What was the last surprise AA hit?

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Captain Kinopio
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PostWhat was the last surprise AA hit?
by Captain Kinopio » Fri Mar 26, 2021 12:18 am

I was just watching the trailer for Lord of the Rings: Gollum, and it got me thinking about these studios that don’t have the budget for AAA games but can often surprise us with a standout cracker of a game. I’m talking about stuff like Until Dawn, Alien Isolation, Hellblade, Prey etc. With so many studios being purchased and the drive for everything to be a Witcher 3 or God of War it seems we’ve been missing this midrange category for a while. I used to love getting these games for Christmas as I never minded waiting past release for them and they’d often prove to be surprisingly brilliant but I can’t really think what the last one was. Maybe this stuff is disappearing into GaaS type guff and everything else is either indie or a flop. I suppose the Nioh series are good examples too and ones I’ve not played. Deathloop and Returnal coming up would also probably fit into this category.

Keen to know if there’s any I’ve missed from the past few years. Also it’s late and it’s possible I’m talking bollocks.

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ITSMILNER
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by ITSMILNER » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:13 am

Control would probably fit this category, people still talk about how great a game it is.

The OuterWorlds might be another, I wLuld have said stuff like Hades and Outer Wilds but do they fit in the A/Indie bracket instead?

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Monkey Man
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Monkey Man » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:39 am

A Plague Tale: Innocence & Greedfall. Both sold over a million. Loved Plague's Tale, yet to play Greedfall as waiting for next gen upgrade.

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Robbo-92 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:41 am

Monkey Man wrote:A Plague Tale: Innocence & Greedfall. Both sold over a million. Loved Plague's Tale, yet to play Greedfall as waiting for next gen upgrade.


A Plague Tale: Innocence was fantastic.

I’d add the two Ori games into this thread too, not played the second one yet but the first is superb and it looks like the second just continues this.

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Balladeer » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:50 am

What constitutes AA? It’s kind of a weird space. You have what feel like indie games under big publishers (Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin); what feel like indie games directly from big publishers (the Oris, Child of Light); you have mid-range developers who also publish (Hellblade 1 I think?)... The divisions are all kind of unclear.

The last game I really enjoyed out of that list was Sakuna, although it definitely wasn’t a broader hit. I really didn’t get on with Ori 1, which was.

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Zilnad » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:57 am

Would Disco Elysium count or is that classed as indie? I don't know.

It's an incredible achievement in its own right but when you think it was the studio's first ever game and was made in just three years, woah, how did they do it?

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Tomous » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:11 am

Robbo-92 wrote:
Monkey Man wrote:A Plague Tale: Innocence & Greedfall. Both sold over a million. Loved Plague's Tale, yet to play Greedfall as waiting for next gen upgrade.


A Plague Tale: Innocence was fantastic.

I’d add the two Ori games into this thread too, not played the second one yet but the first is superb and it looks like the second just continues this.



Why haven't you played the second yet? You need to sort your self out and get on it :capnscotty:

It is absolutely gloriously :wub:

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Jenuall » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:23 am

Balladeer wrote:What constitutes AA? It’s kind of a weird space. You have what feel like indie games under big publishers (Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin); what feel like indie games directly from big publishers (the Oris, Child of Light); you have mid-range developers who also publish (Hellblade 1 I think?)... The divisions are all kind of unclear.


This is the problem for me, there's just too much uncertainty and grey area in terms of what label to put on games.

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Captain Kinopio
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Captain Kinopio » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:24 am

I would put Disco Elysium and the Ori's firmly in the indie category.

I did think about Plague Tale, I'd say it counts, and I've hovered over the buy button on that multiple times. Worried the gameplay is too simplistic though. Perhaps not enough of a 'hit' though

Last edited by Captain Kinopio on Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tomous
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Tomous » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:25 am

Captain Kinopio wrote:I would put Disco Elysium and the Ori's firmly in the indie category.

I did think about Plague Tale, I'd say it counts, and I've hovered over the buy button on that multiple times. Worried the gameplay is too simplistic though.



Ori had around 100 people working on it and was bankrolled by Microsoft, I really don't see how that's an indie game.

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Lagamorph » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:30 am

Would Hitman count? I'm not entirely sure I'd describe the 2016 one as AAA

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Captain Kinopio
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Captain Kinopio » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:38 am

Tomous wrote:
Captain Kinopio wrote:I would put Disco Elysium and the Ori's firmly in the indie category.

