The evolution of AAA gaming


Run away! Run away!
Nov 19, 2011
Uncanny Valley
What are your gripes with the evolution of gaming?
What are your praises?
Have you turned to Indies and if yes at which point?
Do you work in a games company and how did they change from the inside?

Inspired by this post:

Where to begin...

- The general dumbing down trend including:-
- FPS Dumbing Down :
- RPG Dumbing Down :
- More RPG Dumbing Down :
- Stealth Dumbing Down :
- Consolization and using controllers as a primary input for isometric RPG's (Dragon Age Inquisition)
- FPS's with auto-aim for the sake of controllers
- Giving people in multiplayer FPS's the ability to see enemies through walls or on a mini-map and a community that bursts into tears if you try and take that away "old school" style
- Day One DLC
- Pay2Cheat DLC
- DLC for the sake of DLC :
- DRM (including multiple layers)
- Limited activation limits
- Have to be online to save the game
- Junk mobile cash ins (Deus Ex: The Fall, Age of Empires Castle Siege, etc)
- Aggressively pushing pre-orders combined with review embargoes to encourage gamers to get into the habit of making uninformed decisions vs waiting for reviews (informed decisions)
- "Shaping" gameplay in modern AAA FPS's to be a grind-fest to 'encourage' gamers to use Pay2Unlock micro-transactions
- Bad ports and horrendously unoptimised games
- "Platform Parity", eg, 30fps locks or massive reduction in size of PC maps (eg, Deus Ex 2, Thief 3, shrunk 75-80% to fit original XBox's 64MB memory)
- Moving from quick-saves in multiple slots to single-slot checkpoint-only save systems, only to have one bug then break the whole game
- Nausea inducing over the top camera shake
- "Myopia simulator" (laughably exaggerated Depth of Field which gives your avatar worse vision than my 94 year old granny)
- "Cataract simulator" (Motion Blur)
- "Glaucoma simulator" (Vignetting)
- "Severe migraine simulator" (Film Grain)
- "My characters vision should resemble a faulty 1990's digital camera lens for absolutely no logical reason" simulator (Chromatic Aberration)
- "Giraffe with a broken neck simulator" (excessive Head Bob)
- "Penguin with a gammy leg simulator" (even more stupid side to side Head Bob)
- Sequels or DLC of old games made 15-20 years later by completely different overly political teams (Baldur's Gate Siege of Dragonsphere)
- Stale mechanics (crafting for the sake of crafting, unlocking for the sake of unlocking, 2-weapon limit, auto-regenerating health, Ubisoft's annual reskinned "tower climbing simulator", etc)
- Devs that leave it up to the community to finish their games with free mods, then later try and lock same mods behind store-fronts (everything Bethesda)
- Parasitic publishers that vacuums up quality studio's, then dumbs everything down into generic mush (everything EA)
- "Anti-cheat" programs that send back data on what the user is running
- In-game telemetry that send back data on how the user plays
- DRM'd clients that send back data on what, how,where and when the user plays
- Quick Time Events and "Simon Says" / "Press X to win" boss fights
- "Peashooter vs tank" mechanics to over-exaggerate the importance of levelling up in FPS's where the "RPG" mechanics feel completely fake and tacked on.
- Overly large skill trees which results in "Excel gameplay", ie, each adds a non-perceivable +2% which ends up "number chasing" / grinding for trivialities
- The "need" to unlock perfectly normal actions you should have had from the start
- Releasing games in a half-broken buggy state then using gamers as week-one patch beta testers as a substitute for a half-decent QA team
- Industry "bullshots" (Massive graphical downgrades from E3 footage to real-world release gameplay)
- Bloated VRAM requirements on PC's in otherwise ugly looking games (eg, Mirrors Edge Catalyst) due to lack of optimization when porting from consoles unified memory to PC's split RAM/VRAM
- Major AAA studios not bothering to even test keyboard & mouse before launch due to the expectation everyone will be using a controller
- Giving gamers a nervous twitch when they start the game and a "Unity Engine: Personal Edition" logo pops up...
- Mobile Pay2Win troll developers like King patenting the word "Candy" then suing over "Saga"
- 15GB games that "need" 50GB space due to uncompressed audio (Titanfall, etc)
- Developers that get busted trying to inflate the score of bad games (EA employees caught posting high Dragon Age 2 reviews on metacritic)
- Developers that get caught with obvious "bribes for reviews" (can I get a free tablet for reviewing WatchDogs too, please Ubisoft?)
- "Streamlined for the casual audience". I think we've all figured out what this industry code-word means by now
- Trying to force all FPS's to be "open world", all adventure games to have branching plots, etc, even in games where that doesn't fit the plot due to an obsession with genre "formulas"
- Churning out reboots, remakes, over-sequels, cash-ins, etc, long past franchise's natural sell by date, and a complete inability to actually make new games (virtually all AAA studios)

