The rise in cost of AAA game development is "kind of a bummer," Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin told Game Informer in a new interview. He explained that while Activision is a big enough publisher to endure amidst ballooning budgets, not all are so fortunate.
"It's a scary thing, and I'll take my Call of Duty hat off for a second here, but games are becoming harder to make and more expensive to make. And I feel like smaller studios are having trouble. I can't speak for them, but I would think they are having trouble making big games that hit the big AAA market because they're harder to do."
"It is kind of a bummer that games are getting so hard and difficult to make," he added. "People want better and better graphics, they want more realistic looking art assets, and that comes at a cost and that's a hard thing to have to deal with."
"It makes it more difficult for us, so I know it's more difficult for other people as well. The big companies can manage that; we can cover our costs if the costs go up; other studios may not be able to. "
Not all would agree with Rubin's assertion. Capybara Games president Nathan Vella told GameSpot this month that for smaller independent developers, "the opportunities are wider than they've ever been to be financially successful."
Rubin acknowledged that other companies see the success of Call of Duty and want to match it, but said this can be a troublesome pursuit for creators.
"Companies, big publishers, want to enjoy that kind of Call of Duty success. From a purely artistic standpoint that bothers me a little bit because I want games to just do what they want to do," Rubin said. "Developers should be able to do what they want to do and do what they feel that they do well. "
"Yes, we're successful at it. And yes, our game makes a lot of money," he added. "But we still just love making games."
Discussing the crossgenerational Call of Duty: Ghosts specifically, Rubin said Infinity Ward underestimated what it was getting into at the onset of development.
"Everything that we're doing in this game took way longer than we expected. This is the hardest game I've ever worked on," Rubin said. "It's good for us. And it's also tough because we really underestimated what we were getting into."
Though Infinity Ward is leading development on Call of Duty: Ghosts, the studio is receiving assistance from Neversoft and Raven. These studios are "heavily involved" in the development process and are not merely outsource facilities, Rubin said.
"We didn't want to just have these studios be like outsource houses," Rubin said. "We didn't want to say, 'here's the work you need to do, here's when you need to deliver it, get back to us when you're done.' Raven and Neversoft basically are empowered to be a part of the whole process."
Call of Duty: Ghosts releases November 5 for current-generation consoles and PC, before arriving later in the month for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.