PDA

View Full Version : Psychonauts cost $15 Million to develop?



Heister
11-02-2012, 02:43 AM
I want to see the balance sheet.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/10/vg247-editor-promises-to-eat-own-trousers-on-film-if-mojang-funded-psychonauts-2-happens/

$20 Million estimate for a sequel?

20 Million dollhairs? For a sequel to a game that wasn't that good to begin with. If it was, we'd have seen a sequel before Minecraft hit the web.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to create a new ip?

sabrage
11-02-2012, 02:58 AM
Do fuck off.

Lukasz
11-02-2012, 03:15 AM
Do fuck off.
That is completely uncalled for.

I also would like to see where all those money go. I never expected games to be that expensive... I mean Psychonauts caliber not COD4 or MMORPG.

Juan Carlo
11-02-2012, 03:21 AM
I can see that.

15 million is a pretty mid level price for your average movie, so I can see how something like "Psychonauts" could cost that.

Especially since even CGI animated films (which you would think would be cheaper to make) often cost 50-75 million--and psychonauts had some pretty high quality animation, writing, acting.

sabrage
11-02-2012, 03:35 AM
20 Million dollhairs? For a sequel to a game that wasn't that good to begin with.
I'd say it again if I hadn't already said it.

BenWah
11-02-2012, 04:32 AM
I only played this game at all because of the steam winter sale, made me check the reviews and a lot were wildly enthusiastic.

Well it's totally fantastic, if anything this game is severely underated and underplayed.
I wondered how I had missed it before.

And yeah, I can see how it could cost a bundle to make.

Would love to see psychonauts 2 someday

Vdaxzter
11-02-2012, 04:49 AM
I want to see the balance sheet.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/10/vg247-editor-promises-to-eat-own-trousers-on-film-if-mojang-funded-psychonauts-2-happens/

$20 Million estimate for a sequel?

20 Million dollhairs? For a sequel to a game that wasn't that good to begin with. If it was, we'd have seen a sequel before Minecraft hit the web.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to create a new ip?

I've read that the average game budget is estimated at $25 million. If that's true, then Psychonauts was built on a pretty low budget.

TsunamiWombat
11-02-2012, 05:05 AM
This thread made me realize I did not own it on steam, and I rectified that and will be playing it this weekend. Kudos.

Dave L.
11-02-2012, 06:28 AM
Creating an engine, game assets (character models, levels, etc), animations, hiring voice actors, writing the script, renting recording studio time for the voice acting, localisation, QA testing, certification costs for Xbox and PlayStation 2, manufacture and global distribution. None of these things are cheap. And remember that this was 15 million in 2003-2005 dollars.

That said, I would think that Psychonauts 2 would actually cost slightly less. They've already got the Psychonauts engine, and could pretty easily re-purpose the Brutal Legend engine for Psychonauts 2. Level creation is still probably the most expensive proposition (consider that each mind you explore in the original was pretty much a 30-45 minute game in and of itself). And I'm assuming that there aren't any major new features planned (I could see some form of online co-op being planned, where each player plays as one of the Psychonauts and you have to use their specific powers in tandem to solve puzzles. Adding netcode and balancing the gameplay would be extremely time consuming).

Kadayi
11-02-2012, 09:28 AM
I've read that the average game budget is estimated at $25 million. If that's true, then Psychonauts was built on a pretty low budget.

That's a budget today. Psychonauts was released in 2005. 15 million back then was a fair amount. Also albeit a Pixar movie costs a lot more, a Pixar movie will also make a significantly larger return. Films, unlike games have after theatrical release revenue streams (DVD sales, rental, broadcast revenue) where as a games largely don't (toy merchandising aside).


For a sequel to a game that wasn't that good to begin with (imo)

Fixed.

Also if you disliked the original, why would you care what a sequel costs? It's not like you have a vested interest in the process.

agentorange
11-02-2012, 09:43 AM
I believe Psychonauts went over-budget somewhat, due to publisher issues; I remember the game was on the bring of cancellation for a while before resurfacing.