In short - pretty much 80-90% of modern "evolved" AAA game design...
Most game developers have shifted their focus to a different market. The gamer that wants to be entertained rather than challenged.
I think many of the design decisions follow from that shift in focus.

While I personally regret that, from a commercial perspective it makes quite a bit of sense. It is a bigger market.
So yes, I play mostly (but not exclusively) old-school and indie titles these days. I think that for me this transition started around 1999 ~ 2000.

It will be interesting to hear the views of the younger generation in this regard, as my own views are clouded in nostalgia for the "good old days".
Do younger players experience the same kind of blandness/hollowness and on-rail/hand-holding gameplay in newer titles as opposed to the old ones?
You can't just take all this and put it in one chest... no game can have all these issues together...

The "Eyes issues simulators" are just "Art" and are not even bad if used in the correct way.

Duke Nukem 3D actually had "Auto-Aim", and it was a bless, because at the time I was still playing it with only the keyboard, like I did with Doom (I didn't understand how play with the mouse... seemed too complex...)

Anyway I'm mostly disappointed too about the evolution of gaming, mostly because I have seen great games became a little lame in sequels... but not all of them.
Dungeon Keeper 2 -> No more good/bad interactions with different creatures of the dungeon... No more unique type of view of creatures during first person... All of them happily goes to train themselves automatically, etc...

Oblivion/Skyrim -> Too many houses/dungeons duplicates, in both games there is 1 (ONE) secret passage duped all over the world... No more deep dialogues, and the only things that keeps a background story are the books, that mostly came from Morrowind... Skyrim was simplified even more in different aspects so much that I can't even remember the people I have quested for... (I have anyway to say that I really appreciated the "Shivering Island" DLC of Oblivion)

Starcraft 2 -> Too many timed missions, too many "only one way to win" missions taking away the personal strategy, and some useless choices during the story... oh, and yeah, internet connection required for activation....

The Witcher 2 -> I had really the impression to be on a railroad, caged in those arbitrary directions... even the first game was like that, but it was designed in a way that made me always forget that. Also it was meant for a gamepad... (Luckily they fixed everything and went way beyond just that in the third game)
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I started gaming on the C64 and back in those days a lot of games were rather simpler than todays versions, as the system was very limited. Then there are games that are so immersive and complex, that do easily compare to games in the "golden era". Just look at Skyrim, or any big MMORPG for that matter. And I definitely consider those as AAA titles.

But for myself I always put games in two categories: Story Driven games and Highscore/Challenge Driven. And for Story driven games, there are more than just a few, that I put in my favorite game list in recent years. Just take games like Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn, Witcher 3 or GTA 5. And for Highscore/Challenge driven games there are hardmodes in a lot of modern games that are AAA titles in that segment. Just take games like Dark Souls, God of War.

So I really think it higly depends on what triple A games you take a look at. Of course there are always examples to proof anyones point right or wrong. But looking at a game like Dragon Age 1 I can say that I highly enjoyed the title and liked the focus they put on getting a good whole package.

Because it must be clear, that creating a huge level in Doom 1 is a joke in comparison to a level created for a Blockbuster Game like Call of Duty. The number of ours and game designers is exponentially higher the more photo realistic the graphics get.

That means a developer has to decide on what content he spends money.

But that just helps to put light on my conclusions:
There are a lot of AAA titles, I gladly spent money on and enjoy playing through. Some of them even multiple times. But there are even more AAA titles I will NOT spent my money on, as I know they will not be worth the money. But there has never be a more golden era of gaming than today - because you have the choice to buy the games you like and this includes indies or retro games including RPG's like Divinity Original Sin's, which easily compares to games like Baldur's Gate once you put the nostalgic glasses off. And although I personally dislike modern ingame shops, DLC and Pre-Order tactics I simply do not use them - while I also acknowledge that they will not go away soon, as enough people are willing to spent money for some other outfit that would have been included with the games back in the days.
I've (amateurishly) been collecting games for several decades. The good were always outnumbered many times by the bad or ugly. The bad games just don't get remembered as much. And the market always tried to go where the money is, producing lots of crappy Epigones. IMO the indie scene isn't any different. 75% of the titles seem to be uninspired platformers and at most 1% is actually innovative while prices and practices (DRM, DLC etc) have begun to rival AAA.

