AAA games dying out, says Assassin's Creed III director

Alex Hutchinson claims Ubisoft's new stealth-action game is the "last of the dinosaurs."

AAA games are on their way out, according to Assassin's Creed III creative director Alex Hutchinson. Speaking to Edge, the Ubisoft developer said that big-budget projects like this October's new Assassin's Creed game are fading fast.

AAA projects like Assassin's Creed III won't be around for much longer, Hutchinson claims.

"We're the last of the dinosaurs," Hutchinson said. "We're still the monster triple-A game with very large teams [and] multiple studios helping out on different bits. There are fewer and fewer of these games being made, especially as the middle has fallen out."

This is not the first time Hutchinson has envisioned a future where AAA titles will fade out. During the 2012 Game Developers Conference, the designer said the pursuit of big-budget projects is a "kind of cancerous growth…that will leave AAA blockbusters as nothing more than the last of the dinosaurs."

Set during the American Revolution, Assassin's Creed III features a new protagonist named Connor who will involve himself in the ongoing struggle between the Templars and the Assassins. The game, due October 30, is being built by Ubisoft Montreal and six collaborating studios on a new engine called Ubisoft-AnvilNext.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Assassin's Creed III

Assassin's Creed III

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americanchiff
americanchiff

Oh so what the hell is Far Cry 3 lol. Same publisher, idiots.

xzzzaaasss
xzzzaaasss

This is silly. They're not dying, they're just resyncing the market to meet *actual* demand for AAA titles. The reality is that over the last few years there have been way too many AAA games out there, and companies are realizing the market is oversaturated. Eventually they will start dropping projects until a few more years down the road where there is another opening in the market, and you will see yet another flood of AAA titles. Ebb and flow of markets, people.

ash162
ash162

AAA games will not die out unless the companies wish it too. The current game execs see more profit in an internet and mobile based gaming 'cause it uses less resources and the casual crowd will spend money on any crap. There is no value for them in telling beautiful and majestic stories with visceral gameplay.

division_9
division_9

The awkward moments when Assassin's Creed's director says AAA games are dying.

Sweendrix
Sweendrix

I think that Zelda for the Wii-U with rekindle the dinosaur flame. 

Defender1978
Defender1978

Screw this!!! I'm hooking up my NES and Turbografx 16 right now. 

truecross
truecross

AAA games are dying out when companies are massively sucking every penny out of gamers with DLC, even DLC and pre-order bonuses that do not even make much sense? You have the money, what the heck is he complaining about, talk about an annoying quote.

Ghetto_ninja
Ghetto_ninja

Are you kidding me? How can you say this in a year that has seen and will see more triple AAA releases than ever? Mass Effect 3, Black Ops 2, Borderlands 2 just to name a few.  We are late in the current gens life  cycle meaning that more IP's can survive because were at the peak of this gens user base. It may be the end of AAA titles for this gen but they've already announced Bayonetta 2 exclusively for Wii U. Maybe not Triple A, but certainly a high profile title and a favorite among hardcore action crowds. 

Pyro978
Pyro978

AAA games are dying because you have companies like activision pumping out a AAA game each year that is a reskin of a previous game. Or you have a sequal for a sequal for a sequal. These companies need to come up with new ideas. I know it's tough but hey....

csward
csward

Well Alex Hutchinson is a fool. There will always be AAA games, just like there have always been AAA movies. 

 

The movie industry is experiencing the same problem - a lack of quality in the middle and more competition than ever for our entertainment dollars.

 

If game companies focused on doing a few things really well and built on that rather than trying to make an epic out of the gate, the industry would be better of. Plus, we have a very long console cycle, slow economy, overpriced console games, ect. to deal with. Why charge $60 for a Battlefield or COD clone when it's not as good?

In my opinion, the mean price for console games should be $40, not $60

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

I think the cost into making games is much to high. Also developers ruined most of the AAA titles in the end. Alex is feeling his age..

