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Raymond warns AAA costs could 'stifle innovation'

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Ubisoft Toronto studio head Jade Raymond says one of the biggest challenges facing AAA game developers are rising costs that could lead to diminished innovation and risk taking.

Raymond, who heads up the studio behind Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist and works on the Assassin's Creed franchise, told Digital Spy that developers need to find new ways to increase efficiency in order to combat the threat of conservative investment in new ideas.

"The big question to me, as the expectations of these big triple-A games keep on growing and the consoles become more powerful and teams get bigger, is how do we keep the costs in line?" she said. "That's one of the things that is going to stifle innovation eventually. Anytime you want to make a big triple-As, you're spending, let's say $100 million, you're not going to want to take a chance.

"I think it depends on what type of game you're making," she added. "I think we have to invest in tools to make people more efficient, to perhaps make ten times the amount of content that we were making before with the same amount of effort."

Raymond said that Ubisoft games like Watch Dogs and The Division show that big studios "are innovating," but added that studios need to be aware of changing gaming habits and attendant new business models.

"That's the only way we're going to keep up. So there has to be a big investment there. The other side of things is we have to investigate some of the different business models. The reality is the industry is changing, the way people are consuming games is changing, the expectations are changing."