Hermit
11-02-2012, 02:03 PM
I believe Psychonauts went over-budget somewhat, due to publisher issues; I remember the game was on the bring of cancellation for a while before resurfacing.

Yeah, the publishing deal with Microsoft fell through when the game was just about done, as I recall. In the end, it was in development for just shy of five years; Wages and office costs alone probably ate up a good portion of that budget.

deano2099
11-02-2012, 02:10 PM
3 year dev cycle, 100 people on 33.3k a year average wage, you're already at 10 million.

Shane
11-02-2012, 02:25 PM
Fixed.

It's a given that it was his opinion if it came out of his mouth. It'd be different had he said that everyone disliked the game.

Kadayi
11-02-2012, 03:40 PM
It's a given that it was his opinion if it came out of his mouth. It'd be different had he said that everyone disliked the game.

The point was to highlight that it's a personal opinion, and then question why if that's the case he gives a damn what it costs.

Corpekata
11-02-2012, 04:29 PM
The idea that if it was good, we'd have seen the sequel already is the asinine part of his statement, not what people seem to be focusing on.

Squiz
11-02-2012, 05:00 PM
The idea that if it was good, we'd have seen the sequel already is the asinine part of his statement, not what people seem to be focusing on.But as we know, "good" doesn't equal "great sales and revenue". Therefore, it was a valid point to underline that Heister implied that his personal view was a generally accepted fact (which of course is a bit tricky when it comes to the appeal of any game).

BobsLawnService
11-02-2012, 05:31 PM
I've got to admit that I was also surprised at that figure. Psychonauts was just a glorified platformer and certainly didn't look like a $15,000,000 game. I certainly don't think the 5 year development cycle was justified. I'm sure under better management the game could have been released in two years for much less.

By the way I thought the game was amusing but incredibly frustrating and somewhat poorly designed with ridiculous difficulty spikes.

Then again I've always considered Shaeffer a better writer than game designer.

Kadayi
11-02-2012, 06:44 PM
I don't think anyone denies that Psychonauts was a rough ride both in terms of its development, but $20 million for a sequel is still probably a fairly accurate estimate I'd say.

Althea
11-02-2012, 07:05 PM
I don't think anyone denies that Psychonauts was a rough ride both in terms of its development, but $20 million for a sequel is still probably a fairly accurate estimate I'd say.
But isn't that assuming it'll be AAA quality?

PeopleLikeFrank
11-02-2012, 07:31 PM
Pay 40 people $40,000 for five years and you're looking at eight million dollars. You haven't even paid for studio space and gear, licensing, actors, or any sort of promotion or distribution costs. Maybe better management could have got the job done in less time, maybe not. Maybe it would have been a better game. Certainly it would have been totally different. The creative process isn't easily quantifiable.

Games being "worth" their development cost makes sense from a business standpoint, but not much from a critical one. Less so from a subjective enjoyment standpoint. I think the tens or hundreds of millions gone into the last few CoD games might as well have been piled up in a big bonfire, but millions of other people feel otherwise.

Kadayi
11-02-2012, 08:02 PM
But isn't that assuming it'll be AAA quality?

If the intention is to make some money out of it then it needs to be. Double Fine might not be as big a studio as say DICE, but they're a bigger operation that say Taleworlds. From a developer perspective making a sequel to Psychonauts only really works if it advances the studio in some fashion, and simply kowtowing to the demands of fan service for a sequel to a beloved (put not commercially successful IP) isn't going to achieve that unless it attracts a bigger audience. Having fans doesn't pay the bills unless there's some money in it.

deano2099
11-02-2012, 08:17 PM
Y'know, the original Psychonauts was basically an episodic game all delivered at once anyway...

Kadayi
11-02-2012, 11:42 PM
Y'know, the original Psychonauts was basically an episodic game all delivered at once anyway...

Well that would be one way to do it for sure. However aside from telltale no ones really cracked episodic with regard to games so far.

Grizzly
11-02-2012, 11:46 PM
That is completely uncalled for.

Not really. This is Redox's alt-account. Note the suprising similariaties in posting style.

