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How triple-A ambitions and confusion can hold back smaller games

Setting out to create a triple-A game enabled Avalanche Studios to a stand-out title for Xbox Live Arcade with Renegade Ops, but those lofty ambitions and confusion over the term also hampered development.

June 8, 2012

2 Min Read

Setting out to create a triple-A game enabled Avalanche Studios to a stand-out title for Xbox Live Arcade with Renegade Ops, but those lofty ambitions and confusion over the term also hampered development. In Gamasutra's postmortem feature, Renegade Ops' director Axel Lindberg admits that his studio set its sights too high, attempting to make a game that felt like a triple-A budget game despite having a tiny team and a tiny budget in comparison. The Sega-published project had a bigger budget compared to typical downloadable titles, but the group ended up pouring an unacceptable amount of overtime in order to produce what they felt was a triple-A experience -- something Avalanche's upper management frowned upon. "One of the company's primary goals is to avoid overtime at all costs," says Lindberg." If we had been willing to compromise on the triple-A quality values to some degree, we would have had a bigger margin for error throughout the entire project." Another problem with making a triple-A game is that the term is highly subjective. It can refer to the budget of the project, its critical reception, its sales, or a mix of all those factors. "Basically, every time anyone says 'let's make a triple-A game,' every person in the room most likely has their own idea of what that means," notes Lindberg. "This became a problem for Renegade Ops, as Sega, Avalanche management, and the development team all had different views on what triple-A stood for." He continues, "This created divergent expectations and priorities between us, which made it difficult to compromise, since everyone had different opinions on what was most important." The full postmortem for Avalanche Studios' Renegade Ops, in which Axel Lindberg goes more into depth on what went right and wrong during the XBLA title's development, is live now on Gamasutra.

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