Unity Technologies' decision to push into AAA development is motivated by the efforts of its community.
In an exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz, CEO David Helgason explained that, while the Unity development tool is principally associated with smaller projects, the opening of a AAA-focused Stockholm office in June was a response to the activity of its users.
"We've always been really, really good at focusing on low-end platforms and small and medium teams," he said, "but the thing is our customers are becoming more and more ambitious with Unity, and trust Unity more and more."
"At this point, either in the works or launched, there are several projects with team sizes between 40 and 80 people, which is becoming pretty damn big. These people are hitting the limitations of Unity that we started fixing... early this year or late last year."
There are several projects with team sizes between 40 and 80 people, which is becoming pretty damn big. These people are hitting the limitations of Unity
David Helgason, Unity
The Stockholm office is led by Erik Hemming and Erland Körner - both former employees of DICE, with credits including Mirror's Edge, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and Battlefield 3 - and Helgason explains that both men were all too eager to join the company.
"At that level they want to come and join Unity, because they feel it's a place they can apply their skills in an impactful way. I feel there are a number of people who have been doing AAA game development for a while, and they don't necessarily get tired of it, but feel that it's sort of a treadmill."
Expanding Unity's reach into AAA territory could be seen as a move away from its core principles, but Helgason believes that the pace of progress in mobile technology will soon demand more sophisticated tools.
"Andorid devices and iOS devices are iterating so rapidly that we're seeing multi-core, and loads of RAM, and lots of ability to push complex content. So some of these engine techniques that have traditionally only been useful on gaming PCs and consoles are becoming relevant now on these devices."
"The thing is that in the design process of figuring out how we should implement these features, it turned out that, practically, all of these changes will benefit everyone in Unity, not just high-end, AAA, large teams."
For the full interview, head over to the features section.