What makes a game AAA?

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by gutripper, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. gutripper

    gutripper New Member

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    I know there have been dozens of discussions about what constitutes an "indie" game, so that is not what I'm interested in getting opinions on.

    Really, I'm interested in looking at the other side of the coin. What makes a game so-called "AAA" ?

    Generally, I guess they are big budget, retail and hyped. Is that all there is to it?

    What do you think?
     
  2. ionside

    ionside New Member

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    High quality with a huge budget
     
  3. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    A big enough budget in fact that they can spend more on bullshit than most others would spend on the main game. Kinda like Starcraft 2 and it's story mode...
     
  4. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    "AAA" for games is what "Major" is for motion pictures. An established studio, lots of man-hours invested, big budget. It has nothing to do with the quality of the finished game - lots of AAA games are terrible - though generally the AAA studios can make a game at least look nice if they throw enough money at it, even if the gameplay sucks.
     
  5. PoV

    PoV
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    $2,000,000+ of debt.
     
  6. AnthonyS

    AnthonyS New Member

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    I'd +1 the previous big budget and high-value production techniques (not necessarily results!) comments.

    I'd also add that if you've got more than two full-time non-dev hires in your team, you're probably a AAA studio. Either that or you really like your paperwork.
     
  7. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    Yup! But all of them need to be implemented well, of course. The dev team needs to nail the product, corporate sales needs to get it into the right channels, and the marketing team needs to create a marketing message that find its target and sticks.
     
  8. Acord

    Acord New Member

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    a.) Proving that you really CAN polish a turd!

    b.) Crap tons of marketing!

    c.) Lots of high quality assets!

    d.) Unoriginal, "New Tide" gameplay!
    New Tide is just like regular Tide, except it's better because they call it new!

    Am I missing anything there?
     
  9. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Let's not get to high and mighty when taking about originality in game design. It's a hard thing to pull off (not to mention risky), AAA developer or otherwise.

    EDIT: I understand larger developers claim originality all the time, when there is necessarily any, but so does pretty much every developer who wants to sell their product.
     
  10. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    I think for most typical consumers it's all about the eye candy. Imagine those hiddeon object, match 3 games with lame graphics, I doubt they would sell at all.
     
  11. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    More than 24 hours... lol :rolleyes:
     
  12. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Yes high quality and high budget. That often doesn't coincide with the magical word "FUN".
    Mass Effect is an AAA title and VERY FUN.
    Far Cry 2 is an AAA title and a total FRUSTRATING game, I regret having bought it even at 12 eur! :eek:
     
  13. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    That's down to personal preference I think... Farcry 2 is one of my favourite fps games of all time, as is much loved by everyone I know. But anyway, back on topic :)
     
  14. GaiaDreamCreation

    Indie Author

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    I am wondering too what makes a game a AAA game.

    I found some guidelines from Juuso:
    http://www.gameproducer.net/2006/05/26/what-are-aaa-titles/

    When looking at a game, I have a feeling if it is an indie game or AAA game, but it is not obvious to state a clear definition that differentiates indies from AAA. I think if is question of market. AAA games are sold for the big market, but some indie games sold better than AAA. I think you need to consider the characteristics as guidelines. AAA games are generally more expansive with more content, but this is not always true. We can say that generally it is the case.

    I also think that the separation between indie and AAA is less distinct than it was.
     
  15. Game Producer

    Moderator Original Member

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    That was a definition used 3 years ago.
    After seeing some stuff going on... I'm leaning into a shorter definition:
     
  16. Reactor

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I like what cliff says in the comments of that article.

     
  17. Andrej Vojtas

    Andrej Vojtas New Member

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    To me the definition of AAA games is quite obvious. It's a game with superb production qualities in the eyes of the mainstream audience.

    AAA means: the quality of the content put into the game, in the eyes of the mainstream audience (basically means realistic, movie like implementations). Not the quality of the game, mind you. There is no doubt pixelated 2D art content is also quality content, it's just not perceived as such by the mainstream audience.

    e.g. story implementation: static background image + text, comics, in-game engine cut-scenes, cut-scenes + voice over, hi-res pre-rendered cut-scenes + voice over
    AAA means: voice over + hi-res models (ingame / pre-rendered)

    e.g. art assets: procedurally generated, low-res artsy look, royalty free not unique setting models, lots of hi-res models creating a unique setting
    AAA means: unique setting, hi-res, lots of them

    No doubt there are bad games with high production qualities. As there are bad games with low production qualities. And of course there are also good games in both categories.
     

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