Jade Raymond, Ubisoft Toronto's Managing Director, doesn't believe that the continually expanding budgets and costs of AAA game development are necessary, in fact, she thinks they need to stop.
Speaking with Gamasutra at GDC, she championed the concept of giving players more control over content, especially in regards to them affecting other players. "[B]y user content, you can think of Dark Souls, and how your game is affected by other people who are playing," Raymond explained.
"In what ways can the user impact the experience? I think that's what's going to drive hits, but also at the extreme end, it's going to enable us to continue to create interesting content without always having such huge costs associated with it. To me, that's the key. What I think people want is their own custom experience, in anything."
She commended Valve, and its Team Fortress 2 hat-centric business model, calling it a "smart way to have your community engaged." At the moment, Ubisoft Toronto are working on Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Raymond mentioned that the team wants to give players the opportunity to have an impact on other players's playstyles and experiences.
Is this what people want, though? Clearly the cost of AAA game development is getting absurd, but is the solution making users designers and getting everybody to interact with each other more?