Small Games “Directly” Help AAA Titles And Stop Burnouts, Says Obsidian Dev

Many devs have highlighted the significance of AA projects.

Story Highlights

  • Many devs from major studios recently took to Twitter to discuss the need for more AA entries in the gaming ecosystem. 
  • The Obsidian dev, Josh Sawyer, clarified that small games have directly contributed to the studio’s current and future projects.
  • Having more AA titles in the rosters will boost the studios’ budgets and reduce burnout in the industry.

A recent Twitter thread created by the dev Jeryce Dianingana from EA Cliffhanger Games has attracted a lot of eyes in the gaming community. The Black Panther dev expressed interest in wanting AAA studios to continue to focus on AA projects in between. He talked about “small scope” games that take about two years to come out, leading to increased variety, experimenting, more number of titles, easiness for the devs, and so on.

Other devs from various prominent studios have chimed in to express their views on the matter, most completely agreeing with the dev. Josh Sawyer from Obsidian Entertainment has also extensively discussed the significance of AA and A-scaled projects. He talked about all the benefits that small games can bring the AAA studios and the devs, clarifying that it can eradicate dev burnouts with enough time. 


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Obviously this whole cursèd earth runs on money and game dev is no different, but if a company has the funds to bridge the gap between projects, using an A or AA game as a way for (hopefully not completely) burned out devs to refresh and recharge can be a good thing,” said Josh Sawyer. 

Josh also said single-A games can have the same creative effects and prove triumphant for players and devs. Gamers can indulge in more small-sized bites of dopamine. It can propel the studio by increasing its budget for the —fewer yet high-quality— AAA games in the pipeline. The dev mentions that smaller titles created by Obsidian have “directly contributed” to its major current and future projects.

You may think that small projects can’t help the larger ones, but work on both Grounded (AA) and Pentiment (A) have directly contributed to how we think about current and future projects.”

Similarly, many other devs and gamers have agreed on the thread created by the EA dev. WB Games dev Mitch Dyer stated, “AA games on a AAA budget with a AAA team would probably lead to the best games of all time.” However, disagreements have also flourished amid the debate. Many people pointed out that even small titles tend to take about five years to develop, mentioning titles like Cuphead, Sifu, and more.  

The prosperity in the gaming industry over the last two decades has boosted the ratio of AAA entries compared to smaller-scaled projects. While there has been a lot of success, it has also eventually led to huge lifecycles, plenty of burnouts, flops, layoffs, and many other massive issues in the industry. Balancing out the gaming ecosystem with AA and even A titles appears to be the most plausible solution, as discussed by many of the devs.

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to devoutly keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. His articles have been cited by VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more.

Experience: 4+ Years

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