Triple-A Ain't What it Used to Be

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Triple-A Ain't What it Used to Be

The decline in quality of AAA games has been a gradual process, and it is everybody's fault for letting it happen.

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xEightBitPlayerx

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This has been one of the better articles that I have read in awhile, and while I do enjoy playing Titanfall, I do see the hype around it quickly evaporating among my friends.
 

Sabin Felea

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"ut I think the larger problem is that the internet has ensured that we receive a constant stream of news about companies being terrible, and then it just becomes white noise. We can't get angry about all of it, so we just accept that this is what they do"

Fucking nailed it!!

I think the future will have different categories of games: those sold entirely on the basis of (empty-)spectacle and then the more layers you add to it like playtime, story, sandbox size, the more categories you will have and therefore different audiences. And I think this will happen regardless of whether the industry heads that way or not; these games will be categorised like that informaly, via web, or other non-standard channels.

There will be games that are set-driven and then there will be better games :>
 

themilo504

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I?m not guilty of anything since I never buy games at launch, if I think it?s good I will wait a few weeks until I know the general opinion.
 

sageoftruth

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Sabin Felea said:
"ut I think the larger problem is that the internet has ensured that we receive a constant stream of news about companies being terrible, and then it just becomes white noise. We can't get angry about all of it, so we just accept that this is what they do"
Wouldn't that kind of translate to "The problem is the Escapist"?
 
Jan 12, 2012
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"AAA" to me means the same thing as "blockbuster": it's massive production costs that may or may not lead to a good game. It's just slang for "we spent so much money on this, and on hyping it, that we can dominate the conversation for a brief period".

sageoftruth said:
Sabin Felea said:
"But I think the larger problem is that the internet has ensured that we receive a constant stream of news about companies being terrible, and then it just becomes white noise. We can't get angry about all of it, so we just accept that this is what they do"
Wouldn't that kind of translate to "The problem is the Escapist"?
Not necessarily; the Escapist is part of the visible problem, but the issue is rooted in the companies. We expect the Escapist to give us news, even if it isn't actually 'new'; we also expect that companies will change their behaviour when they get bad press that leads to losses. As it is, only the first part of that equation works. Companies often lose money on all but the best-selling AAA games because of the funds they pour into advertising and take away from actually making a good game, but they keep trying the same thing and expecting a different result. Hearing that companies are being terrible has become white noise not just to us, but to the companies themselves.
 

Terminate421

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Yahtzee I don't mean to be rude but there is a "Classic" tab underneath Campaign which gives you MORE things to do. Right?

Honestly it's not the "do each mission and mode" that makes it fun. It's the possibilities of approaching each objective/obstacle as to where I get my 60$ worth out of it.

Nothing has felt more rewarding than single handedly taking down a human-controlled Titan as a human myself with nothing but a Side Winder and a few Arc Grenades and the jet pack that allows me to parkour.
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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This article applies not just to games, but to films, books, TV. Pretty much everything in the arts that is subject to marketing. But business interests are, and have always been, separate from artistic interests. Why should that bother anyone? When you're experienced enough to see through the whole marketing facade, you're probably also mature enough to realise it's a necessary evil. Take that evil away and you've still got your good games being produced, so what difference does it make?

One thing's for sure, I'd say without the modern AAA market Yahtzee wouldn't have a career.
 

Casual Shinji

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SecretNegative said:
Strange how Yahtzee doesn't mention any specifics when AAA games used to be good, probably because then it'd be easy to debunk his argument.
That's what I was thinking.

Triple-A games have been getting ridiculous amounts of hype since the start of the 6th generation (and probably even before that, but at that time I wasn't aware of it). Anyone remember Metal Gear Solid 2? Remember how fucking crazy that shit got (before anyone got exposed to Raiden)?
 

remnant_phoenix

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Sabin Felea said:
"ut I think the larger problem is that the internet has ensured that we receive a constant stream of news about companies being terrible, and then it just becomes white noise. We can't get angry about all of it, so we just accept that this is what they do"

Fucking nailed it!!

I think the future will have different categories of games: those sold entirely on the basis of (empty-)spectacle and then the more layers you add to it like playtime, story, sandbox size, the more categories you will have and therefore different audiences. And I think this will happen regardless of whether the industry heads that way or not; these games will be categorised like that informaly, via web, or other non-standard channels.

There will be games that are set-driven and then there will be better games :>
It's like that in every other medium. It makes sense that video games will go there eventually.

In movies, you have Michael Bay films, and then you have big summer blockbusters that have substance to go with the style.

In magazines, you have any number of shallow gossip magazines, and then you have Popular Science.

In TV, there's reality TV junk and then there's stuff like Game of Thrones; both shows appeal to the masses taste for backstabbing and sex, but GoT delivers deeper exploration of human motivations and politics to go along with it.
 

