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Old 25 June 2020, 08:49   #1
amigang
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Triple AAA Amiga games?

So I been playing the last of us 2 recently, mixed feeling so far, but any who, the term used in modern gaming would be its a triple AAA release, the term basically means its a big budget, highly anticipated, best in class release.

It made me wonder what games would you feel back in the day qualify for Amiga, and does any know what the highest budget game produce for the Amiga was? I remember Rise of the robots be really highly hype for cd32 & a1200, plus I think it claimed it had a £10 million budget, but that was a multi platform release and was rubbish

Here the one I’m think that I feel had a lot of hype for and big release for the Amiga, but not to sure on there budgets.
Monkey island 2, lemmings 2, zool 2, frontier elite 2, ocean e.p.i.c.
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Old 25 June 2020, 11:30   #2
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Microcosm, certainly. It was a big-budget multi-platform release, and in interviews at the time the devs said the CD32 version was the best technically. Of course, views on how good Microcosm actually is as a game vary enormously.

In general, though, I think the concept of a "big budget AAA release" is one that came after the Amiga's heyday.

-EDIT- I remember Inferno for the CD32 being hyped as a big-budget major release too, but it never materialised of course.
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Old 25 June 2020, 12:00   #3
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Although that term wasn't really around I think Psygnosis were trying to be that big AAA company spending lots of money on advertising, big fancy box art and T-Shirts.
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Old 25 June 2020, 12:30   #4
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I think the difference is, when you're spending millions on a product, you will describe it aptly to generate interest in it.

Nothing on Amiga comes close to todays productions, the average team size to make an Amiga game is probably smaller than the team responsible for sound development on a new Playstation title.

However, there were Amiga games that had big expectations of them.

Cannon Fodder, SWOS, Desert Strike, Syndicate, Elite 2, Powermonger, Speedball 2, Xenon 2, Gods and plenty of big name titles were expected to do well.

Certain development names would always generate a bit of excitement, so anything by Bullfrog, Sensible Software, Bitmap Brothers, Factor 5, Sid Meier, would always get extra pages in the press because of their knack of delivering games that were generally that bit better than others.

And in a world of coin op conversions or licenced games, some of these original titles bested them in sales which was quite the feat back then.
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Old 25 June 2020, 16:18   #5
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Flashback
https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga...entity/credits

Monkey island 2
https://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/m...evenge/credits

Lost Vikings
https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga...ikings/credits

Rise of the dragon
https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga...dragon/credits

King's quest VI
https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga...morrow/credits
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Old 25 June 2020, 20:40   #6
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I’m curious to know from anyone who wrote or published games back then were there such things as AAA titles back then? Yes there were lots of good games but did they cost a lot to develop? Programmed by big teams, development taking more than 6 months, where the NRE went into the £500k+ range.

I don’t remember many.

Microcosm has already been mentioned. I remember EPIC being what might be considered an AAA title, in development for years, with NRE running into millions, running late, extreme hype. Possibly TFX which never actually got sold on the Amiga? But was talked about as being in development with magazine articles for years.

Last edited by alexh; 25 June 2020 at 20:45.
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Old 25 June 2020, 23:48   #7
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I was thinking more about this today, so decided to do some googling.

It would appear that the budgets for games (in general, not just Amiga) started to increase rapidly around the mid-1990's as soon as games started to incorporate rendered video sequences, digitised live-action sequences, or celebrity voices, or a combination of the three. The Wing Commander series was known for this, apparently, and Wing Commander IV in 1996 (obviously not on the Amiga) was possibly the first proper "big budget AAA game" due to live action and hiring Mark Hamill.

So back to the Amiga... this got me thinking as to whether Alien Breed Tower Assault could possibly be one of the biggest budget Amiga games due to the awesome lengthy intro which is a combination of 3D rendering and live-action?
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Old 26 June 2020, 00:43   #8
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Liberation was pretty large by Amiga standards.
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Old 26 June 2020, 01:30   #9
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For me, there's a 2 kinds of triple A.
- Big budget game, that is decently playable (if it's rubbish like Rise of the Robots, I can't call it triple A, no matter the budget... just imho).
- Smaller (but very talented team) that creates game on a limited budget, but because of the quality, it sells like a high budget game.

The second "triple A" I mentioned is something like early Blizzard when they released Warcraft 2, Diablo, and Starcraft, or ID software with Doom.
They weren't huge companies, but these games makes them huge.

So, AAA titles for Amiga, imho is:
(I am sure I'll forget something)
- Wing Commander
- Ruff'n'Tumble (it's just so awesome polished game)
- Aladdin
- Gunship 2000
- Shadow of the Beast
- Mortal Kombat (especially 2)

Many games from Team 17 and Psygnosis I think I can call them triple A.
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Old 26 June 2020, 02:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
I’m curious to know from anyone who wrote or published games back then were there such things as AAA titles back then? Yes there were lots of good games but did they cost a lot to develop? Programmed by big teams, development taking more than 6 months, where the NRE went into the £500k+ range.