That said, I don't see a problem with any of this. We mostly get what we deserve. There is no basic human right for good games. And more importantly whether a game is good or bad (as a game) is mostly independent from whether it is using 1 or 100 GB, 2D, 3D, or VR, or whatever hype technology of the day and more dependent on how that technology is used. To me the important part will always be the <1% innovative games that make collecting them worth my while (and that might just as likely be the 20 year later politically influenced bastard sequel).

Personally I'd prefer that instead of putting the gazillionth mediocre game on some drmed shop and later being disappointed that it wont even pay for development costs, people would go back to just releasing them for fun using some free license, but everybody is free to do what they want with their work.
Well, to be honest all Elder Scrolls tiles have been titles were you cheese the mobs to death with no challenge looking at the gameplay. I never was a huge fan of the series, but Skyrim had way more appeal to me than Morrowind altough I finieshed the main story of both games.

When look at the insane amount of play times of more than 2000 hours on Skyrim on Steam accounts I figure the game at least has its appeal to many gamers.
Elder Scrolls aside, I think many of the "dumbed down" AAA titles have been a great success both commercially and in number of hours played.

They provide a streamlined and (developer) controlled experience which seems to resonate quite positively among the mass markets.
Those with a preference for the more old-school type of games tend to flock to indies, whom are doing a great job of filling the gap.

Games have always been about pushing technological boundaries and the good-looking games have done well for themselves most of the time.
However, it seems that such production value is so vastly expensive these days that it comes at the cost of gameplay and/or writing.
Though @_jr_ makes a valid point, we only remember the gems of the old days and rarely speak about all the crap.
There's a lot of bad stuff in AAA gaming right now, but I wouldn't call what came before a "golden era" either.

Remember that in the 90s/00s we already had :
- Endless variants of the dominating game genre (FPS then RTS)
- Crappy DRM

And we had some bad trend that are less common now:
- Games with huge bugs/missing features that would never get patched
- Games that were just technological showcases and/or required the latest hardware to be playable

There also used to be a tendency to target teenagers, and abuse blood and gore to sell. While there is still some of that, I feel that games have matured on that aspect.

It's also easy to forget how many games in the past had complex UI for no good reason, some really tedious mechanics that brought nothing interesting to the game and many other things that make them painful to play now (the need to have paper & pen nearby to write down notes or draw maps, maze-like maps that are difficult to navigate, etc.)

Finally, many gamers like to complain about how the sequel of some game removed something from the previous game without actually thinking about what that thing brought to the game. Some mechanisms only add useless complexity. Getting rid of them allows the player to focus more on interesting stuff. I agree that there are many cases of over-simplification, but I think that it's wrong to consider all simplifications as bad.

While I appreciate the indie scene and what it does to shake things up in gaming (though I'd have some criticism here as well), I still appreciate to play both indie and AAA games.
Nice food for thought. Entertainment, not challenge, in the 2000s. Sounds like a fitting summary to me.
Personally, I am not totally uninterested in modern gaming, but 90%. It´s probably mostly a getting-over-40 age matter. Grew up being a handheld gaming fan primarily, home computer and, in the 90ies, PC gaming secondarily, and consoles/TV last. What made me fit the Pandora/GP2X niche is probably right for me - PS1 as the technically most advanced thing.
Nowadays on the Vita (for example) I loved simple shooters, and dislike cinema-like storyline cut-scene ridden not-simple shooters, where 14 year old online gamers outwit me. ;)
The current gen industry is so big now it´s impossible to play everything or even to just test everything.
Some ten years ago I have decided not to jump on the PS2/3/Xbox etc train but to catch up with what I missed, and I have been drawing plenty of enjoyment from this.
Before that I had a five years gap (not playing anything), and before that, I was primarily in new / current games. But somehow, when I turned thirty, I had enough of the "FPS map design" modernism. The first spoiler in Klumpen´s post made me moan out loud, I remembered suddenly where my then gaming fatigue had originated. :)
It´s all a matter of taste I guess. It is fine that the industry (and niche divices) are booming. But I know why, for me, the favorite games tend to be from 1985-1999!
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About the RPG spells number : it's quality that counts, right ? :p

