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Press Start: Indie VS AAA

Press Start: Indie VS AAA


Welcome back to Press Start! Put down all your work, it is time to zone out and chat about some gaming (it’s only Monday, your bosses practically expect it).

This week I want to take a look at AAA titles and indie titles. I want to see why AAA titles are taking the huge amounts of money over indie games even though there are a tonne of cult classic in terms of indie games. In order to do this, we need to take a look at the two sections separately and then have a look at the similarities.

Let us take on the ‘Hollywood’ gaming first (AAA). As we all know, these games have huge followings and have a huge amount of money poured into them. They usually have the top end physics engines running and the highest level of graphics to make it look almost like a Hollywood movie in terms of the finished project. The thing that annoys me, though, is the artistic styling of these games. I mean they are all pretty much artistically stunning and I can’t argue that, however in terms of styling and game play it is all the same (of course there are always exceptions).

Every AAA game these days seems to be the same story retold in a different world. Even if we take a look at two of my favourite games, Uncharted and Tomb Raider. Essentially they are the exact same game. The only difference is that the lead characters is the opposite sex. You could throw Lara into the Uncharted world and you would be playing a Tomb Raider game. The exact same can be said for Nathan Drake if we were to move him into Lara’s world. Games these days seem to sit in their genre and that is it. There isn’t much outside the box thinking with AAA titles.

However, when it comes to indie games the rules are turned completely upside down. In fact, there aren’t any rules at all. The sky isn’t even a limit. You can create anything you set your mind to. Obviously with this comes waves of crap titles and disappointing games, especially in the early days of the new wave of indie games. But more often than not these days indie games are a huge success and we have some extremely talented people working to make these games.

There have been a number of amazing indie games over the last few years such as Super Meat Boy, Fez, Journey, Braid, Hotline Miami and many more. These games are critically acclaimed and they have a huge fan base to boot. The thing that I find impressive is that no game is the same in the indie world. Indie games, in my opinion, are far more artistic. The detail given to game play is unreal and unparalleled. They have invented a new style of gaming and used intriguing ideas that change the whole world of gaming. Take a look at Fez; it changed the whole idea of 3D gaming and turned it on its head. It is art like this that you just don’t find in AAA games any more.

So this brings me to the point I’m trying to make in this article. Why are AAA games the more popular section in the gaming world overall? Is it because people are just suckers for high quality or are they genuinely invested in AAA games? The companies behind indie games seem to respond to people more often about certain ideas around their games. However, when it comes to AAA titles it’s pretty much just made without any input from the fans because it seems the money is more important than taking on board ideas and changing slight things for the fans (not in all cases of course).

Finally, why do the AAA titles get all the money and indie games take the leftovers? Yes, the price tag is more expensive with AAA titles but then you have a mountain of staff that has to be paid. When it comes to indie games, you might only have one person running the whole show and the price tag is then a lot lower than AAA. You would imagine indie developers rake in a whole load of money, and some do, but still not anything compared to AAA games. I also think having one person do all the work and coming up with a whole new artistic way of gaming is a hell of a lot more work.

What do you guys think? Do you guys prefer the AAA titles or are you a hard core indie game fan? Where would you rather your money goes to? Let us know in the comments below.