PC Gamer recently held an event RPG Roundtable Where veterans like CD Projekt Red’s Pavel Sasko (Research Director on Cyberpunk 2077) and Mike Laidlaw (Lead Designer on the Dragon Age series) take aim at some of the biggest issues affecting the genre right now.
The ever-increasing arms race in the AAA space, particularly with regard to cutting-edge technology, high-level development talent, and ballooning player expectations, was cited as a driving factor that needed to be addressed. is Cyberpunk epitomizes this issue (it cost more than $310 million to make), and Powell describes the situation a little more colorfully: “When it comes to Triple-A, we’re just af*cking walls. are running on, I think, and we’re going to hit that wall soon.”
We, as core gamers, expect a lot from our sprawling, immersive, aesthetically pleasing RPGs (and modern single-player games in general). The harsh reality is that video games are already an incredibly cheap form of entertainment per hour, and we’re going to have to pay more for them if we want to see them push the envelope.
Laidlaw says that one of the biggest challenges facing role-playing developers today is managing player expectations, which is often a losing battle over achievement, stating: “As soon as you’re introducing something What starts to be cinematic, you then essentially invite comparisons to the most cinematic things. So you’re kind of keeping up with Naughty Dog or cyberpunk.”
Of course, not every RPG needs to be made on a AAA budget, and Powell points to Disco Elysium as a modern example of a ground-breaking RPG built for a relative pittance. This is thanks to a reliance on a branching-narrative structure, a top-down perspective and a commitment to reams and reams of quality writing. Words, after all, are cheap.
Perhaps it’s best, then, to brace ourselves for an impending economic need for consumers of the biggest and best role-playing experiences. Because between the cost of big, beautiful RPGs and gamers still stuck on that $70 price tag, something’s just got to give. Will you put your money where your mouth is? Or do you want to hike somewhere else for fun? Name your price in the comment section below.
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