Red Dead Redemption was recently released after an 8 year development cycle. While that sounds like an eternity, and it is, it is hardly alone in the world of video game development. It seems that there is no end to the scope creep of games, but are we about to hit a wall where developer ambitions and player demand goes head-to-head with practical realities? On today’s show, we explore the rise of the long development cycle, its impact on games, and some ideas on the way forward.
In our 2nd episode, we had a discussion about difficulty in video games. Since then, some of the biggest game developers are changing their philosophy of how address this fundamental topic to games of every genre. Despite selectable difficulty not being a new concept, today’s games are experimenting with adaptable difficulty, scaling it in real-time based on your performance. While this approach inevitably leads to more players seeing the content that developers spend years creating without inducing player frustration, there are also drawbacks. In our assignments segment, Chris gives us the low down on Uncharted: Lost Legacy.
It was recently announced that Visceral Games is being shuttered by EA. This is a developer that made 90+ Metacritic rated games throughout the Dead Space franchise history, selling nearly 5 million copies to date by estimates. There was a time in gaming history when 1 million copies of any game would have spawned an endless stream of sequels and spinoffs, yet today it results in everyone losing their jobs. In this episode, we ask, “what’s the deal with the major publishers?” How good is good enough, and is it even possible to justify trying to make a “Triple A” game in today’s market. In the assignments segment, Aaron shares his “love” for Raiden V.
When we got into the hobby, credit screens in video games were often short enough to memorize. It’s a big part of the reason we all know about the Miyamotos and Sakaguchis of the world alongside the entire Mortal Kombat development team (Noob Saibot!). Nowadays, credit screens often exceed the actually length of the game ending and are so bloated that you wonder how the finished product was ever cobbled together. In this episode, Aaron and Chris discuss the impact of outsourcing of game development: is it a critical piece to ensuring our beloved AAA games come to fruition, or do developers need to focus on more important aspects of their game development process? In our assignments segment, Chris describes the joy that is Thimbleweed Park.