Coren_Larken
Coren_Larken

Hmm...

I've thought about this, but at the same time, it seems there are still plenty of AAA games coming out. They seem to make a good bit of money. Weird. I might have more to say if I knew the actual financials behind it. But I really can't see the industry without games such as Halo, Battlefield, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy, etc.

 

Jinzo_111887
Jinzo_111887

Old news. However, he might be on to something. Make cheaper games that are worth selling at $40 at the most and abandon the online pass and other abusive DRM. If they start treating people with respect, they could still be success without making games that have to sell like crazy just to break even.

eliebaz
eliebaz

I believe that people have become more business orientated over the past decade or so, and therefore want to produce games in batches rather than good quality games like how they used to be made. The problem is I believe that they've got their resources too spread out to be able to make a productive and good game, and I also feel producers are focused on all the wrong things many people feel that because technology is advancing so should games, they focus too much on the technical aspects like online gaming, different features to make a game exciting but there's a reason why many people prefer old school games because whatever they did worked and there's no reason to change it sometimes you've just got to take a step back and realize it's not all about money and games should differ not by the way they're played but by the way they're told which is a key point most producers are missing or maybe that's just my perspective being a story driven fan :P 

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

That's because AAA games usually had something big, new and exciting to offer. Every gamer now knows that the industry has run out of ideas.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

FYI people, "AAA" refers to a game's budget. Not its quality.

ColoradoKindBud
ColoradoKindBud

Wow, pretty presumptious.  Yeah, AC1 & 2 were good, the other "filler" games were total crap IMO.  Now 3 does look pretty awesome to me, but I don't think this series will stand the test of time like other true AAA titles that come to mind.  Damn, gotta love that hyperbole.

lordvulcan
lordvulcan

Assassins creed 3 is not what I would consider an AAA title. They've been going downhill fast with yearly releases and tacked on MP modes leeching the quality from the games SP component {which has remained largely stagnant with the overuse of AC 2's protagonist. We should not have had brotherhood or revelations and they should have started work on 3 once 2 was done and not produced filler games that have tarnished the franchises reputation with many gamers. 

 

In ten years time gamers will still look fondly on games that they enjoyed. I don't see any AC game being thought of with the same fondness as the true greats of gaming.

mr111111
mr111111

im gonna go play chrono cross again

swyg
swyg

Don't kid yourself, Hutchinson.  AC hasn't passed the test of time yet to be considered one of the classic "dinosaurs".  Yeah we see what you did there MFer.

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

Wow, modest much, Mr. Director? 

 

There's plenty of AAA gaming out there... most of which doesn't have a Ubisoft logo on the cover. Like the AC series. Great games, but certainly not AAA titles.

isshiah
isshiah

i don't know about anyone else, but i'm a big fan of the AC games. granted, the last two were stretched thin, but i still find the history/conspiracy story interesting. i mean running around rome with leonardo da vinci? hell yes.

brynhyfryd
brynhyfryd

Why are AAA games failing.

 

1.Greedy publishers.

2.Not listening to gamers.

3.Rehashes and generic sequels.

4.Huge advertising budgets to try to hype crappy games.

5.Inefficient development practices wasting huge resources and costs.

6.Push toward digital only and online only games turning all games into a multiplayer fest.

7.Draconian DRM.

8.Requiring and having to register a client to install and play games. EG origin, U play, Steam ETC even if purchased at retail.

9.Day 1 DLC, Online passes and cutting crucial gameplay elements to sell later.

10. The push to FTP model to rape customers so neglecting AAA development.

11. Blame all failures on the gamer and not facing up to your own mistakes.

nisgos
nisgos

Yes AAA games will die out and everyone will just begin to play angry birds.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I swear this guy comes out with this stuff just to get his name in the news. The cheap download games for the casual gamers seem to have peaked; people are growing tired of CoD and looking at the line-up of games for the future I'd say the big budget games that get more than a week's development time are having a resurgence. I've probably said it before but I'm going to say it again: shut up Hutchinson.