I've been trying many games from many time periods, from Alley Cat to Modern Warfare via The Sims and Gran Turismo.
Being born in the age of the Internet, I easily found cheats and savegames (single player only, I'm not a jerk !), so I did not actually finish many games myself. I'm cutting on all that now for the most part.
But most games I did finish, were not especially challenging (maybe that's why I could finish them, heh). But they had something else : strong gameplay and a unique appeal.

I'm a big fan of the Saints Row series ; the campaign is funny yet diversified and the gameplay quite enjoyable. Kinda like an 80s action movie (which is a major inspiration) : action-packed with punchlines and absurd situations on top.
One of my favourite racing games of all time is still Race Driver : GRID. Once you get the physics, its pretty awesome to drive and the career is excellent. On the other hand, GRiD 2 was a major disappointment for me.
Despite being not much into the RPG genre, I loved Fable : The Lost Chapters and Mass Effect (the first, still have to play the rest of the trilogy). The first was a good first realtime RPG (short and attractive story with few side quests), the second had an incredible yet believable universe filled with codex entries.
And what's not to love in the Mario & Luigi series ? I should play the last NDS title though, 'cause Superstar Saga and Partners in Time were excellent.
Mafia II was a game I finished several times (much like Driver : San Francisco by the way), because even though it was a bit poorer than the first opus in liberty and overall quality, the storytelling and immersion were spot on.

Remember that much of the challenge offered by oldschool games was to lengthen the game, sometimes making it stupidly hard.

I agree on the evolution of level design : we have more memory so we can build more levels, and so we don't need to make each one as hard to have a long campaign. But for the sake of story coherence and
I also agree on the evolution of players : those born during the arcade age want a run for their money, because they're used to challenging genres (platformers, shoot them ups, versus fighters, dungeon crawlers...) and the thrill of succeeding on a difficult passage. Now the marketing depts want casual players to enjoy any game, and they're willing to pay the price.
What I disagree on is the evolution of the fun : it's always been there, and always will. Maybe not the same kind of fun, but it wasn't really better then.

I think what we're lacking now is AA games. Those reasonably-high-budget-yet-enthusiast-oriented games. I've been struggling to find good PC racing games lately.
Besides DiRT Rally, there ain't much combining great semi-sim gameplay and good content lately. It's either arcady games or simulators. I do like arcade racers (big fan of Underground or Burnout for example), but they're not going in the right way to me (saw videos of the latest NFS, suddenly felt kinda ill...).
What I regret in the latest games is their little lack of personality. Especially when it comes to UI. Take Fable : Anniversary for example. Bland UI and graphics compared to the semi-cartoony fantasy universe of the original. Gran Turismo 5's career menu wasn't as cool-looking as the four preceding it.

But it's not that bad. It's not even worse in fact. Times change, we change, so the games change. It wasn't better before, because we can enjoy both current and older games. You would miss Portal 2 now, would you ?
I've first been into gaming for the entertainment. I've never been looking for the challenge. But now I'm playing for the experiences. And there's still a whole lot of them both in the past and the future.
Rubber-banding in racing games (terrible).
Level scaling in RPGs (not gonna play those games, sorry)

But I can't say that I'm all that disappointed... Maybe I'm just cherry picking my games, or maybe I never really played a lot of "AAA" games.
I think what we're lacking now is AA games. Those reasonably-high-budget-yet-enthusiast-oriented games. I've been struggling to find good PC racing games lately.
Besides DiRT Rally, there ain't much combining great semi-sim gameplay and good content lately. It's either arcady games or simulators.
What I regret in the latest games is their little lack of personality. Especially when it comes to UI. Take Fable : Anniversary for example. Bland UI and graphics compared to the semi-cartoony fantasy universe of the original. Gran Turismo 5's career menu wasn't as cool-looking as the four preceding it.

