Game Budgets Versus Industry Innovation

Halo Anniversary

I won’t presume to speak for the gamer population at large, but one of my recent concerns about the trajectory of the video game industry would have to do with the lack of innovation. I try to keep my griping about “shooter fatigue” to a minimum around these parts, simply because at the end of the day, I still like playing shooters, even if I would like something to come along from time to time to mix up the monotony.

But what exactly is the cause behind the predominant trend of shooter saturation over the last few years? Have gamers changed? Have developers changed? Is the idea of a shooter the most immersive form of game design? Hardly, says Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch. He believes that out of control budgets for AAA titles are what’s causing the innovation funk. Here’s what the studio head behind Halo: Anniversary had to say on the matter in a recent interview:

Publishers will spend so much money to make a game. It becomes so bloated that you can’t innovate, because if you’re spending $15 million on something, you want to make sure that it’s a safe bet so you can’t take those risks.

Ultimately you end up with the fourth or fifth sequel of a game, which really is a tried and true formula without much innovation… I think there are so many things fundamentally wrong with the way the games industry is run that need to change.

I really think the solution is coming up with ways to give people smaller, more varied experiences for less money. A perfect example is LA Noire. Here’s a game that people like to play for the first couple of hours, then it got repetitive and by the second or third hour they were done with it. So why not give them a two or three hour experience for 10 pounds instead of giving them a £50 game? Why not give them a smaller, bite size experience?

While the studio’s track record doesn’t necessarily help them (Halo: Anniversary isn’t exactly breaking the mold anymore than their previous title Battle Los Angeles), it’s nice to note that some game studio heads are thinking this way. As much as I’m excited about the many sequels that are coming out this year, I can’t help but think that I’d love to see something new.

What do you guys think about the idea of game budgets getting out of hand? Do you think something needs to shift in the gaming industry? Go!

Source – CVG