In a recent interview with GameDaily1, Lanning controversially purported that
…anything that makes development more expensive, rather than better, faster, cheaper, I think is a step backwards. … I see [the PC] allowing for more smaller games to be sold that can be delivered to anyone who’s connected at much lower price points.
I’m always pleased to discover a name designer’s aversion for triple-A titles - you might still remember how I wrote out my disappointment in my post on Braid over the fact that even Blow’s so-called indie title had an incredulous $180,000 price tag! With purported falling PC platform game sales2, however, it’s not altogether impossible to envision a relatively smooth transition from AAA all the way to a more budget-priced gaming future on the PC.
Lanning also discusses the emergence of “connected” gaming (the article discusses MySpace and other similar social networks); Although he does not explicitly define the word, it seems relatively clear he is referring to the so-called, oft-maligned HC/PC gamer crowd that intently follows industry news, frequents gaming sites and is generally in the know. In fact, he even laments how “…a marketing exec at a game publisher will look at my demographic and say, ‘Oh, they’re not buying games anymore.'”
It’s worth nothing, however, that Lanning’s recent output has not been all that ‘core’: He’s already pursued something less puzzle-oriented with Stranger’s Wrath (XBOX/2005); Oddworld Inhabitants have also long attempted to diversify their brand and branch out into animation and movie-format projects. In the meantime, Lanning remains relatively close-lipped, so only time will tell whether he still shoots for his hardcore demographic, or if he’s simply lamenting the fact that we’re “not buying games anymore”.
Then there’s always Peter Molyneux, who thinks to himself,
“‘Jesus, we’re spending so much f—ing money.’ Millions and millions of dollars. Sometimes I can start saying ‘my god, I can’t believe this is costing this much.’”