Avalanche Studios: Triple-A games model is 15 years behind

Avalanche Studios: Triple-A games model is 15 years behind
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

February 5th 2014 at 10:53AM

Mad Max developer says publisher focus on blockbusters is "really not healthy"

Christofer Sundberg, creative director and founder of Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios, believes triple-A games are stuck in the past.

In an interview with GameSpot, he argues that technology has advanced faster than the business model, resulting in an environment when both publishers and developers face unavoidable risks.

"It's really not healthy at the moment," said Sundberg. "Games have evolved, technology has evolved but as businesses we're still stuck where we were 15 years ago. As budgets grow, risks increase.

"Publishers are nervous because they have to project a game being a massive hit three years into the future and developers are frustrated because they need to be flexible to every move publishers make. It's impossible to make everyone happy in the current equation."

Sunberg added that very few $60 games make enough money in sales, meaning it is becoming rare for publishers and developers to see a return of investment from a five to eight-hour game.

Avalanche is currently working on open-world action game Mad Max, but Sundberg believes even though the next-gen consoles are off to a good start, he is not optimistic that it will break the trend of troubled triple-A titles.

"It's a bit early for me to feel comfortable," he said. "The investments in a triple-A game these days are huge and even if every one of those two million people bought a copy each, most big games would not break even if they were next-gen exclusives."