Well, everything Codemasters do is pretty spot on I think. Dirt and Grid are good and are as arcadey or simulation-y as you want (settings).
@Citizen_Lurker : Urgh, don't get me started on rubber banding. This sh*t drives me bonkers.
Codemasters, well it depends. Been so much disappointed in GRID 2 I didn't bother to try Autosport. Never been a fan of DiRT too, until Rally that is.
Man, I gotta reinstall CMR2. Loved that game back in the day.
I remember having a conversation somewhere years ago about the first Bioshock game...
people were telling how awesome was it's combat system and special effects, and they were telling that it was the only good point about the game, and this point seemed the same for all of them...

...but instead, for me, it was totally the contrary... I found the game damn repetitive and boring, with nothing exceptional or innovative about the gameplay, and the only things that really kept me there until the end (an awesome good end) were the story and the art...

Oh, and by the way, Bioshock was gifted to me when I didn't have a videocard with a 3.0 shader (or 2.0 ???), so I found these many issues for the first start:
- The online activation wasn't working because it didn't found installed the last patch...
- The last patch wasn't compatible with the installer in the CD, so it wasn't downloading it automatically...
- Tried to get it from the main site... but the main site didn't have a working link...
- Found the patch in another site (like FilePlanet or similar) and installed it... so I was finally able to activate the game
- Game started black, and I was just able to ear sounds... I was able to walk and all, but as a blind person... neither the manual nor the box spoke about this issue...
- Found out on the internet that the issue was imputable to the missing shaders 3.0 on the videocard...
- Found a petition online to ask to add support to shaders 2.0... the softwarehouse responded positively... but in the end nothing was done...
- Found an amateur project to create 2.0 shaders for the game... AWESOME !! It worked and made me able to play the game.
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Which is why I live on emulators and don't own modern consoles.
It's extremely rare when I actually get excited for a game nowadays, just cutscene after cutscene.
Kinda how the late megaman games were absolutely terrible:
There's not enough time to play all games i want, like most people i suppose.

I'm still trying to test all games released for Commodore 64, but with 25000 older titles, and 30-70 games released every year since 1994, it's a difficult task to say the least.

And if you like to see graphics, music, demos, try new programs, you are doomed!!!, ;)

This days i try to focus more on indie and homebrew games, i had enough bad experiences with AAA games, and tired of repetitive sagas.
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What are your gripes with the evolution of gaming?
Gaming has taken the same course that music and film have. It's become the biggest, $-wise, media industry in the world. Behemoth groups targeting the masses are bound to happen. This is not a gripe, more a nod to the inevitable. It will happen in all areas manifesting the malodor of big bucks.

The masses are enchanted by excellence in visual design and awe inspiring set pieces. The greater the number and the higher the quality of assets included in a game world, the more work is involved. If you create assets that, after changing a detail in the world map, don't fit in any more, you've wasted time. Linear hose-like levels take away some of the problems in that. They are easier to create or adapt and you can make absoluetly sure that the player will see all of the content. It's hard to justify the person-power, time and money spent on locations, models, textures, music, voice work or what-have-you if 90% of players will not see that content. That's a thing incredibly hard to answer for in front of a board of business people.
Indies OTOH are smaller, leaner and can cater to those 10% of players more easily, making for a memorable experience. See "negative possibility space" in video games.

I have a gripe with the use of the term 'developers'. In AAA studios developers are bound to lack the kind and amount of freedom that is inherent to working in a very small team. So calling out devs is the wrong thing to do.

What are your praises?
Accessibility. Getting a friend interested in your hobby is a great thing. I wouldn't look back if a buddy started gaming with Bio Shock or Dragon Age Inquisition, but ended up playing System Shock 2 or Divinity with me in co-op.

And again: Accessibility. Everyone can make games. Incredibly cheap computers are available, the web is everywhere and chock-full of information on the topic. You can study all the classics via emulation. International, real-time collaboration with programmers, writers, artists, composers and testers has never been easier - it's the golden age for independent developers.

Have you turned to Indies and if yes at which point?
I will never draw a line in the sand - I like having options. The more, the merrier. I will cherry pick and ignore according to my tastes, let my wallet vote.

