Xbox Game Studios Boss Describes How The Days Of Single-Studio Triple-A Games Are "Long Gone"

Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty recently explained how the days of triple-A games from single studios are “long gone.” According to the executive, partnerships involving multiple developers are the way of the future.

The news comes from a panel meeting held at the ongoing PAX West in Seattle, Washington by way of VGC. “How we make games is evolving,” Booty remarked. “The idea of a single team under one roof really doesn’t happen that often anymore.”

Booty went on to discuss a couple of past instances. “I’ll use an example, our Perfect Dark team down in Santa Monica, The Initiative.” The executive added that “we just did this big partnership with Crystal Dynamics and I read online ‘oh, this must mean there’s a problem or something.’ It’s quite the opposite. You’ve got this veteran team at Crystal Dynamics, a big triple-A team with over 100 people that becomes available, of course we want to work with them, particularly if they’ve made a game like that before.”

“And that’s how we’ve done an awful lot of work,” Booty pointed out. “If you think about Age of Empires 4 which just launched last fall, that was made in partnership with Relic Studios up in Vancouver, a great partnership. And even something like Flight Simulator, we worked with a studio in France called Asobo. And that kind of co-development when you’re working out with people like Certain Affinity, Iron Galaxy, Blackbird, all those studios are so key to the products that we make.”

The practice of spreading development over multiple studios however comes with a few caveats. “That, though, also adds some complexity where if one of those studios has problems, it then impacts the schedule,” Booty said. “So, the days are gone when you can sort of go ‘everybody, round up the team in the cafeteria, I want to tell everybody to work harder this Wednesday.’ That’s long gone. It’s gotten a lot more complicated than that.”

While these particular comments from Booty were fairly innocuous, the executive previously attracted attention for expressing a certain amount of interest in replacing quality assurance teams with artificial intelligence. This of course comes in the wake of a growing unionization movement.

"Every single time anything new goes into a big game, the whole game has to be tested, front to back, side to side,” Booty remarked. “My dream, there's a lot going on with AI machine learning right now and people using AI to generate all these images. What I always say when I bump into the AI folks is ‘help me figure out how to use an AI bot to go test a game.’ Because I would love to be able to start up 10,000 instances of a game in the cloud, so there's 10,000 copies of the game running, deploy an AI bot to spend all night testing that game, then in the morning, we get a report.”

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