Shawn Layden BeardSource: Gamelab

What you need to know

  • Shawn Layden is the former Chairman of Sony Worldwide Studios.
  • During Gamelab Live today, Layden noted that the cost of game development is continuing to rise.
  • Layden also explained he'd prefer to see more 12-15 hour games making a return.

Shawn Layden, the former Chairman of Sony Worldwide Studios, left abrubtly in September 2019. Since then, he's been on an extended hiatus but he made time to talk with VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi during Gamelab Live today.

During the extended talk, Layden noted that the cost of game development will continue to rise even as the pre-remote development world is gone. "That world is gone. That world is now sealed in amber. Everything that was pre-virus is now a historical artifact," he explains, even as he remembers the days that games took $1 million to make — days long gone by, as AAA budgets now range from "$80 to $150 million...and that's before marketing."

The answer, according to Layden, is not to continue making games bigger and bigger but to slow down and bring back the idea of experiences half or even a quarter as long as big 50-hour titles.

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"Personally, as an older gamer... I would welcome a return to the 12 to 15 hour [AAA] game. I would finish more games, first of all, and just like a well edited piece of literature or a movie, looking at the discipline around that could give us tighter, more compelling content."

With multiple new exclusive titles such as Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon's Souls remake and Horizon Forbidden West all on the way, it'll be interesting to see how Layden's commentary pans out. Sony's next console, the PS5, is currently scheduled to arrive at some point in Holiday 2020.

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