I may find something to niggle about in every game. Be it glitches, controls, optimization, variety, depth or missing balls/ovaries to take a risk and go the extra mile to make something more memorable or even spectacular.
But I will fondly remember every game that made me feel the feels. And the reasons for that are varied:
- It might be the writing and character design that sticks with you forever. Technobabylon. Spec Ops: The Line. Kathy Rain.
- Or the mechanics of that fighting system and the knowledge about the varied cast of enemies and the tricks up their sleeves. The repeated training of actions until perfection is achieved. Dark Souls. Downwell. Typing of the Dead. Racing games. Competitive FPS. Rogue-likes. Strategy etc.
- Or the intricately designed, atmosphere-heavy environments that just suck you into the world and won't let go until you have explored every last nook. System Shock 2. Gothic.
- Or it may just be the perfect medium for you to socialize and spend time with others in, either cooperating with or preying on others. Eve Online. Dark Age of Camelot.
... and, most notably, good combinations of some of the above. Psychonauts. And again, Dark Souls. Fez.

In the end big buck productions try to cater to a crowd that is easy to please with a known set of variables, it's a safe thing to do. Indies are the specialists. Many of them may have a hard time because it's hard to get your particular set of virtues into the hands of a customer who doesn't know about what they would really enjoy.
Drawing a line back to the beginning - indies can really benefit from AAA gaming. If you get a casual gamer to look further than their own nose, you have a real chance of being able to cater to their tastes, which they are still exploring.
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That "FPS Design" image is kinda funny. It's almost like it's trying to compare the map of an arena shooter to a linear campaign path, which could be in any game. "This is what Doom 2016's map design looks like superimposed over Street Fighter 5's story mode!!! The shame!!!" Also, I don't know why anyone would trash-talk Dragon Age: Origins. It truly is a modern classic, at least on PC.

A lot of the major gripes stem from the corporatization of video games. These companies want the big sales numbers, the big bucks, and will try to make a game as quickly and cheaply in order to meet that goal. DLC, day-one patches, babifying games to lower difficulty, simplifying gameplay and more are all means to justify meeting an 11/11/11 release date or a 20th aniversary release date. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when a moneyman forces someone with more talent than him to make profit first, quality product second. Not to say these giants are incapable of making excellent games, but all of this moneymaking gruff really hurts the experience in general.

But then there's the more subjective complaints about game design from the old-timers who haven't broadened their horizons enough. I will say that there's nothing wrong with sticking to what you know, there really isn't, but try not coloring over the lines here. I would much rather take on a chalice dungeon in Bloodbourne trying to get Uncanny/Lost weapons than spend eleventy billion fucking years slogging my way through Myst, but that's just me. Am I gonna scream from the mountaintops about how I find Skyrim more playable than any text-based adventure game ever created? No, because I know that "Lots o' Menus: The Game" has its unique appeal and charm and I know Skyrim's numerous pitfalls very well. I might look up gameplay videos of the best the ZX Spectrum or C64 has to offer as a point of interest...before getting back to throwing people into walls of spikes in For Honor. Could I write a game like For Honor for the PS4? Hell no, but that's not why I play on the PS4.

People should experience the classics, but the swath of excellent AAA games shouldn't be ignored, even if you have to avoid the nickel-and-diming or easy-put-pretty games to get to the good stuff.

As for indie studios, they're just gems. They're like the small boutique stores that find a way to function in an economy where the big-timers rule the land. In this era of gaming, I think indie devs more than make up for the sins of the big media corporations at the top of gaming, even if I've been waiting for Cryamore to come out for the past 4 goddamn years. One day...

These days, I feel like much of what makes games challenging has been moved to online play. For instance, with a bit of practice, you can handily beat lvl.9 CPUs in Smash Bros. 4, but even at that point, you'd probably get toasted if you run into someone streaming a For Glory session. Pokemon Sun's very enjoyable (all the cool kids play on Battle Mode: Set), but I could never bring my in-game team online.
tbh it would be awesome if game development would go like this:
- someone does the world building and story
- after that, the game designers base their mechanics around that world and the plot; meanwhile concept art is being created
- if that's done, a prototype is made and mechanics get ajusted, balanced, or scrapped if they weren't any good; concept art is (almost) done
- the prototype code is discarded (because usually it's just crap)
- the finalized mechanics are implemented, art assets are being created
- polishing (code and art)

sadly, most of the time everything is done simultaneosly, and at least one department is outsourced (usually with mediocre results, since either the briefings suck or the outsourcers (or both)). now you have coders who have to implement a dialogue system without knowing the specs, artists who have to work with unfinished concepts, and game designers who have to wait for someone to give feedback on something (who is currently on a three week vacation).

EDIT: game development is more fun than it sounds, really. i wish we'd get over that stupid crunch bullshit though since it creates more trouble than anything else :/
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