It's widely either assumed or believed that the bigger a developer's budget for a certain game is, the better that game will be. And while I would not for one second argue that that statement isn't true to some degree, I think that budget is only half of the equation. If a developer doesn't have the talent, creativity, inventiveness and passion to come up some a game that's fun to play and experience in the first place, then all the money in the world won't stop whatever they churn out from being a mediocre, ho-hum piece of software.
That great games can be made on small budgets is no more apparent when you look at Xbox Live Arcade - a service that has truly blossomed in the last year or so - and in particular Twisted Pixel, the development team behind The Maw, 'Splosion Man and most recently Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley; all games that were clearly made on smaller budgets but are each nonetheless brilliant games in their own ways. I dare say that had these games had vastly bigger budgets then they might have suffered somewhat. All 3 games have their own charms; some stemming from the games themselves - their personality, their humour, their gameplay, etc - but part of that charm comes from knowing that Twisted Pixel made the absolute best of what money they had and every facet of their games was mulled over and thought about; no game from Twisted Pixel contains filler or segments of gameplay that haven't been honed.
That's not to say that some games don't benefit from a bigger budget. The Maw, while being a joy to play and showcasing inventive gameplay, did nonetheless feature levels that looked slightly too bland, sparse and samey. But again on the other hand, therein lies its charm. And it doesn't stop with Twisted Pixel either. XBLA is full of small-budget games that - while some of them might not be my cup of tea personally - have garnered strong reviews and even stronger followings, despite the fact that they didn't have a $100 million budget behind them; titles like Braid, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, Limbo, Hydrophobia and Peggle.
So I say: long live XBLA and may it long be a haven for developers to flex their creative muscles and showcase their awesome talent.