There are some really massive video game titles out there and even more on the way. Some of these games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and the more recent release, The Last of Us Part 2, takes hours on top of hours to complete. There are times where you have to set a week aside to go through these games fully and while they are acclaimed pieces of work that have gained attention worldwide and certainly pays off, some development studios may find that this practice is just no longer sustainable. At least that’s what a former Sony CEO feels will be the case.
If you don’t recall who Shawn Layden is, he was the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment America for a number of years. As a result, Shawn comes packed with plenty of insight into what the future could look like even though he stepped down from being the CEO last year. In a recent interview with VentureBeat, the former CEO feels like the era of massive video game titles may be coming to an end.
As Shawn stated, there is a ton of money that goes into these video game titles. With some cases being in the hundred millions of dollars that go into a project that would not see a return for years to come. These budgets are also something that will continue to increase over the next generation of video game consoles which means having to invest further into a project that you would hopefully see a big payoff when the game actually launches into the market.
Then there’s also the case in which some development studio practices are not healthy for the employees. The work that puts employees at minimum pay with forced overtime along with working the weekends is often looked down upon, but developers at times feel its a necessary evil to ensure a game is brought out into the market on time.
“Instead of spending five years to make an 80-hour game, what do three years and a 15-hour game look like? What are the costs around that? Is that a full experience? Personally, as an older gamer now, I would welcome the return of the 12-15 hour game. I would finish more games, first of all. Just like a well-edited piece of literature or a movie — I’ve been looking at the discipline around that, the containment around that. It could get us tighter, more compelling content. It would be something I’d like to see a return to.”
Shawn would feel more welcomed at the idea of shorter games with a smaller development scope. A game that would only take three years to make would cut down on the cost to develop the title along with the number of work employees would have to endure. This would also allow consumers more time to play through a variety of games rather than a slow burn of a longer video game title. Do you agree that some games could benefit being smaller?