I don’t remember many.

Microcosm has already been mentioned. I remember EPIC being what might be considered an AAA title, in development for years, with NRE running into millions, running late, extreme hype. Possibly TFX which never actually got sold on the Amiga? But was talked about as being in development with magazine articles for years.
Lots of games had sizeable budgets still, but the main cost back then was licencing for film and coin-op.

In fact I think theres no secret that Ocean started going down the more original game path because the licences for games was getting more and more expensive with each passing year.

I think some of the more expensive ones was stuff like Cinemaware which seemed to take an age to get developed.

When you factor in 5-6 people working for nearly two years on a project at say conservatively £20,000 each year and rent on a building, the costs add up quite rapidly.

You only have to look at the stuff Psygnosis were doing. Their core business was Amiga, and they were able to afford a suite of Silicon Graphics Indy machines which were not cheap.

I think that tells us the levels of money being spent on AAA titles in the Amiga day.
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Old 26 June 2020, 15:02   #11
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Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
Cinemaware
Oh yeah...
Defender of the Crown, while not having deep gameplay, and was very basic, had groundbraking graphics, that showed Amiga in it's glory, and that makes it AAA title, for me.
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Old 26 June 2020, 16:03   #12
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As a curiosity, it would be nice to know the length of the development of these games, and how many of the devs were fulltime from start to finish.

Let's say, we use today's money for simplicity, and the same gross pay for each dev; between 30.000 and 40.000 € gross yearly; let's say that the dev time is 2 years, and, - let's be generous - , that all the team worked from start to finish; then, the first game of that list, with 14 devs in multiple roles, would cost today 840.000€ plus testing, plus study location rent, materials, software licensing fees, electricity, other expenses etc, plus distribution (disk printing, boxing shipping), marketing and publishing fees... Still, under 5.000.000, in today money probably.

That's not today biggest titles from largest studios, but it's definitely not indie. They are for sure AAA, considering that time period, and how much money games could probably get from investments partners.
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Old 26 June 2020, 19:18   #13
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The first time I saw the term AAA was in 1994 in game development job adverts in the back of Edge magazine. This was around the release of the PS1 as it was the cover story.
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Old 26 June 2020, 22:37   #14
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I'd say the closest game that could possibly be considered as 'AAA' would probably be the multi-format smash that was Mortal Kombat II. Rise of the Robots was touted as an Amiga 'AAA' game (not so much in those words) but it sure was hyped.
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Old 26 June 2020, 22:44   #15
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Originally Posted by th4t1guy View Post
Liberation was pretty large by Amiga standards.
I don't think Liberation was a big budget game though. I was under the impression this was developed mainly by one person Tony Crowther, locked away for several years. Support from his family and the publisher

Last edited by alexh; 26 June 2020 at 22:56.
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Old 26 June 2020, 22:52   #16
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Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
When you factor in 5-6 people working for nearly two years on a project at say conservatively £20,000 each year and rent on a building, the costs add up quite rapidly.
Were games taking 2 years back then? That's a serious chunk of a platforms lifetime (5-7 years). I trust you're right, you worked in the industry. I've read games were taking 3-6 months?
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Old 27 June 2020, 02:26   #17
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Were games taking 2 years back then? That's a serious chunk of a platforms lifetime (5-7 years). I trust you're right, you worked in the industry. I've read games were taking 3-6 months?
The usual crap could take 3-6 months, but stuff like Cinemaware took ages to come out.

Quick conversions from the ST were a few weeks, some ports took a little longer if the programmer had the time to put a few bells and whistles on it to make it a bit more Amiga, but it was generally the original games that took the time, i guess because they had to be more ambitious.

Certainly upto a year wasn't unusual for an original game development time wise.
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Old 29 June 2020, 16:05   #18
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I don't think Liberation was a big budget game though. I was under the impression this was developed mainly by one person Tony Crowther, locked away for several years. Support from his family and the publisher
That sounds more like the first Captive game to me. For the second one, HOL lists a decent amount of people for credits. I also have a hard time believing all the various cutscenes were done by a single person.
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Old 29 June 2020, 19:35   #19
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I don't think the two time frames can be compared. Gaming didn't become mainstream until the ps1, and that's when the industry literally exploded.. Today's big budget, aaa titles cost a fortune because of size and scope. Marketing is also massive, and that is the one thing that can make or break a game.

For the era we're talking about I think AAA must be judged on expectation and anticipation. A sequel to a massive sleeper game, like lemmings would be considered AAA, but at the same time a game by the bitmaps must also be considered AAA due to their reputation.

Most marketing back then was mainly just magazines, advertising in magazines and developers who were more involved (think abiut game development articles etc).
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Old 29 June 2020, 22:30   #20
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For the second one [Liberation], HOL lists a decent amount of people for credits.
I am fairly sure the main team was 2 (possibly 3 people). I'd be very surprised if they worked in the same office. I'm curious to know for sure. I think several listed were contractors who just did paintings for box artwork and title loading screens etc.
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