Remedy Entertainment CEO Tero Virtala believes single-player games are in the healthiest state they’ve ever been in.
Virtala told a crowd at Reboot Develop Blue last month - as reported by GamesIndustry.biz - that despite investor and publisher concerns, big-budget single-player games are in a strong place. And while Remedy’s games aren’t playing in the same budget as God of War or Assassin’s Creed, that success is pulling them along.
"When we were discussing with publishers three years ago, many of them were quite doubtful about what would be the triple-A blockbuster single-player game's future," said Virtala. "Now, with the success of many of Sony's games, the success that Ubisoft has shown, we are seeing that single-player games are stronger now than they have ever been."
The executive places his firm’s games in a tier he calls “focussed triple-A games”, a step below the landmark “triple-A blockbusters” of Ubisoft or Sony’s making. This budget allows for more thematic and narrative freedom, while still delivering the levels of polish and stability an audience expects. This is likely somewhere above the mid-tier development we have seen in the last few years, represented best by Ninja Theory's Hellblade.
Virtala says that Remedy's games can still demand full-price from a customer, but don’t need to sell nearly as many copies to break even as a “blockbuster”.
“If you are able to manage the development budgets, it can be a very profitable and lucrative market."
Virtala argued that focussed triple-A games may be primed for streaming services to pick up, providing a unique voice and polished experience while avoiding the steep initial investment of blockbusters. In other words, perfect for proving a new platform at the start of its life.