Take note PS4 developers – Quantic Dream wants everyone to know that experimentation and innovation does not equal a lack of profits. The head of Quantic Dream, Guillaume de Fondaumiere, addressed a crowd at his keynote at Digital Dragons and answered questions regarding the culture of overarching thematic elements in games using Heavy Rain‘s numbers as backup.
These projects have been and are profitable, to some extent. I’ll give you one example that I know about: Heavy Rain. Let’s say it’s €22 million to produce. With marketing it’s maybe €30 million. With distribution, €40 million. Sony earned €100 million with the game, so it’s very profitable. It’s the sort of margin that most publishers would strive for, for any game. Heavy Rain was the ninth best selling game in the year it was released, so we made the top ten. It’s true of Journey, too. I don’t know the details of the budget, but I know from speaking to members of ThatGameCompany that it was a profitable game for them and for Sony. We should stop thinking that innovation rhymes with unprofitable.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and looking back it’s easy to say that Heavy Rain was a wildly successful experiment. Heavy Rain broke the mold for games with a gameplay style that varied from traditional games and adult themes that were beyond what most developers felt like handling in interactive digital media. He also ended up referencing the other titles that fall within the traditional mold.
I don’t want to convince everyone. Part of the industry is going to continue to create sequels on a yearly basis. There are cycles. We’ve seen that in the past, at one particular moment, a franchise, when you overdo it, the franchise falls apart and needs to be reviewed. Tomb Raider is a very good example of a prime IP that iteration after iteration became almost irrelevant. People didn’t want to play any more Tomb Raider. It took several years for a developer to create a new iteration that would again be attractive to the market. What I would like to see is publishers taking more risks and have a balanced approach between the sequels they are financing year after year, and the new projects that they are developing, and this balanced approach will make for a more appealing industry overall.
We’re seeing a massive increase in remakes, reboots, and media “based on” other media. This trend includes movies as well as the games industry. Fondaumiere believe that in addition to seeing a market that is in decline, we are seeing a creative crisis and this is some of the cause for why gamers are playing less. He continued by saying “We can only resolve that by offering new creations, new IP [and] also wooing a new audience to games.”
If you read our recent Ask PSLS, you’ll know that I have negative feelings towards the redundancy of games like Call of Duty and the plethora of games that try to emulate it. The proof that innovation is not a dead end street could potentially see an insurgence of variety and experimentation in future games. Let’s hope that developers are listening and taking Quantic Dream’s comments to heart.
What are your thoughts on the redundancy of the industry? Do we need more innovation or are expensive experiments a dangerous game for developers and publishers to play? Is creativity really a dying trend? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and keep it locked to PlayStation LifeStyle as we monitor the changes in the landscape of the industry.