Rubin: Triple-A games becoming harder to make

Rubin: Triple-A games becoming harder to make
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

September 23rd 2013 at 12:00PM

Call of Duty exec Mark Rubin on the effect rising development costs are having on big and small studios

Games are becoming increasingly more difficult and expensive to make, says the executive producer of Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Speaking to Game Informer, Mark Rubin said rising development costs were making it more difficult for Infinity Ward to develop its blockbuster Call of Duty games, and the price of triple-A development was likely causing trouble for smaller developers.

Rubin said while big studios backed by large publishers such as Infinity and Activision could manage the costs, other developers may not be able to cope.

“It’s a scary thing,” he said.

“I’ll take off my Call of Duty hat for a second here, but games are becoming harder to make, and more expensive to make. And I feel like smaller studios are having trouble making big games that hit the big triple-A market because they’re harder to do. It’s kind of a bummer that games are getting so hard and difficult to make.

“People want better and better graphics, they want more realistic art assets and that comes at a cost, and that’s a hard thing to have to deal with.”

He added: “It makes it more difficult for us, so I know it’s more difficult for other people as well. The big companies can manage that; we can cover our costs if the costs go up. Other studios may not be able to.”

Rubin also said he hoped that other developers were not trying to copy the success of the Call of Duty series by creating clones of the franchise, but rather creating titles they wanted to make.

“Companies, big publishers want to enjoy that kind of Call of Duty success,” he said.

“From a purely artistic standpoint that bothers me a little bit, because I want games to do what they want to do. Developers should be able to do what they want to do, and do what they feel they do well. I love MMOs but I wouldn’t take my team here and go out and necessarily try and make a World of Warcraft competitor.

“Make games because you love making games.”

It was recently suggested that another big triple-A release, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V, is the most expensive game ever made, at a combined development and marketing budget of £170 million.

If true, that would eclipse the development budget of its predecessor GTA IV, which cost around £63m to make.

Other titles such as EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic are also thought to have taken blockbuster movie-like budgets to develop them, with the MMO thought to have cost between £95m-to-£130m to make. The publisher has never revealed the cost of the title however.