Remedy Entertainment’s head of communications Thomas Puha has talked about the reality of single player development and why it has become a rarer thing.
The conversation around single player AAA games has been swirling for a little while now. Ever since EA closed down Visceral and their Star Wars project, the health of single player games has become not just something talked about devs to one another, but a part of the gamer zeitgeist. It seems, no matter how much people kick and scream about enjoying these experiences, the growing cost of making them and an audience that doesn’t seem to be buying them as much is a growing impasse.
One of the studios most committed to AAA single player experiences, Remedy Entertainment has now got out there and talked about this growing concern in a sobering light. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Puha said that even as the makers of Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break, those kinds of games are becoming harder propositions. They said:
The reality is the traditional AAA single-player experience is just really expensive to make. The expectation level from gamers is really high in terms of how long the game is, what sort of features it has, how good the production values are. All those things are very expensive to do. And if you go back 10 years, you could still say the console market is roughly the same size. In the end, the audience you’re selling to is relatively the same size but the cost of making the game is ten-fold these days. So that’s an obvious problem.
We have this saying at Remedy: ‘It’s just really hard making games. And it’s both the developer’s and publisher’s responsibility to create something at a sensible scale with a sensible budget and that there’s a market for, right? But there’s no escaping the fact production costs a lot more than it did before.
Remedy is said to be moving onto a multiplayer focused game, likely in the ilk of Destiny.
While I don’t expect single player games to go anywhere anytime soon, there is definitely a conversation to be had here. With an audience demanding single-player experiences but also pushing back against micro-transactions and forms of monetisation with longer tails, the industry sure has something to figure out here. Hopefully, it does before we lose genres of AAA games.