Many have noted that innovation and creativity is often found on smaller scales (i.e., digital offerings from modest studios), but many big-budget blockbusters tend to recycle tried-and-true formulas.
Ninja Theory creative boss Tameem Antoniades believes this is due to the current "dominant AAA retail model," which just so happens to be "stifling creativity." He also said that small-scale design can take more risks, simply because they don't have as much to lose.
These comments came in a recent GamesIndustry.biz interview , where Antoniades claims that "lower-risk digitally distributed titles" are absolutely essential for the progression of innovation.
"The high budget, high stakes retail model – the barriers to entry for that are so high, so difficult, that we seem to be getting, being offered, decent work in that area. It's hard to say no when you've got a team of 100 and you have to keep the payroll going. Another big project comes along, you tend to go for it.
There's always an opportunity between projects to explore things, a lot of team members are hobbyists, they create their own iPhone games and things like that so I can see us kind of taking a punt with that. It can't come soon enough. The whole digital revolution is happening now and it can't come soon enough. The model we're under, the big retail model, is creaking."
Furthermore, on the consumer side of things, Antoniades said that if you're going to spend $60, you don't want to take any chances, either. "You want everything to be there, all the feature sets," he said. "You want it to be a known experience, guaranteed fun. That's not healthy." In some ways, we have to agree with that.
But the implication that we always want something with which we're familiar grates a little, although it's certainly true that gamers select their new purchases carefully. It's quite the conundrum, isn't it?