Splinter Cell: Blacklist Director Patrick Redding gave a speech at Toronto's Gamercamp festival regarding the industry's movement patterns away from blockbuster, linearly designed AAA projects to more open-ended, player-driven approaches popularized by sandbox titles such as Minecraft. As GamesIndustry (opens in new tab) reports, Redding believes the latter constitutes a new wave of "lower-case aaa" games marrying quality with "systemic depth."
"The market as a whole is going to undergo a critical shift in priorities, a shift away from the absolute primacy of graphics and production values and content creation toward systemic depth," he explained. "This trend is going to trigger a reality check for developers like me who work on established franchises with a large succession of sequels, and it's also going to be a call-to-arms for smaller game creators."
Redding noted a key ingredient for "aaa games" involves the player forging his or her path to victory with the tools provided by the system—instead of a singularly clear win condition, many possibilities exist to progress the player onward. Redding also mentioned a byproduct of this approach eschews authorial control from developers and publishers as players craft their own experiences independently of any direction. Hey, that sounds familiar (opens in new tab) .