If you’re a gamer, you’ll probably have heard the term “triple-A game” or “AAA game” thrown around before. But have you found yourself wondering what that same phrase actually means? What makes something a AAA game? And how are they different from other games? In short, AAA games are the big-name titles that you’ll see TV commercials for, will feature famous voice actors, and will come from all the biggest studios in the gaming world. They are the Hollywood blockbusters of the gaming industry.
When it comes down to it, AAA games are the ones that everyone has heard of, even if they haven’t played them. Big franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy, and The Witcher are great examples of this. It also covers games that bring in celebrities to help promote them as Cyberpunk 2077 did with Keanu Reeves.
These titles will usually come from the same few studios as they manage to have the teams and revenue to bring these games to light. They feature the best graphics, latest gameplay mechanics, and are often susceptible to release date delays.
These games really are akin to Hollywood blockbusters. They have huge budgets behind them, large teams working tirelessly for, usually, years on a single game, and come with a serious amount of hype from the people looking forward to finally getting to see the games in action.
Just because a game is described as AAA doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be any good. Some games flop, some just don’t live up to the hype, and some just fail spectacularly. But, why is this?
They Need To Make A Lot Of Money
If you’re pouring a huge budget into a game, you need to really make a big profit on it to come out on top. This is the risk that game companies take when they decide to poor their resources into AAA titles. This need to make money also leads to games that include pay-to-win features, microtransactions, and a large amount of DLC that you need to purchase to really get the most out of the game. While this does work in some cases, it can often leave a bad feeling in many players’ mouths.
They’re Very Low Risk
A lot of the big triple-A games we see coming out aren’t taking the big risks that many gamers love to see. Oftentimes, they rely on remakes, remasters, and sequels to make sure the audience for the game is definitely there and will be guaranteed to invest in their game. That’s not always a bad thing, those games are sometimes really great. But, it does make it less likely for us to see a lot of inventive new titles hitting the shelves.
Less Risk = Less Fun
Because these game companies don’t want to take these risks, it can leave a lot of AAA games feeling very similar, stale, and predictable. There aren’t a lot of surprises in those games, and it’s easy to get bored quickly when you’ve seen it all before. This is a contributing factor to the rise in popularity that the indie games market has seen, as this is where the missing inventiveness tends to live.
Triple-A games can be amazing, and I’ve definitely bought into a lot of them over the years. But, they aren’t the only games out there. Indie games have been having something of a revival recently with a lot of smaller studios appearing on best-seller lists and getting the gaming world talking about their creations. Titles like Disco Elysium and Fall Guys have all made big impressions on the gaming world recently.
Each of these titles took a new look at gaming and put their own spin on things – albeit in very different ways. Disco Elysium took a step back from action-packed sequences and cutting edge graphics and instead focused on a compelling storyline and a dysfunctional detective. Fall Guys took the battle royale genre and turned it on its head, launching a game that thousands instantly fell in love with coupled with some of the best game marketing we’ve seen in years. All going to show that you don’t need that triple-A tag to be a successful game anymore.