Shawn Layden on Length and Budget of Games

Former PlayStation executive Shawn Layden thinks that studios should revaluate the trend of making bigger games.

Shawn Layden, the man who managed PlayStation Worldwide Studios for many years at Sony, has recently joined Gamesbeat's Dean Takahashi for an interview as a part of Gamelab Live. Among other things the duo discussed Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part 2  and Layden described it as "the ultimate example" of a story-driven game in the PS4 lineup.

"We can make you scream and yell and be horrified - those are the easy ones to get," Layden said. "But if we can make you contemplative, sad, that's really hitting the full gamut of emotional response to the gaming experience."

He went on to note that the game represents another huge trend in the industry. The Last of Us took around 15 hours to finish, but the second chapter takes 25 hours or even more to beat. The first one took 3,5 years to finish while the the sequel was done in six. You can imagine the money difference too.

"The problem with that model is it's just not sustainable," Layden said, adding that  the cost of development these days reach between $80 million and $150 million for AAA games (marketing costs not included)

"I don't think that, in the next generation, you can take those numbers and multiply them by two and think that you can grow," Layden added. "I think the industry as a whole needs to sit back and go, 'Alright, what are we building? What's the audience expectation? What is the best way to get our story across, and say what we need to say?' It's hard for every adventure game to shoot for the 50 to 60 hour gameplay milestone, because that's gonna be so much more expensive to achieve."

You can find the full interview here. What do you think about this trend? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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