What is AAA? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

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So you’ve probably come across a conversation in which a group of gamers are discussing upcoming titles, and one of them brings up the term AAA. You look at them and ponder to yourself, “What the heck are they talking about? AAA? Is that a mature rated title?” Don’t you worry my friend, we’ve all been there and so our job here at Honey’s Anime is to ensure you don’t end up looking like an uneducated individual when it comes to gaming jargon. The term AAA or ‘Triple A game’, often refers to titles that simply are created using very high budgets and a lot of marketing to ensure that the title reaches the intended audience successfully. Another way of simplifying it is big budget titles, games that companies put a lot of their heart (and money) into so that we gamers can go home, sink our butts into the comfy sofa, and play for hours on end. So just what titles are AAA and are all of them successful? Well, not every AAA title out there is a blockbuster hit, but for this article we’ll shed some light on the ones that shine the most, while diving a little deeper into what makes AAA titles so great.

A lot of Investment Goes Into the Game

You’ve read the opening paragraph and now have a good feel for what AAA stands for, but just HOW much do companies pour into these blockbuster titles? Well, prices and sales quota may vary from company to company but one thing is certain, a lot of investment goes into the game. Not just on the financial side of things but also a lot of painstaking hours are invested into ensuring that all needs are met for both the director of the game, and for you the gamer who buys it. Most of the major companies like EA, Nintendo, Sony, and Rockstar, for example, have more than enough green in their pockets to make sure that their titles are pristine and ready for release. Does that mean that indie based companies can’t develop great titles without a significant bank balance? No, absolutely not. In fact, indie games these days despite spending much less than these mammoth companies, have been pouring out a lot of spectacular titles for many to enjoy. However, because these AAA titles require a lot of investment, it’s likely that the game goes through a lot more fine tuning before being sent out to press. Let’s take a look at one of the most expensive games out there and also one of the most successful, Grand Theft Auto V.

Grand Theft Auto V

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Developer: Rockstar North
  • Release Date: September 17, 2013

All the hype started back when Grand Theft Auto III released for the PlayStation 2, when Rockstar Games introduced to the entire industry a game where players could explore this vast open world, where you had the freedom to do whatever you wanted however you wanted all at the touch of a button. GTA III took inspiration from games like The Legend of Zelda, which was credited for its very open world style gameplay, while also mixing in elements from the mafia lifestyle seen in movies like Scarface and The Godfather. Fast forward to GTA V where the world is perhaps 100x the size of GTA III and Rockstar’s pockets have grown exponentially since then. Grand Theft Auto V’s budget is unprecedented, as Rockstar spent almost close to $300 million just so that we all could drive around in fancy cars, chase down enemies in main missions, and run bystanders over with our vehicles. Of course, there’s more to GTA V than the aforementioned, because you have to look at just how much voice acting went into the game to make it feel so lifelike. Every character you encountered in the game had a unique voice actor, with constantly changing dialogue every time you bumped into them randomly.

GTA V never felt stale and even today, 4 years after its initial release it still retains a certain freshness because the entire world feels alive and full of energy every time you absorb yourself in it. Pulling that kind of thing off isn’t easy in any video game, but Rockstar made it look like a simple task and they delivered big time. There’s just so much to do in Grand Theft Auto V that it’s oftentimes mind blowing, because on the one hand you have all of these main missions to complete along with a large handful of sub missions, but then throw in the online portion of the game and you have an entirely new experience. Going online in GTA V is a total blast because you’re basically still in the main city that you’d be in for the single player, but now you’ve everyone all under one online roof shooting at each other trying to steal loot. There are also missions in the online portion as well so it’s like an endless party that constantly gets better as the hours pass by. So while the investment into GTA V is more than we’ll ever see in our bank accounts, the end result is a priceless piece of work that stands the game as being one of the best franchises ever created.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer

A Blockbuster Title

AAA, or Blockbuster titles, are games that companies market to the gaming audience and promise to deliver exceptional content unlike no other. As we already know a lot of money goes into these titles, and while not every AAA game receives a standing ovation many of them do, and it's why so many of us empty our wallets in excitement. Whether it’s Hideo Kojima’s celebrated Metal Gear Solid series or even Nintendo’s lovable mascot Mario, every blockbuster title comes with their perks and resonates with millions of fans worldwide. It doesn’t matter who made the game, what matters is just how much fun you’re having with it in the end. With so hype around the Nintendo Switch and it’s recent worldwide release, we thought it would be best to provide you with perhaps the best example of what a blockbuster title is and that’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

  • System/Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release Date: March 3, 2017

If the perfect 10’s across the board from every review outlet hasn’t sold you yet, then perhaps you need to at least pick up and try out Nintendo’s latest blockbuster title The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While we don’t know the specifics as to how much was invested into making the game, we do know that this is perhaps Nintendo’s greatest feat when it comes to the Zelda franchise, throwing players into an open world that’s full of enchanting colors, breathtaking views, and enthralling gameplay. We mentioned that Rockstar Games took inspiration from Zelda and now you can probably see why, because Breath of the Wild incorporates just about everything you love from games like Skyrim and GTA V, and takes the emotional counter up a few more notches to really grab you by the heartstrings.

