Creating triple-A games costs a lot of money. In fact, the costs of making the ambitious, story-driven, and visually stunning games that owners of current-gen platforms and powerful PCs expect have been rising for years. For example, The Callisto Protocol, which has great graphics, is said to have cost $162 million to make.
For RPGs that are longer and more complicated, the work and materials needed can be not only hard but also take a long time.
A developer from CD Projekt Red talked about these problems in a recent roundtable chat. CDPR is a Polish company that made The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. It is known for making big role-playing games like these.
Pawe Sasko, Cyberpunk 2077’s lead quest designer and quest director, reacted to a recent article in PC Gamer that said “The cinematic BioWare-style RPG is dead, it just doesn’t know it yet.”
It looks like that publication caused “a commotion” among the designers at CD Projekt. “After reading this article, everyone said, ‘We mostly agree with the main point,'” Sasko told PC Gamer. “At least when it comes to triple-A, I think we’re just running into a wall, and we’re going to run into that wall very soon.”
This “wall” that Sasko was talking about is how the prices and complexity of making games like Cyberpunk 2077 keep going up. With an estimated budget of $316 million, CD Projekt’s ambitious sci-fi RPG is one of the most expensive games ever made.
Fans and critics alike like the game, but when it first came out, it got a lot of bad press because it had a lot of bugs and problems. But people who are quick to criticize should know how hard it was to make the game.
For example, moving from The Witcher 3’s third-person view to first-person can be a lot harder than it looks.
Sasko said that The Witcher 3 had a lot of “tricks” used by the developers. This meant that items could appear and disappear, scenes could cut to black between parts of quests, and sometimes animations didn’t need to be made. Sasko said, “Then you look at Cyberpunk.” “There are no cuts or black screens, and you’re always in “V.
” It takes place in person. It became a lot more expensive to make new branches. Compared to Cyberpunk, adding branches to Witcher 3 was so easy. This article was a big reason for that conversation.”
The developers at CD Projekt thought the “no-cuts” first-person view was important to Cyberpunk 2077, but this made it harder to add paths to the story. Sasko said that a game like Disco Elysium, which has a lot of text and isn’t as complicated physically, could add story branches for a lot less money.
Mike Laidlaw, who was the creative director for Dragon Age, said that making a dramatic game will lead to comparisons, which means that it will be “keeping pace” with games like those made by Naughty Dog and Cyberpunk.
Laidlaw praised CD Projekt’s cyberpunk game, but he didn’t like how much work it must have taken. Laidlaw said of Cyberpunk 2077, “It was like Half-Life 2’s unbroken view, but with all the branching and other stuff from all your games.”
“I think it was a great accomplishment, but I imagine it cost a lot on a personal level as well as in money.”
Josh Sawyer and Lis Moberly of Obsidian Entertainment were also at the RPG round table. It was an interesting look into the world of making games. Here, people who want to can listen to the whole 80-minute talk.