"big budgets and huge risks," but for Sundberg it's a "stamp of quality."
The Just Cause developer says you "don't have to develop, bigger more expensive games." It's a matter of priorities, he notes, saying you can just "make better games." Bigger isn't always better.
Avalanche has been tinkering with different business models and their free-to-play ventures are turning profit. Games need to be more unique to compete, so creativity is rewarded.
"It seems that everyone has a different definition of what triple-A is," said Christofer Sundberg. Avalanche remains an independent studio with Just Cause their big 'triple-A' franchise. "I think if you're a big publisher, triple-A is associated with big budgets and huge risks. But I see triple-A as a stamp of quality."
"We don't have to develop, bigger more expensive games. We don't have to hire more people or have bigger teams. We just want to make better games," he continued. Avalanche aren't following just one business model. "One of our studios, Expansive Worlds, that's doing The Hunter, a free-to-play hunting game."
"They've been working on the free-to-play model for four years now. And even though they are a very small studio, they are profitable. They don't have numbers like Supercell, but it's self-funded and doing quite well in a genre where we're almost alone." One thing is certain: there are going to be less triple-A budgets.
Stefan Ljungqvist, creative director, added: "I don't think big-budget games are going away. There's going to be less of them. But that's a good thing, because maybe we don't need forty first-person shooters. I don't want to play them all, but maybe we need one, two or three."
"What I like now is that there are more opportunities to be creative. Maybe over the course of the past five years, developers have pitched creative or more artistic games, but publishers had been more careful of betting a lot on those games, because they're associated with some risk."
"But maybe now they can because they need to be more unique in the marketplace."
The PlayStation 4 is on the horizon and Avalanche are keeping their eye on it.
"It's definitely easier to develop for," Sundberg said. "I think their approach for letting smaller developers in is fantastic. And all of the inputs creates an opportunity. They've created a platform for us to make better games."
"Commercially, the market is certainly pointing toward a direction that is not favorable for consoles," Sundberg admitted. "But for us consoles have always been our platform -- it's the entertainment center of your house."
Avalanche is working on Just Cause 3, and possibly still on a Mad Max title.
Avalanche: Triple-A "a stamp of quality," not just big budgets and risks
03 April 2013 | By Simon Priest