While single-player focused adventure games like God of War and Shadow of the Tomb Raider are becoming more common in the AAA gaming space, they certainly aren't cheap to make. Eidos Montréal head David Anfossi told GamesIndustry.biz that from his experience these type of games cost "$75-100 million," and that the estimate was " production only" as promotion for a key title will take up another $35 million dollars.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third adventure game starring Lara Croft since the 2013 reboot, which renewed interest in the series and even spawned a new film adaptation earlier this year. While the first two titles were developed primarily by Crystal Dynamics, who is currently busy working on an Avengers game, 2018's Tomb Raider is being made by Square Enix's Eidos Montréal studio. The Canadian developer is best known for the recent Deus Ex and Thief titles, and have assisted in previous Tomb Raider games.
Anfossi admitted that a game like Rise of the Tomb Raider costing so much to make is stressful on a developer. He said the studio balances out the large games by having "incubation projects and to try small things... that gives us the opportunity to test, prepare and secure some stuff, and remove some risk." Anfossi ultimately looks at these experiments as a long-term investment for the studio. "Even if it doesn't make sense right now, at some point you'll come across something cool to base a game on, or to put in a game."
Similar to God of War director Cory Barlog, Anfossi doesn't believe that single-player and multiplayer experiences are really competing (after all, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will have a mysterious multiplayer mode of its own). He says that every year there's a new trend in gaming, such as battle royale titles, and that developers just have to wait until the time is right to do an experience that may seem less popular at the moment. "I don't want to change a Deus Ex game or experience. We want to be respectful to that."
Considering how bullish studios are on making top quality single-player games, and how well they're currently selling, players don't have to worry about them going away. If anything, they're becoming one of the aforementioned trends that are on the rise. They'll never fade away into obscurity, but this certainly isn't a down period for these type of high-budget solo gaming experiences.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider hits PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 14.
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