These days AAA games don’t necessarily mean quality anymore, despite their massive budgets. But let’s think about this for a second, what is an AAA game anyway? Now if you ask any gamer out there inevitably you will get a different answer depending on who you ask. I define it as a video game with a big budget, a publisher and more than a hundred people working on it. But there is a bit of a gray area when it comes to that distinction, for example, DayZ, ARMA and Witcher 3 are all created and published by the same company so does that not make them indie games then? Most gamers, if asked if the games I mentioned are Indie or AAA most, most would reply with AAA. Though technically they are not if we go with the base definition.
And I think we can all agree that AAA does not always equal quality, games like Mafia 3, Battlefront and Mass Effect Andromeda just to mention a few. These games have AAA budgets and I really don’t want to get into the fiasco that was Mass Effect Andromeda, most of them have average to below average review scores. Despite their budgets and despite all the work and advertising poured into them, then on the flipside of the coin, there are AAA games that deserve that title games like Overwatch and Horizon Zero Dawn and pretty much anything that Rockstar Games produces. There are just as many examples of excellent AAA titles as there are bad examples. And honestly these days I find that AAA has a negative connotation for me.
So when the gaming press and media start chirping about a new AAA title I simply do not care anymore beyond a slight raise of the eyebrow. Recent releases like Resident Evil Biohazard, NieR: Automata and Battlefield 1 are great games, but if you were to put games like Enter the Gungeon or Divinity: Original Sin up against these other games and compare them you might be fooled into thinking they were AAA titles. And since I have played a fair share of Indie titles I can safely say that some of these titles have had more love and hard work put into them than most AAA games. Here is looking at you Mass Effect Andromeda. And this is what pisses me off the most is when people place AAA titles on high pedestals.
Maybe I am just an old cynical gamer, but I don’t look at games that way. I don’t care about who created it or how much money was spent on it because, in the end, it is not an indicator if a game will be good or that I will have fun playing it. Despite this, you see plenty of fanboys out there both on PC and Console use these title as some sort of token when involved in their retarded platform war. These are used on some magical scorecard to outscore the other platform in some retarded internet fight. When I see games like Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn and Gears of War I see them as video games first. Not as a AAA title produced by a well-known publisher. The sad truth is you get gamers who would look at a list and then would go out of their way not to play certain games because they aren’t AAA games.
And this boggles my mind because you are basically closing yourself off to new gaming experiences, how depressing it must be to be a gamer like that? To deny yourself some truly amazing gaming experiences, because you don’t know the game or the developer and it isn’t an AAA game. And honestly most new and interesting innovations in video game development can be found in Indie games. The reason behind this is AAA games and the companies who publish them want to play it safe, they have investors and a fanbase to keep happy. Cliff Bleszinski has mentioned during an interview that AAA game development is unsustainable, and he isn’t wrong. There are only a few select companies that can afford to constantly pump out AAA games, and even then there is no guarantee that these games will succeed financially or be any good.
You won’t see a AAA developer make a game like Divinity: Original Sin or Enter the Gungeon, Indie developers have far more to lose than a big AAA company so they have to be extremely creative and innovative with their games so they have to get noticed and compete with the bigger AAA companies. If you are one of those gamers that somehow ties quality to AAA development then you my friend are an idiot. But then again these are the very same people who get lied to about graphics, gameplay features, and trailers that misrepresent the actual game. And not just once but multiple times by these AAA companies. Yet they will be first in line to order it online or buy it in the shops. Not to mention the entire pre-order culture we find ourselves in.
[Editorial Note:] Next time you see an unknown Indie title why not give it a try instead of spending your money on the twelveth installment of an AAA franchise. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
[Fixed:] My retarded grammar let me down it is Indie games, not Indy….