devs? How much cost and risk would be involved with asking a multi discipline team of 6 to produce a finished game in ~6 months? IMO AAA game design is skewed towards entertainment. It’s a shame because the infrastructure is crazy developed but the industry mostly uses it for trivial experiences. Where are the AAA art games?

 

Do AAA studios commission small teams to make small scope projects?

 

Sometimes. Several studios run “game jam” style events between major projects where the studio devs collectively spend some time doing cool things in small groups with the studio’s tech and cultivating new game ideas. These prototypes often inform or influence the studio’s next big projects. It is far less likely that AAA studios build small scope projects for public release. The AAA studio has this many devs because they need that many people to build a game with high production values.

While such practices are a good idea in general, it doesn’t really generate any studio revenue. Large studios burn through millions of dollars each month in expenses (primarily salary – 100 employees translates to about $1 million per month); something needs to be earning money constantly to keep the studio afloat.

 

How much cost and risk would be involved with asking a multi discipline team of 6 to produce a finished game in ~6 months?

 

It typically costs around $10,000 per month to employ a single developer, so a team of six developers for six months would cost approximately $360,000 (not including marketing costs for the game’s release). Risk factors would be things like platform and cert considerations, the genre and type of game, how the game earns its money (e.g. single purchase XBLA/PSN/WiiWare game? F2P microtransaction driven game? etc.), ongoing support costs, marketing costs, and so on. Many of the bigger publishers purposely avoid smaller scope titles because they get better return on investment from making the games bigger.

 

Where are the AAA art games?

 

The bare minimal budget for a AAA game these days (including marketing) is around $20 million. There aren’t a lot of publishers who are willing (or even able) to justify that kind of expenditure without some serious expected return on that investment. It’s practically impossible in a publicly traded company, because all employees have a fiduciary (and legal) duty to stockholders to maximize the return. “Art” makes people feel something but doesn’t necessarily translate to revenue. You’d probably need to convince some extremely wealthy private patrons to fund a AAA “art” game (and then release it to the public).


The FANTa Project is currently on hiatus while I am crunching at work too busy.

[What is the FANTa project?] [Git the FANTa Project]

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Source: askagamedev
Do AAA studios commission small teams to make small scope projects? Would doing this be a good way of mitigating financial risk, encourage experimentation and lvl up devs? How much cost and risk would be involved with asking a multi discipline team of 6 to produce a finished game in ~6 months? IMO AAA game design is skewed towards entertainment. It’s a shame because the infrastructure is crazy developed but the industry mostly uses it for trivial experiences. Where are the AAA art games?

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