Althea
11-02-2012, 11:49 PM
Well that would be one way to do it for sure. However aside from telltale no ones really cracked episodic with regard to games so far.
That's because few studios have tried, the biggest of which cocked it up after two and the others tended to collapse before completion.

Telltale have a fairly dedicated userbase and use - generally - established properties (Sam & Max, Monkey Island, Jurassic Park, Law & Order, etc) which also have their own fans (and with Sam & Max/Monkey Island, the games already existed in that form) so they're generally a fairly safe bet anyway, plus they release on a number of platforms in order to maximise their potential sales/demographic.

Kadayi
12-02-2012, 12:17 AM
That's because few studios have tried, the biggest of which cocked it up after two and the others tended to collapse before completion.

The one that really stands out to me is SiN Episodes where in the developers (Ritual) boldly announced there would be 10 episodes, but it very quickly became apparent after the lacklustre sales performance of the first (despite a lot of fanfare) that continuing would just be a case of diminishing returns. I think if anything that lesson put the boot into Valves thoughts regarding the half-life2 episodes as well, where they were thinking of a much shorter release schedule.

Heister
12-02-2012, 01:40 AM
Well that would be one way to do it for sure. However aside from telltale no ones really cracked episodic with regard to games so far.

Yes they have.

$dlc

soldant
12-02-2012, 09:02 AM
I think if anything that lesson put the boot into Valves thoughts regarding the half-life2 episodes as well, where they were thinking of a much shorter release schedule.
Valve screwed up, end of story. Ep1 and Ep2 did well, the incredible gap between Ep2 and an expected Ep3 is a joke. Valve's track record in keeping to their own internal schedules is pretty poor; it happened with HL1, it happened with HL2 (in a big way), and it's probably happened again. And yet they can churn out L4D2 hot on the heels of L4D. Go figure. It's a good thing they make good games.


As for Psychonauts: I didn't like it as a game. It was well-written, but it's just a platformer, and not a particularly good one either. With all that said, Schafer designed Grim Fandango, which is friggin' awesome, so I'd much rather he work on something like that (a revisit to the Land of the Dead would be awesome) rather than a crappy platformer with a good storyline. Poor (maybe "frustrating" is a better word) gameplay is difficult to ignore, no matter how good the story is.

Kadayi
12-02-2012, 10:42 AM
Yes they have.

Not in the traditional sense with regard to an evolving narrative.


Valve screwed up, end of story. Ep1 and Ep2 did well, the incredible gap between Ep2 and an expected Ep3 is a joke.

I'm not in disagreement there, but still that discussion has been done to death elsewhere.

victory
12-02-2012, 10:57 AM
3rd person adventure-platformers just aren't contemporary anymore. I think it would be high time for a FPS sequel where a 18-year old Jack Grimdark goes to boot camp for psychic-powered space marines. I mean it could be all sorts of innovative; you wouldn't just crouch behind objects and wait for autoaim to make headshots for you, but also use never-before-seen psychic powers like "psychically slow down time", "exploding psychic grenade", and "psychic forcefield which recharges if you don't take damage for a while". And there would be a deep plot and character development, such as Jack would shave his head at some point and grow more muscle after he "gets serious" after his family is murdered by the villain(s) in a cowardly yet dramatic way, and his best friend turns out to be a traitor.

No one played the first game anyway, so taking some creative liberties should be okay.

Xercies
12-02-2012, 11:14 AM
If the intention is to make some money out of it then it needs to be. Double Fine might not be as big a studio as say DICE, but they're a bigger operation that say Taleworlds. From a developer perspective making a sequel to Psychonauts only really works if it advances the studio in some fashion, and simply kowtowing to the demands of fan service for a sequel to a beloved (put not commercially successful IP) isn't going to achieve that unless it attracts a bigger audience. Having fans doesn't pay the bills unless there's some money in it.

Hmm I don't understand why they can't go the digital distribution/less money/indie route for psychonauts. I just think developers after being big have to think big all the time and have to have multiple console/pc releases with millions of dollars gained. No they should be thinking differently then that because in this climate on consoles another Pschonauts would sell as well as the first one did, barely any. Except if they went a different route with it.

soldant
12-02-2012, 12:07 PM
3rd person adventure-platformers just aren't contemporary anymore.
That's because most of them suffer from a terminal case of drunken camera, where the camera spins around and looks at anything but what you want to jump at. Also repetitive jumping puzzles or sequences aren't fun for most people.