GAunderrated

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sageoftruth said:
Sabin Felea said:
"But I think the larger problem is that the internet has ensured that we receive a constant stream of news about companies being terrible, and then it just becomes white noise. We can't get angry about all of it, so we just accept that this is what they do"
This was my favorite part of the article. Maybe I have nostalgia blinders on but before the Ps3 and 360 era whenever there was news about games it was usually new mechanics, something positive, or interesting. Now 95% of the news I see about anything gaming industry related is saying how they were wrong to screw their customers over before they go and do it again, EA doing something stupid again, and the occasional sexism debate.

Gaming news in my opinion has finally caught up to other news outlets where it is all negativity all the time. What this does to gamers is exactly what Yahtzee says. 24/7 negativity has now become white noise to gamers so now no matter how fucked up the game industry treats us, people cant get mad for longer than a day because another company will be fucking them over.

It is utterly disgusting to see those who accepted a big dick in their ass just because someone is lubing up every day to have a go at them.
 
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SecretNegative said:
Strange how Yahtzee doesn't mention any specifics when AAA games used to be good, probably because then it'd be easy to debunk his argument.

The mainstream blockbuster-like games have always been pretty generic, the great games have for the most parts either had some kind of figurehead looming over it (like Ken Levine, or Tim Schafer), be indie, and therefor extremely cherrypicked, or a company has atleast gone a little outside the extremely standard way of making games.

I don't know, I've always associated AAA with really high budget and marketed games, sort of like blockbuster movies or bestseller books, the most popular generic parts will always be a bit shite, and nothing has changed there since forever, so this complaint just seems a bit silly and I do think Yahtzee might wear a tiny Noastalgia-lens here.

That being said, I'm very happy that Yahtzee is what he is, it's very nice having a good way to filter out most of the crap, even though I do disagree with him among which the top games are, it's nice to have someone to just wipe away all the really ediocre and bad games.

That time when "AAA" Games were good was known as everything from the NES to the PS2. Sure, titles like Max Payne only innovated one thing (bullet time) but was an enjoyable, solid experience. Vs say, Ass Creed 3

And you can keep your titanfall, I'll be playing Virtual On MARS. Faster mechs, laser swords, the harrowing 3D mega man craziness of the last 2 levels, then the boss fight where you can also mag-lock to the ceiling.
 

hawk533

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Casual Shinji said:
SecretNegative said:
Strange how Yahtzee doesn't mention any specifics when AAA games used to be good, probably because then it'd be easy to debunk his argument.
That's what I was thinking.

Triple-A games have been getting ridiculous amounts of hype since the start of the 6th generation (and probably even before that, but at that time I wasn't aware of it). Anyone remember Metal Gear Solid 2? Remember how fucking crazy that shit got (before anyone got exposed to Raiden)?
Games were getting large amounts of hype in the PS1/N64 era and they sometimes actually delivered on it: FF7, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario 64, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. All games from AAA studios, made with AAA budgets and AAA marketing, but the games were actually good. So if you want a time when AAA games were actually good, that's it.
 

Thanatos2k

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I'm surprised we don't have a "J.D. Powers and Associates" for video games yet, a company whose only purpose is to give out hundreds of pointless bought awards so that companies can brag about them in their marketing.
 

shrekfan246

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I would agree and disagree.

On the one hand, it's hard to deny that games like Banjo-Tooie have for all intents and purposes disappeared. These days it's very rare to find a game which intertwines its world and various areas to that sort of degree in the effort of making what appears to be a living, breathing world.

But on the other hand, most games of the 80's and 90's were criminally short. Yahtzee should know better than most of us, given his track record of adventure games which he replays for the internet's amusement. Most of those games can clock in under 2 hours, and the only qualifier for it is "if you know what you're doing". Because that's how older games tended to seem like they had more content; They had such a prohibitively high difficulty curve that you could spend days, weeks, even months and never actually complete them. But once you know what to do, you can breeze through most of them in a single session.

The very late 90's/early 00's are a better comparison, because that's when you have the Deus Exes, the Baldur's Gates, the Banjo-Kazooies, but even still it's not as if there were no games made during that time which clocked in with really low average play-times. I don't feel it's a particularly new thing for games to be released with a "smaller" amount of gameplay, and I'm not sure that having less content is inherently a bad thing.

Arguably when the title is still being sold at $60+, it is, and admittedly AAA publishers are too afraid of collapsing to even dare attempting other price models that aren't somehow even more exploitative, but I often find that games which try cramming in tons of extra content to justify their price end up feeling too poorly paced or stuffed with useless filler. Arkham City's sandbox may have been relatively small, but I liked it for that because it felt like I was always making progress in one way or another, whereas in something like Grand Theft Auto or Assassin's Creed or Saints Row: The Third or even Sleeping Dogs, most of the side stuff just feels like they tossed it in because that's what sandbox games are supposed to do.