Triple-A Game Development is "Nearly Unsustainable"

Gears of War mastermind Cliff Bleszinski, whose Boss Key Studios is currently at work on the team-based multiplayer FPS LawBreakers, warned during an address at the Reboot Develop conference that the triple-A game development business "is a nearly unsustainable model." As reported by GamesIndustry, Bleszinski compared the top tier of the industry to the American restaurant scene: "They're not bad, they're not great, they're just there." 

It's not an unfamiliar argument: Games development is hideously expensive, and the games themselves aren't cheap. "$60 is still a lot of money to ask people for. And to ask them to make that bet multiple times per year? Gamers are picky, they're smart," he said. "This is a nearly unsustainable model, unless you're an Activision, 2K or a Sony." 

That, naturally, leads to imitation rather than innovation, as developers and publishers who can't afford a flop—all but the biggest and richest of them, in other words—aim for the safety of familiarity. To get away from that, he suggested smaller studios aim for what he called double-A development: "Games that look and play great but pick their battles in terms of budget and marketing," and that are typically digital exclusive and/or free to play, like Warframe, Rocket League and Rust.