Which was really why I think Mirror's Edge, for all its flaws, was an interesting take on platforming, simply because the first person perspective was used very well.

Kadayi
12-02-2012, 12:19 PM
Hmm I don't understand why they can't go the digital distribution/less money/indie route for psychonauts. I just think developers after being big have to think big all the time and have to have multiple console/pc releases with millions of dollars gained. No they should be thinking differently then that because in this climate on consoles another Pschonauts would sell as well as the first one did, barely any. Except if they went a different route with it.

You're aware that Double Fine have basically been making download only console first titles for the past couple of years? Costume quest, Trenched, stacking etc, etc

magnolia_fan
14-02-2012, 10:25 PM
While you can compare movie budgets to game budgets, that is not always the case. You've covered workforce and actors, but Nicole Kidman's salary alone would take almost all those 20 million, or maybe not because she may or may not be delivering 120 minutes of dialogue. Salaries are related to development cycles (and I'm not a big fan of long dev cycles).

Now...
Is it going to be multiplatform, or PC only? Are they using available technology, new tech, a third party engine, custom built? In (animated) movies they will update current technology or make new tech just for that movie but that's not the case for all (big) developers.

Yeah... marketing. The (sorta) "rule" of the thumb in movies is that take whatever you spent on making the film, and add 1/2 more just for marketing, like if a movie costs 100million, add 50million for marketing so your final budget is 150MM. But there's marketing, and there's marketing...

People have so grown used to the "that's a pretty standard budget" thing they take any sum for granted, so I'd also wonder about that balance sheet if only out of curiousity. Besides, companies (big and not so big) like big numbers for they get bragging rights. It's like this article I read yesterday where Tim said "well it costs' $40,000 to make a patch for consoles" but he never explains why.

So it's about taking that 20million budget and simply go "woah! that's a lot of money" and then say "well that's a pretty standard budget." So I'll not say if that's a low, high budget specially if I don't even know how good the final product will be (never played the first one, never caught my attention). I'll just wait and see if the game gets made, and when it gets made I'll either say "this is very cool," "this is very good for a budget of only 20millions" or "and THIS took 20millions to make?"

DaftPunk
14-02-2012, 10:33 PM
Is this some kind of trolling op ? Because psychonauts was one awesome game!!

sabrage
14-02-2012, 10:44 PM
Is this some kind of trolling op ? Because psychonauts was one awesome game!!
Yes. /\/\/\/\/

trjp
15-02-2012, 12:31 AM
I was pretty shocked to see the headline figure because I've worked in software development for eons and I know how much it costs to put 'the talent' at desks and you can do a LOT of that for those bucks...

Movie budgets are irrelevant - most movies have megabudgets due to what 'stars' (including high-demand behind-camera staff) expect to be paid (even CGI studios will often overcharge based on their reputation).

Movies budgets also include a huge amount of promotion cost - from trailers and routine ads/marketing to putting the 'stars' into 1000 interviews and shows and tours and stuff - again, not something games indulge in.

Psychonauts isn't really a great game - the game part of it is pretty basic - but the story and the world built around it is pretty impressive (way more so than most games of it's type) - that said, I'm still struggling to see where that money went.

$20M for a sequel - assuming the first $15M was well spent, 20M in current money will leave them short of cash surely? :)

coldvvvave
15-02-2012, 09:09 AM
Yes. /\/\/\/\/
I disagree.

Anyway, for something completely different, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. cost 5 millions to make( not counting promotion, that was done by THQ), if GSC( the ceo guy) wasn't lying.

Nalano
15-02-2012, 10:05 AM
What the hell is wrong with you people?

The backseat business managing here is horrible.

Be glad a game was made, be glad it made enough money back to warrant a sequel, and buy it or don't buy it based on how good you think it is. But this "it certainly wasn't $15 million worth of development" is just such a shitty, uninformed statement to make.