DeltaMike90
DeltaMike90

So no more AC and CoD Modern Ripoff? GOOD! As others have noted, AAA games are dying because YOU KILLED THEM!

And they're dumb. Why spend so much on "cool" production when you can make a better game for less?

I preferred when games were run on sensible budgets anyway. The first CoD games were like that, and they were awesome.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

I think what he meant was Assassin's Creed 3 is dying out. Primarily beacause they're all frickin boring. and have been since the first, they churn em out like cod with nothing new, and whilst the premise and general gameplay elements of the series in general are quite fun and rewarding, it's 30+ hours of the same thing again and again, and it's just boring. AC has outlived it's welcome as far as I am concerned.

junglist101
junglist101

Big surprise.   Another news article about how gaming is doomed or certain games are doomed.  Followed I'm sure by some article that says they expect gamers to number in the billions in the future.  Why would they ever stop producing these cash cow AAA games?  They bring in HUNDREDS of millions...

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Tried multiple times to get into Assassins Creed and each time just get bored.. given up on the series now.

 

I don't think AAA games will disappear, it's just a matter of companies produce the same crap year after year and then expect people to buy it.  How Call of Duty has done so well is beyond me..

 

Look at Rockstar, they take several years to produce each title and all of them sell like hot-cakes.  Innovation progresses gaming, annual titles don't.

 

Put the effort in and the customers will react, the only reason sales might be slowing is because we're getting bored!

Mr_Bodywave
Mr_Bodywave

There will be a market for AAA games.  If anything they will start making even more money as more money will be funnelled into fewer AAA games.

boredom_kills
boredom_kills

It's just business. A AAA game costs millions and millions of dollars to make - and we're reaching a point where a SINGLE failure can impact on a studio so badly that it's continued existence is no longer financially viable. As that happens, less and less people will be willing to invest in the risk of AAA games development, as games like Angry Birds etc offer the chance for similar returns on a much smaller investment. Less investment in AAA games means less AAA games being made, which means they're dying out.

 

I don't want it to go that way - I love AAA games - but at the moment, that's the way the market is dictating the businesses to go.

noigel
noigel

You (and companies like you) killed the AAA games... squeezing the pockets of your fans without giving them anything in exchange... you don't know what I'm talking about? I'm talking about AC:Brotherhood and AC:Revelations (for example).

 

Anybody concerned not only with killing lots of people would notice that AC should have been a trilogy (not a "pentalogy" or more), that in the 2 mentioned games there's been nothing new about the main story, that the protagonist has gone from a silent assassin with a code of honor (Altair - AC) to a Terminator running around the battlefield (Connor - AC3) without forgetting the mass murderer vengeful posh brawler with no honor at all that was Ezio Auditore da Firenze (AC2a, AC2b, AC2c), and that the main story itself is so crapy that not even B-movies would use the script... think about it... a waiter (Desmond) trying to defeat the sun and the templars... what? trying that he fails so the sun explodes and kills us all? Yeah... very clever... maybe those millions should be spent in creating good stories and good co-op multiplayer (AC could perfectly use co-op MP in the main story) instead of wasting money in marketing or unnecessary half complete features like the actual MP or the new "brawler mode" (whatever you call it)...

 

...or maybe you should learn from Hollywood (something I never thought I would say to anyone...) they do all these multi-million dollar productions and it looks that they're not doing bad at all financially speaking...

iAmristar
iAmristar

Which means all games in the future will be as simple and boring as Angry Birds.

Blue_Tomato
Blue_Tomato

I'm thinking indie games with no imagination with a huge marketing budget now.... In many ways the world is going backwards. It i like all the big restaurants are starting to make fast food, and just focusing on brand building.

pqwoei
pqwoei

The guy is just bitchin cause he's running out of ideas for a game

hartattk
hartattk

Perhaps big budget games would be more viable if half the budget wasn't spent on advertising. The "casual" market has been taken over by facebook/mobiles and therefore adverts will be less effective. There needs to be a switch to pushing games for "gamers" and development needs to change to reflect that too.

unreal_master
unreal_master

This is a joke article right? Anyone can name plenty of AAA titles that are coming out between now and 2013 if not 2014.

