Arkane Studios COO Romuald Capron has told GamesIndustry.biz that while the scale of triple-A development budgets has ballooned to huge proportions, there are smarter ways to work on projects that means companies needn't add "tonnes of guys to your team".
Speaking in an interview at this year's Game Connection event in Lyon, Capron also expressed a belief that more and more studios were looking at ways to maintain "reasonable budgets," questioning whether the market could sustain the current rate of increase.
"It's a personal point of view, but I'd say that there are other ways to grow our market other than just forever increasing our development budgets," he said. "I think there are smart ways to increase the quality - and even the innovation - in your game that doesn't add tonnes of guys to your team.
"At some point, I'd say that hiring a lot of extra people has a negative effect - because you need more management, you have less productivity, and I'd say you lose some innovation."
He went on to explain that Arkane, previously responsible for Dark Messiah of Might & Magic as well as a significant portion of work on BioShock 2 - and which was recently added to ZeniMax's growing stable of developers - tended to favour outsourcing certain elements of a project's work and only retain a "core of senior, experienced and talented people" internally.
"I think that's a good way to maintain reasonable budgets, and I think a lot of companies are coming round to this way of working right now," he continued. "They're realising that having 200 people in a studio - okay, it can work for ten months of scheduled development, but is it the way to make a triple-A game?
"Maybe they could re-organise and say, okay, let's keep to a three-year schedule again, but with less people - and more polishing at the end? At some point I'm not sure the markets can follow as fast as the development costs."
The full interview with Capron, in which he also talks about the reasoning behind the company's deal with ZeniMax, plus his thoughts on the future of core game audiences, is available now.