Total War: Shogun 2 Historical Sekigahara Battle Gameplay (by Attila16)
Being small does make a team efficient. Efficiency comes from a production plan that is solid and in which everyone on the team understands the big picture.
A lot of money gets wasted by having large teams working on games that have not had a complete pre-production or are being designed as they go. Another issue developers have is the amount of money they waste jumping through hoops to keep the publisher happy. I would estimate than on our last big publisher financed game we spent at least a third of the budget needlessly on things the publisher forced us to do that didn’t need to be a part of the process.
A publisher signs up a developer because they trust they can make the game, but as soon as he contract is signed they forget about that and they spend the entire development process making the developer prove themselves over and over at every milestone instead of just focusing on what is really needed to finish the game.
You would never manage an in house team in this way, because it doesn’t make any sense. No programmer on a project is going to do better work if you threaten to not pay him if the feature he is working on doesn’t make the marketing girl who has never played a game happy. It’s lunacy."