I did think about Plague Tale, I'd say it counts, and I've hovered over the buy button on that multiple times. Worried the gameplay is too simplistic though.



Ori had around 100 people working on it and was bankrolled by Microsoft, I really don't see how that's an indie game.


Didn't realize it was quite that many.


Hitman 2016 is a great shout.

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Jenuall » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:43 am

Part of the problem is that there is such a huge range in what I think people would call a AAA title. Most people would call both Breath of the Wild and Last of Us 2 AAA games, but the latter had over 2000 people working on it where BotW only had a few hundred.

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Captain Kinopio » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:50 am

Are you suggesting there should be a AAA+

If TLOU2 really did have 2000 people working on it I'd say over 1000 are just for showing off and don't actually make the game any better. I'm surprised how little lasting impact that game had tbh. Lack of multiplayer is part of it but aside from the dumb angry discourse around the story it doesn't seem to have left much of an impact.

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Robbo-92
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Robbo-92 » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:51 am

Tomous wrote:
Robbo-92 wrote:
Monkey Man wrote:A Plague Tale: Innocence & Greedfall. Both sold over a million. Loved Plague's Tale, yet to play Greedfall as waiting for next gen upgrade.


A Plague Tale: Innocence was fantastic.

I’d add the two Ori games into this thread too, not played the second one yet but the first is superb and it looks like the second just continues this.



Why haven't you played the second yet? You need to sort your self out and get on it :capnscotty:

It is absolutely gloriously :wub:


Valhalla is pretty much all I’ve been playing for the last 2 weeks :lol: next up after I’ve finished with Valhalla though! Really looking forward to it :wub:

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Jenuall » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:58 am

Captain Kinopio wrote:Are you suggesting there should be a AAA+

If TLOU2 really did have 2000 people working on it I'd say over 1000 are just for showing off and don't actually make the game any better. I'm surprised how little lasting impact that game had tbh. Lack of multiplayer is part of it but aside from the dumb angry discourse around the story it doesn't seem to have left much of an impact.

I don't think we need AAA+ or anything like that, I think broadly most of these titles that get put on games are largely irrelevant - they're all games at the end of the day.

I just think it's interesting that people will happily see a distinction between an indie game and something "big" when in reality that big "AAA" space has a huge amount of variance in the budget and team size in terms of who is making it. Some games that are counted as AAA are probably closer to the indie space than they are to the real top AAA titles like TLOU2

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Zilnad » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:58 am

Captain Kinopio wrote:Are you suggesting there should be a AAA+

If TLOU2 really did have 2000 people working on it I'd say over 1000 are just for showing off and don't actually make the game any better. I'm surprised how little lasting impact that game had tbh. Lack of multiplayer is part of it but aside from the dumb angry discourse around the story it doesn't seem to have left much of an impact.


I've seen a few people making this observation and I genuinely don't understand what it means? What impacts have other games made that makes them better? Or is it just the fact that the hype died down quicker after release than other games? I think the game is incredible anyway so it doesn't effect my personal enjoyment, I just don't understand the criticism.

Like what "impact" did Ghost of Tsushima have? Yes it was a very good game but it hasn't changed the industry?

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Captain Kinopio
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Captain Kinopio » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:49 am

Zilnad wrote:
Captain Kinopio wrote:Are you suggesting there should be a AAA+

If TLOU2 really did have 2000 people working on it I'd say over 1000 are just for showing off and don't actually make the game any better. I'm surprised how little lasting impact that game had tbh. Lack of multiplayer is part of it but aside from the dumb angry discourse around the story it doesn't seem to have left much of an impact.


I've seen a few people making this observation and I genuinely don't understand what it means? What impacts have other games made that makes them better? Or is it just the fact that the hype died down quicker after release than other games? I think the game is incredible anyway so it doesn't effect my personal enjoyment, I just don't understand the criticism.

Like what "impact" did Ghost of Tsushima have? Yes it was a very good game but it hasn't changed the industry?


I think it's mainly hype dying down. People don't shut up about GoT now, it having a lot of post game additions and the multiplayer stuff has helped too. Seems to have quite a loud fanbase.

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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Jenuall » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:52 am

I guess it depends where you look, on Twitter the LOU2 fans are currently impossible to avoid as they are all moaning that it lost the best game BAFTA to Hades

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Rex Kramer
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PostRe: What was the last surprise AA hit?
by Rex Kramer » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:56 am

I'm going to say Astral Chain. I had a lot of fun with it right up until it got boring near the end.


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