Following recent layoffs at RIFT developer Trion
, departed studio GM and CCO Scott Hartsman responded
on social media, saying "This model of game making is so fundamentally broken."
In an interview with Massively
, Hartsman expanded on his comments, clarifying that he wasn't condemning individuals but an overall system.
I don't know of anyone who's hired with the intent of treating people disposably. No one ever wants that, even the companies frequently perceived as "evil." The industry is generally full of good, smart people trying to create the best entertainment they can. I think what's become broken is the traditional AAA style of development and distribution, MMO or otherwise.
Hartsman pointed to rising triple-A development costs as a key factor in recent studio meltdowns and layoffs. "We're approaching the point at which AAA projects need to be blockbusters just to sustain everyone in the ecosystem," he says. "The movie model worked when companies could absorb missteps and teams could hopefully learn from their mistakes to fight another day. As the absolute costs go up, fewer and fewer companies are capable of doing so. That's what's broken."
Hartsman also hailed developers such as Riot and Mojang for forging new paths outside of the triple-A ecosystem. "With any luck, we'll see more endeavors where the balance of power returns to the product creators and the audiences they're trying to serve in the most direct relationship possible," he says. "That's powerful and exciting."
You can read the entire interview here