Remedy: Cost to Develop AAA Traditional Single Player Games Has Increased 10 Fold

Remedy: Cost to Develop AAA Traditional Single Player Games Has Increased 10 Fold - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 16 January 2018 / 2,284 Views

The cost to develop atraditional AAA single player game has increased 10 fold over the years, according to Remedy Entertainment head of communications Thomas Puha.

"Obviously that's something we've given a lot of thought to, not just due to recent discussion but also over the last several years," Puha told GamesIndustry.

"There's the crazy part of making a game where it takes four or five years, and then the game is over [for the player] in like a weekend. From a creative perspective, even when we made Alan Wake, it was like we spent all this time creating the characters, the universe, the rules and everything. It's a place where you want the player to spend a longer period of time, and that's hard to do in the traditional single-player space.

"The reality is the traditional AAA single-player experience is just really expensive to make. The expectation level from gamers is really high in terms of how long the game is, what sort of features it has, how good the production values are. All those things are very expensive to do.

"And if you go back 10 years, you could still say the console market is roughly the same size. In the end, the audience you're selling to is relatively the same size but the cost of making the game is ten-fold these days. So that's an obvious problem."


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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15 Comments

curl-6 (on 15 January 2018)

Then stop wasting so much money on celebrity voice actors and graphics teams the size of a town and budget with a modicum of common sense


TallSilhouette (on 15 January 2018)

But then the publisher can't cry that games are too expensive to make and need microtransactions just to turn a profit.


  • +10
Mystro-Sama (on 16 January 2018)

Exactly, no one gives a damn about celebrities in games.


  • +2
Mr Puggsly (on 15 January 2018)

Meanwhile a game like Hellblade was profitable with under a million sold? Quantum Break was probably the most expensive game they ever made and the reasons why are obvious.


Kerotan (on 16 January 2018)

What are the reasons? And yeah hellblade made a profit after just 500k sales.


  • 0
TallSilhouette (on 16 January 2018)

^ Protracted development with redesigns, lots of famous screen actors cast, a needless and lengthy live action miniseries filmed as part of the game, lots of fuss over the game's graphics and technology that ultimately amounted to little, etc. Not a bad game, but a whole lot of effort and money went to waste.


  • +5
dgboweniii (on 15 January 2018)

CD Project Red says HI. Make something great and this is a non issue.


Normchacho (on 16 January 2018)

Hellblade is as substantial a game as Quantum Break was and cost them far less to make because they didn't have to try and save a mediocre game with famous actors and an equally mediocre TV show. There is 100% a market for high quality single player only games, you just need to make sure that they games are actually high quality.


TallSilhouette (on 15 January 2018)

Compared to when? Ten years ago? Game budgets were already in the tens of millions then and I doubt it really costs hundreds of millions now unless you want to overspend on ridiculous marketing budgets, celebrities, etc. Compared to twenty or thirty years ago? That's hardly news.


Nautilus (on 16 January 2018)

These lies are getting tiring.You only spend an ungodly ammount of money when you either dont know how to manage your budget, when you burn your money on unnecessary marketing or you keep hiring famous actors to your games and make small tv shows in it.


Azzanation (on 16 January 2018)

Make Alan Wake again and leave out the real time movies and QTE gameplay. Make a solid game and the riches will be yours.


Nem (on 16 January 2018)

In truth, what he says is a lie. He does not know what customers want. He thinks that he needs to do Naughty Dog levels of graphics to be sucessful. That is not what makes an Uncharted game sucessful. Also, WTF is wrong with finishing a game in a weekend? Creating an excellent experience for a weekend is better than a mediocre game designed to be grinded on for weeks. God damn man, you are so out of touch with the reason why games exist that you think they should all be the same thing.


ROCKY223 (on 16 January 2018)

Those words came out of the person who made quantum break and I'm supposed to take it seriously?


KrspaceT (on 16 January 2018)

Breath of the Wild and Mario Oddysey: Single Player Games. Only one ecosystem to sell on. The former only needed 2 million units sold to be profitable. It did that and more quite quickly. Mario O: unknown amount needed to sell, most likely profitable.


StriderKiwi (on 16 January 2018)

Not that I don't somewhat agree with that, it's still a case of apples to oranges. The latest update featuring two of gaming's most recognizable characters to date, versus Quantum Break. BotW and SMO were always going to sell better than Quantum Break, even though Microsoft's exclusive made many mistakes on it's own.


  • +2
Zach808 (on 16 January 2018)

And that's with BOTW being notoriously delayed again and again and made into a Switch port. Granted, it's easy to see where they skimped on the budget (mainly the voice acting), but it shows that these games can still be profitable.


  • 0
JON0 (on 15 January 2018)

Remedy, i'm still waiting for Alan Wake 2. If that was made instead of Quantum Break, i would've bought an Xbox One just for that game.. You waited too long, now even if you were to make it, Microsofts 'Play Anywhere' would allow me to play it on the PC, something i already have. Alan Wake was such a good game (imo) BECAUSE you spent the time creating the world and the characters, giving a unique experience at the time. Instead of complaining about how you "spent all this time" and hiring celebrities to combat that, you should return to what you used to be and make the game that everyone knew you for, and wanted from you. Stop whining.


Bandorr (on 15 January 2018)

To do 30 minute episodes with famous actors? Probably. Specially when you had to have them constantly do different lines for 30+ ending and changes.


StriderKiwi (on 16 January 2018)

Game publishers need to learn to scale their budgets down. You really don't need the latest and greatest graphics, motion capture, celebrities, particle physics and so forth to churn a profit. They're too focused on getting all the money, usually releasing during the crowded holiday period, and so half of the game's released end up with little to no money.


bowserthedog (on 16 January 2018)

The problem is that these guys aren't great a gameplay. You can make a single player game on a budget if you focus on gameplay over cinematics. Let's face it. Something like Octopath Traveller costs a fraction of what these guys games do and its gonna be more fun to play.


Johnw1104 (on 16 January 2018)

Boo f'ing hoo. Normally I sympathize with the costs of development behind games as they are often much larger than considered, but this is a top tier developer in full control of their budget. If you're making a single player game and want people to play it for more than a few hours, avoid making it so darn linear and cut some of the unnecessary costs. They've been at the forefront of the "movie-masquerading-as-a-video-game" movement... Guess what? Movies take an enormous amount of work and people are generally done with them after about 2 hours. That's what you've got to expect if you're modeling your games after them.