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Splinter Cell director: "lower case aaa" is the future of the industry

Splinter Cell: Blacklist director Patrick Redding believes traditional "AAA" development isn't sustainable, and will be replaced by lower budget "aaa" releases.

Speaking at the Gamercamp festival in Toronto, as reported by GamesIndustry, Redding said games like Minecraft - low budget but flexible - are the future.

"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 said.

"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."

Factors contributing to this shift include increasing development costs, digital distribution and player demand. Redding said the resulting "aaa" games will prioritise systemic design and open-ended gameplay. The developer warned that "aaa" creators will have to give up authorial control and accept that additional resources won't always solve design issues.

Fittingly, Redding concluded by saying that Splinter Cell: Blacklist is definitely a AAA title but uses some systemic design, such as in its AI and lighting-based detection mechanics. He considers the forthcoming stealth action effort an example of how AAA production values can serve more interesting design.

Blacklist is due on PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Xbox 360 in northern spring 2013.

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