A “AAA” (pronounced “Triple-A”) game company refers to a game development studio that operates on a large scale, typically characterised by significant financial resources, large development teams, and high production values. These companies are known for creating video games that have high-quality graphics, sound, and deep storytelling. Their games often require large budgets and extensive marketing campaigns, similar to blockbuster movies.

The term “AAA” does not necessarily denote the quality or success of the games produced but rather the scale and scope of their production and marketing efforts. Such companies often have the resources to push technological boundaries, create immersive worlds, and deliver polished, bug-free experiences. Examples of AAA game companies include Electronic Arts (EA), Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Sony Interactive Entertainment.

How long does a triple a game take to make?

The development time for a AAA (Triple-A) video game can vary widely based on various factors, but typically it ranges from 2 to 5 years. Some key factors influencing this timeline include:

  1. Scope and Complexity: The more ambitious and complex the game, the longer the development time. Larger worlds, more detailed graphics, and complex gameplay mechanics require more time to develop and polish.
  2. Team Size and Experience: Larger and more experienced teams can sometimes work more efficiently, but coordinating a large team also adds complexity.
  3. Technology and Tools: The use of advanced technology and development tools can speed up some processes but may require additional time for learning and integration.
  4. Game Testing and Polishing: AAA games undergo extensive testing to ensure high quality. This debugging and polishing phase can be time-consuming.
  5. Iterative Development: The process often involves iterating on design and gameplay, which can extend development time as new ideas are tested and refined.
  6. Marketing and Release Strategies: Sometimes the release schedule is influenced by marketing strategies or competition in the market, affecting development time.

It’s not uncommon to hear about AAA games that take over 5 years to develop, especially if they encounter development challenges or undergo significant changes during the production process.

Roles in a AAA game development company

At a AAA game company, the development of a game involves a wide array of roles, each contributing to different aspects of the game. Here is a detailed list of some key roles:

  1. Game Designers: They are responsible for crafting the gameplay experience. This includes creating the game’s rules, storylines, characters, objectives, and environments. There are often several types of designers, including:
    • Level Designers: Focus on creating the different levels or stages of the game.
    • Systems Designers: Develop the game mechanics and how players interact with the game world.
    • Narrative Designers: Focus on story development, dialogue, and character backstory.
  2. Artists and Animators: They bring the visual aspect of the game to life. This includes:
    • Concept Artists: Create the initial visual representation of ideas for characters, environments, and objects.
    • 3D Modelers: Build the 3D models of characters, environments, and objects.
    • Texture Artists: Create the textures that give surfaces a realistic appearance.
    • Animators: Animate characters and objects, giving them motion.
  3. Programmers: They write the code that runs the game. This can include:
    • Gameplay Programmers: Write the code that dictates how the game plays.
    • Engine Programmers: Develop and maintain the game engine, the software that runs the game.
    • AI Programmers: Specialise in coding non-player character (NPC) behaviours.
    • Network Programmers: Handle multiplayer or online components.
  4. Audio Engineers and Composers: Responsible for the game’s sound. This includes sound effects, voice acting, and music.
  5. Quality Assurance Testers (QA): They test the game for bugs, glitches, and overall playability.
  6. Producers and Project Managers: Oversee the development process, ensuring that the game stays on schedule and within budget. They coordinate between different teams and manage resources.
  7. Writers: Create scripts for narrative and dialogue, working closely with designers and voice actors.
  8. User Interface/User Experience Designers (UI/UX): Design the user interface and ensure a smooth user experience.
  9. Technical Artists: Act as a bridge between the artists and programmers, helping integrate art assets into the game without exceeding technical limits.
  10. Community Managers: Manage communications with the game’s audience, including social media, forums, and events.
  11. Marketing and PR: Responsible for promoting the game and managing public relations.
  12. Localization Team: Work on adapting the game for different regions, including translating text and adapting cultural content.
  13. Legal and Licensing: Handle legal issues, copyright, and licensing agreements.
  14. Human Resources and Administration: Manage company staffing, payroll, and employee relations.
  15. IT and Support Staff: Maintain the company’s technology infrastructure.

Each role is crucial in its own way, and larger projects often have multiple people in each role, possibly divided into even more specialised positions. The collaboration of these diverse roles is what allows AAA games to achieve their high level of polish and complexity.

One day, we would love to run a AAA company, turning Scenegraph in to a well known name… but for now, we are happy building a company where staff can work on a variety of projects and not spend multiple years on one project.