Single-Player Games Still Receive Gigantic Budgets, It Seems
With Crystal Dynamics moving on to the Avengers Project, they’ve left the Tomb Raider franchise in the capable hands of Eidos Montreal. Our preview presented the direction of this studio, and it’s very different than previous installments, but the differences we’ve seen thus far may only be the tip of the iceberg. As this article is being written, the developer is in the process of expanding its studio. Not only has the franchise’s budget increased, but the studio is increasing its bandwidth.
In a recent interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Eidos Montreal boss David Anfossi expressed the studio’s need to expand. He said, “We’re starting from scratch. We have demolished everything, because we have to grow up in size. After ten years we wanted the studio to reflect the image of what we create. And to be more on par with the competition.
“We are adding 100 stations and developers, because at the moment we have three big productions going on at the same time.”
For Anfossi, the trends in gaming are changing, and his plans for the studio and current projects may reflect that. Right now, it’s about how consumers allocate not only money but time. With a single-player narrative experience, the issue for some consumers is time and attention.
“There are these trends every year, or every two years. Whether it is multiplayer, co-op, MMO or single player. If you deliver the right quality experience, you will reach the audience you want,” Anfossi insisted.
“That being said, I believe that the story-driven experience is going through a generational change. Especially for people like me, the old guys… people who are 25 or older. Looking at God of War, that’s a pretty good example of a great single-player experience. I like it a lot, but I might not get the time to complete it. For me, that’s a frustration. Because when you start a story-driven experience you want to see the conclusion. So we have to adapt and try new models.
Furthermore, according to Fossi, “Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and other different AAA single-player games, cost $75 million to $100 million. And that’s production only; it’s close to $35 million on the promotion.” Therefore, part of the task involves ensuring quality, and the team’s pressure mounts when they know they have to deliver an experience that justifies the resources and can please as many fans as possible. Being a story driven experience, Fossi, judging by the tone of the interview, is looking for new ways of innovating the franchise:
“We need to try new things, experience stuff and learn. We want to build strong online technology. We are doing tests, we are learning, and we are working out how to apply that to our games, but we have to be careful about the fans. Online does not have to mean multiplayer. It could, but it could also be something different. It can be a single-player experience but online.’
Certainly, there’s a big conversation going on at Eidos Montreal. To learn more about where Fossi and the studio stand, you can catch the full interview here. And let us know your thoughts. Are you surprised by Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s budget? What about the ideas for a single-player experience that’s online? Comment down below. E3 is approaching fast, so stay tuned for more updates as we go.