When it comes to video games, AAA console releases have really grown stagnant over the last decade. That’s one of the many reasons I’m so glad to be at Gamezebo, where we focus on the platforms that give developers the freedom to experiment instead of the latest cut-and-paste first person shooter.
As it turns out, Xbox co-creator Ed Fries seems to feel the same way about the current state of AAA games, and he’s ready to explain why, detailing the creativity-stifling environment that led to his 2004 resignation from Microsoft in a recent GamesIndustry interview.
Rather than fostering new ideas, Fries suggests that AAA development is run too much like a business – focusing on quantity of dollars rather than quality of game. Instead of experimenting with little things, which Fries says sows the seeds of successful bigger projects down the road, the focus of the Xbox brand during his time there was to stick to what works and sell it better. “In a sense, I fundamentally didn’t agree with that because I think the big things come from little things,” Fries told GamesIndustry.
Indie games, by contrast, are all about experimentation and the little things – and Fries seems to be of the opinion that this is why indie games have really come to the forefront in recent years.
It’s not that you won’t find great games and creativity on consoles – Fries himself applauds Sony for their involvement with creative titles like Journey, and says of Nintendo that when they do “new and original creative work, they are as good as anybody in the world” – but, like us, he seems to feel like original games like these should be the rule and not the exception.
Be sure to check out the complete interview, Fries: Publishers created a void that indies stepped into, at GameIndustry.