Overlord93
Overlord93

Good. Now make something original.

Justinps2hero
Justinps2hero

A-creed, monster AAA titles, oh my life, this guy should work for EA at bull-poo central.

One good game stretched too far would be my observation.

xxalucard66xx
xxalucard66xx

I don't think that "AAA" titles are going to go extinct, though the idea behind it is definitely going to change.  In my opinion I think we'll move closer to and closer to games that can be of great quality but done by a small group of people.  An example would be Orcs Must Die, I had an insane amount of fun with that game, more so then CoD and such.  

AntiVenom101
AntiVenom101

A new Metal Gear Solid game was announced. Therefore, what Hutchinson said is invalid...for now.

 

All jokes aside, I kinda DO feel what Hutchinson is saying, seeing how a lot of game dev's are moving onto 'casual' form of gaming and such....

Vodoo
Vodoo

Somebody stick this tool on the mobile dev team and lets move on.

kelt321
kelt321

I play AAA games exclusively as well. My time is too precious to waste on other low grade games, which are just not fun for me.

oflow
oflow

i'll agree with that statement.  In the past year the majority of the games that I have found really fun and creative have been indie games.

 

The problem with the AAA games is that they get too caught up in graphics and try to pass that off as good gameplay. As a gamer that started gaming in the 70s, I tend to feel that graphics are nice but gameplay is better. Not saying I dont like graphics since there are some AAA titles that do both (GoW, Halo, CoD, BF3, Uncharted, Arkham City) but usually they dont live up to the hype because game mechanics get strangled by the visuals.  

 

In the larger scope of actually creating games, its probably more profitable to make a good indie game with a low production budget that sells 300,000 copies than it is to spend $200mil making a game then lose money when it doesnt sell well.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

The problem, as I see it, is they put astronomical amount of money to make polished thurd that everyone buy because it is shiny. Did someone saw the Last Transformers movie ? ... it was just a bunch of nicely done effect and explosion, no story, no nothing but it cost astornomical amount of money because of all those special effects. It is the same thing with video game, many AAA game are just boring but soe beautiful to look at that everyone buy without thinking. It is the same thing with music, those "big artist" have very well produced music but it is very bad music ... just think of NIkki MInaj ... all flashy but no substance.

 

I bought the Journey Collector's Edition last week. those game are really short, like 1h30 to finish one. But they are fun, they have emotion, epic moment and a very creative visual that add to the uniqueness of those game, also the music is really beautiful and just add to the experiance. I played Journey a lot in the past week like more than 20h. It is just wonderful. How long I played Halo 3 ? just enough to finish the campaign and never played after, it is just too empty. I also had a hard time going through Devil May Cry 4 ... it was bad ... and in the same time I had a blast playing Mega Man 9.

 

So in all, they put a lot of money to make great control and very shiny new super ultra graphics but forgot everything else that would make those game great. Remember FF XIII ? that game took at least 100h to get everything and every throphies/acheivements but that game was so boring and shallow BUT it had shiny new super ultra graphics and cost astronomical amount of money just because of that.

hajjjustin
hajjjustin

i dont agree with this guy at all, its not that AAA games are dying out, its that we are in a bad economic time, companies are dont want to take risk on new IP because of money contrants, when the economy recovers there will be a hole new round of AAA games. if this guy cant see that thats the real issue here then he should pick a new line of work. or he just one of those guys that wants to jump on teh mobile band wagon.

 

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

The unspoken assumption here is that the audience for 3A games is declining. However, as someone who plays 3A games exclusively, I will not shift my support to some inferior platform. I am confident that people in the industry are aware of gamers like myself, and will not abandon the market.