Monday, November 29, 2021


Why We Need the Return of AA Developers in Gaming.

January 31, 2021 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Think about your gaming history. Most likely, some of your favorite games or gaming experiences most likely come from AA developers. What makes a developer AA? Well, unlike many indie games, AA games have a sizable budget but nowhere near the budget of a AAA game like Call of Duty or Mario. Indie games are usually self-published with no money being added from larger companies or might be funded completely through crowd funding like Kickstarter.

AA games were games that could hold up against some of the larger budget titles and still keep the charm that gamers cherish in indie games today. Usually, there was always some type of gimmick to it that they used to get buyers to get the game. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t.

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What Happened to AA Developers?

This is a multiple part answer. Most of them fall into at least one of a few reasons. They put a lot of money into the game, development and advertising wise, and they could not make that money back so they had to close down. They got absorbed into one of the larger gaming companies and now work as a subsidiary of that company where they don’t work on original games any more. Lastly, they are still around but downsized to an indie company so that they can still work on games on their own terms.

There are many companies that closed down that made some great games. Sometimes the reason why they closed down is because some of the larger companies took their golden idea and did it better due to their bigger budget and more resources. After this, they really can’t use this idea anymore and many fans that see the sequel of this game look at it like a copy of the more popular game.

Even though some of the studios that make these AA games still exist, a lot of times, their games get very little coverage or none at all. If you didn’t know, making games is expensive. When a game that most likely take too long to make in the first place don’t at least make their money back, you can see the issues for yourself.

What Is the State of AA Games Today?

Even though many of the original AA developers have either closed down or been absorbed by larger companies, the AA games are still around just not as much. You see games that may be cult favorites like Technomancer, The Saint’s Row series, The Surge, and one of my PC favorites, Dungeon Keeper. The thing that all of these games have in common is that while we can all agree that these are not necessarily great games, we might like or love them because they are different. They are not a rehash like many games today and they couldn’t afford to be. There is some mechanic or gameplay feature in these games that set it apart from others.

Many times, larger companies take bits and pieces from these games and incorporate them into their own games, but better and more polished. This still don’t keep developers from trying and every now and then, you see a few of these games break out. These games may put the developer on the map and make them self-sustainable. The prime example of this is The Witcher series. Even though they believed in the game, the budget wasn’t always there but they made something that was different and of high quality and we see the outcome. They no longer need a large publisher to release their games.

The main thing that is missing from gaming today that AA developers and games of previous gaming generation provided was the innovation. We see new innovations today but at a slower pace. Many things that you see in some of your favorite AAA games today were “borrowed” from smaller franchises that many not had enough to sustain themselves, but they still left their mark on the gaming world for years to come.

What are some of your favorite AA games or developers? Let me know in the comments below!

Staff Writer; Tardell Swift

This brother is new to writing yet has many different interests such as gaming, hip hop, wrestling, and manga.

You can follow him on Twitter; PhirewoodGaming and keep up with his thoughts there as well.


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