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From “AAAA” to “III”: Industrial Gaming is Joining Post-Modern Language Butchery

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By Nelson Schneider - 04/14/24 at 03:19 PM CT

Oh, what new Hell is this? Mere weeks after Yves Guillemot of Ubisoft caused MeltedJoystick’s CTO, Nick, to collapse in a fit of catatonia with his insistence on coining the term ‘Quadruple-A Game,’ we’re getting a look at the other side of the coin.

The ‘Triple-I Initiative” is a new, corporate-sponsored, pseudo-grass-roots showcase aiming to fill part of the hole left behind by the discontinuation of E3, focusing entirely on meme-able Indie games. Unfortunately, even a cursory glance at the list of titles revealed in the III Initiative’s first 45-minute sizzle trailer reveals very little of actual interest, as the showcase is primarily dominated by sequels to previous Indie meme-games, plus a couple of couple of Single-A budget titles coming from Industrial Gaming studios in existing IPs like Konami’s ‘Castlevania’ and Ubisoft’s ‘Prince of Persia.’

Ugh, this is NOT what games journalism needed. Yes, a curated collection of promising Indie titles that need more exposure can be a very positive thing, as has been demonstrated by Double-Fine Studio’s annual Day of the Devs. The III Initiative, however, comes across more as a cynical attempt at manipulating the audience via Sophistry and language games… a tactic journalists in general have been using as a crutch more and more in recent years.

What exactly is a ‘Triple-I Game”? Nobody knows! Just like nobody knows exactly what a ‘Triple-A Game” is, though the way the term is constructed, it’s pretty obvious where the brain trust behind the concept is going with it. Everyone in gaming has at least heard of “AAA” games, even if we can’t define what they are. So “III” is cashing in on the same hype-generation model, only replacing the “As” with “Is” to signal that these are Indie games, not designed-by-committee corporate cash grabs. Most gamers still have more charitable feelings towards the Indie Games scene, and will loudly declare their abandonment of “AAA” gaming in the same way a Vegan will regale anyone within earshot of their abandonment of meat and dairy. Sadly, it’s the 2020s, and Indie games have long been down in the muck, side-by-side with the Corpos, scrambling for every microtransaction they possibly can… just look at any mobile app store.

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