Global Game Industry News Blog

Monday, August 07, 2006

Big Budgets = Big Risk

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Game budgets are getting too big, says creator of Broken Sword series // GamesIndustry.biz
Revolution Software MD Charles Cecil has spoken out against the trend towards bigger development budgets, suggesting that companies such as EA are sacrificing creativity for the sake of efficiency.

In an exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz, to be published tomorrow, Cecil said: "The bigger developers talk about games costing tens of millions of dollars; it seems patently obvious to me that they don't need to cost that much, unless, as with a big film budget, you're paying certain key individuals enormous amounts of money... There's something slightly strange going on."

According to Cecil, the games industry "is being split between the massive budgets that people are talking about for next-gen, and if you go to the other end, DS titles, which are still - in comparison - extraordinarily cheap to write.

"If a game costs $10 million to write, the chances of actually recouping and earning a royalty is tiny. If a game is costing, at the DS level, several hundred thousand pounds, then it becomes much more viable economically."

Cecil went on to question the need for large development teams, stating: "EA talks about the fact that they've got teams of 150 people working on a project. To me, that just can't be efficient, either commercially or creatively.

"I think they want to squeeze the development period, first and foremost. That in itself is probably dangerous, because you reduce by a long way your opportunity for any kind of creative flexibility."

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