AAA games are increasingly being developed by multiple studios, says head of Xbox Game Studios

Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty recently said that modern AAA game development has changed to encompass multiple studios working on the same title.

According to VGC, Booty spoke during a Q&A at PAX West and answered a question asking if COVID-19 was responsible for the many posting delays. In response, Booty said that while the pandemic is indeed a factor, the way AAA game development has changed is also a contributing factor to the delays.

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AAA games are big and getting bigger. Games of such complexity require more intense QA and, according to Booty, partnerships with studios. He specifically pointed to Perfect Dark as an example. It was announced in 2021 that Perfect Dark would be co-developed by The Initiative and Crystal Dynamics.

“So we just did this big partnership with Crystal Dynamics, and I read online ‘Oh, that must mean there’s a problem or something’ – it’s quite the opposite, don’t isn’t it,” Booty said. “You have this team of veterans at Crystal Dynamics, a large AAA team with over 100 people becoming available. Of course, we want to work with them, especially if they’ve made a game like this before.”

Booty also cited Relic Entertainment’s partnership with World’s Edge on Age of Empires 4 as an example, as well as French studio Asobo’s contributions to Flight Simulator.

“That, however, also adds some complexity where if one of those studios has issues, then it impacts the schedule,” Booty said. “So the days are over when you could kind of say ‘everybody, get the team together in the cafeteria, I want to tell everybody to work harder this Wednesday. It’s long gone, it’s gotten a lot more complicated than that.”

Perfect Dark will still be co-developed by Crystal Dynamics following the studio’s move to Embracer. For more information, you can check out everything we know about Perfect Dark.

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