However, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida also believes this is a “golden age of indie developers”.
Much has been said about the trend of triple-A development in the industry, how budgets for blockbusters are surging with each year and the inevitable crash this could cause. However, triple-A titles continue to be made and are arguably more successful than ever. Look no further than Far Cry 5, one of the best-selling titles of the year, or God of War, the fastest selling PS4 exclusive till date.
If there’s one company that’s investing big in triple-A titles, it’s Sony Interactive Entertainment. It showcased big-name exclusives like Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding and Insomniac’s Spider-Man along with first party games like The Last of Us: Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima. What does Shuhei Yoshida, the President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios for Sony Interactive Entertainment, have to say about the current state of the industry from a development perspective?
Speaking to MCVUK, Yoshida said, “On one hand, in the triple-A space, the scale and the tech of game development has grown so much that I feel like we are making a huge bet every time we start a new project. The end results are, when successfully executed, an amazing fusion of art and tech, providing hours and hours of highly engaging interactive entertainment in a big, often open, world to explore with lifelike characters and imaginative creatures.
“Because of the size of the investment, each title feels too big to fail. It creates an enormous pressure to manage these triple-A projects. These games are the drivers of the industry to become more and more mainstream entertainment. We need to keep pushing the art of making triple-A games.”
That being said, Yoshida feels that this is a great time for indie developers in terms of tools and global exposure. “On the other hand, it is a golden age of indie developers; tools like Unity and Unreal Engine offer talented individuals and small teams from around the world the opportunity to create great games that can be published to a global audience.
“With the number of triple-A titles becoming smaller and the type of these triple-A games becoming somewhat similar to avoid taking risks, there’s a vast, open field of types of games for the indie devs to explore and succeed. I’m a huge fan of indie games as I always enjoy fresh game experiences and artistic expressions. Indie titles drive innovation and experimentation in the industry and it’s important for the gaming landscape that we continue to support this flourishing market.”
He’s not wrong. Games like Hollow Knight, Celeste, Cuphead, A Way Out and so on have garnered strong critical and commercial success while driving different aesthetics and gameplay mechanics. We’re even seeing vaunted industry professionals like Amy Hennig venture into the indie development space. Whether this balance of loveable indies and high-profile blockbusters can continue remains to be seen but it’s good to see professionals like Yoshida recognize the former’s importance.