While you don’t necessarily have to be a Zelda fan to enjoy the series, it certainly does help in terms of understanding the lore and really feeling a closer attachment to Link throughout his adventures to save Hyrule from ruin. The characters you interact with all have their own little story that ties in seamlessly with the main plot, but you’ll have to travel across the vast open world to uncover more clues to put the enormous puzzle back together. This is perhaps the largest world Link has ever been in, and for fans of the series it’s a mind blowing experience. Looking at the map alone and you’re awestruck because there’s just so much to explore and even though a part of you wants to just jump in and complete the main story, the other half just wants to wander around like a little child lost in a large candy store filled with a plethora of goodies. Nintendo Switch is shaping up to be a fantastic system so far, and with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild acting as the flagship title to entice people to buy the system, Nintendo will continue to swim in yen for quite a long time.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Trailer

Quality over Quantity

Ok, there are a lot of games out in the wild right now for you to pick up, and that’s truly a good thing. We’ve never seen such an influx of games since perhaps the heyday of the PlayStation 2, but we’re not complaining. While the quantity of titles out there may seem overwhelming we have to look at the big picture and realize that, the gaming marketplace is expanding and now companies have to cater not only to hardcore enthusiasts but the more casual gamers as well. Tastes in gaming are always evolving with VR being a prime example of that, and we’re certainly happy to be a part of this evolution towards a better gaming future. However there comes a time where you just have to put on the breaks for just a moment and reflect, realizing that while there may be a lot more food on the table, the quality may not be the same for everything. This brings us to our point and example for this section which is Square Enix and their blockbuster title Final Fantasy XV. Yes, Final Fantasy has an enormous library of hits and spinoffs that you can’t count on one finger, but one thing that Square Enix delivers on most of the time is the quality they put into their games and this why FFXV deserves the spotlight.

Final Fantasy XV

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release Date: November 29, 2016

For those who haven’t dipped their hands into the Final Fantasy cookie jar, now would be a great time to do so since FFXV is fresh and doesn’t interfere with any other title. Then again, most FF titles don’t interfere with each other and so all of them come with their own unique tales of adventure and despair. Final Fantasy XV however is the first in the series to take to the open world, allowing players to hop on their Chocobo’s or cruise down the highway in the Regalia with all the freedom you can imagine right there at your fingertips. Tie that in with a remarkable story and you have arguably one of the best Final Fantasy titles ever created. It’s totally up to you as to where to begin in Final Fantasy XV, you could certainly race through the main story and call it a day or sit down for hundreds of hours trying to collect every possible thing within the game. Whatever your prerogative Final Fantasy XV allows you to do so without anything to hold you back. While there were some cases of bugs within the game, it didn’t deter fans from the outstanding experience you get when you fully immerse yourself within it all.

You can tell that Square Enix doesn’t fool around when it comes to cinematics because almost every title after Final Fantasy VII left our jaws lingering on the floor, and with FFXV our jaws are still down there. The sheer amount of detail you can see in every character’s facial expressions down to their body language is highly accentuated, and you can’t help but rub your eyes a few times to check if it’s a movie you’re watching. While many may complain about the overuse of CG’s in games nowadays, Final Fantasy XV let alone Final Fantasy in general does such a remarkable job of it that you simply have to applaud them. Square Enix takes their work very seriously and you can clearly see that in the quality put into their latest hit. Now with a revamped version of Final Fantasy VII making it’s return to the scene, we’re excited to see just how much quality Square Enix will put into their most treasured title.

Final Fantasy TGS 2016 Trailer

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, AAA in a nutshell for you with some pretty definitive examples to wrap things up together nicely. We hope that our explanation cleared things up for you so that now the next time you have a nice in depth conversation with your friends, you won’t feel left out of it all. There’s plenty more to learn and Honey’s is the place to get all the juicy details not only about gaming but of course anime as well. We’ll leave you with some honorable mentions as tradition stands and here are some of the very best out there. Nintendo’s Mario series, Naughty Dog’s Uncharted along with Infamous, Bungie’s Halo series, EA’s FIFA series and of course Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise. Let us know what AAA games you enjoy in the comments section below, and be sure to share our articles on social media to ensure the community continues to flourish and welcome more bee’s to the scene!

As always for all things sweet, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

FINAL-FANTASY-XV-wallpaper-3-700x394 What is AAA? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]


Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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