At least not according to Square Enix CEO Phil Rogers during an interview with Examiner.
A big point we heard from developers all throughout the seventh generation of consoles is how high the development cost of games was getting. This has led to many outlets claiming that we are only going to see more of the same kinds of games due to the need for returns on investment. In other words companies playing it safe. Meanwhile some personalities have gone so far to say that the industry is headed for a crash.
After several disastrous releases of AAA titles in 2014 these claims seemed validated.
Rogers does not hold the same view. He said, “what I say to the question of development costs is that now there’s more range in development budgets. Now everyone is saying ‘oh it’s last [game] plus 10 percent.’ That’s lazy thinking, so how should we think about this? How do we really get more creative? Tools are improving, engines are improving and I think those are really positive things for the industry as a whole.”
Cost for developing a game can be difficult to gauge but for Square Enix it is about walking the line of budgets and providing what a developer needs to make their vision come to life. A smaller title like Bravely Default does not need a budget as expansive as the next Final Fantasy game.
Square Enix has shown off this range at their conferences with several smaller titles residing next to big name franchises such as Kingdom Hearts. Rogers emphasizes this by saying, “”I think one thing we really want to do is embrace [our company’s] diversity.”
Square Enix is a prime example of something that is happening across the industry. Developers are becoming more creative and smart in how they use the funds provided for their projects. A key aspect of this is learning new technology and in this generation of consoles and PCs that knowledge is far easier to access and learn.
Looking back over the first half of 2015 until today reveals that the industry is in a really good place right now. Sales for hardware and games (physical copies at least) were up over 2014 sales for June and especially for hardware this has been the case all year thus far. At E3 this year along with the expected announcements for established franchises we also saw a slew of new IP such as For Honor and Unravel. Both of these game from big publishers like Ubisoft and EA respectively.
So despite all the naysayers and doomsday prophecies we say that gamers should be excited for what’s ahead! Sure there will be stumbling blocks and yes we should always be smart and critical when it comes to our purchases and the companies that provide these games but as long as developers and publishers show they have learned the lessons of 2014 the future is bright.
Rogers can wrap it up well stating, “The more we push our boundaries and maintain the health that you [interviewer] alluded to earlier, [the better].”