The lights are on
The makers of the popular Unreal Engine and Gears of War say the development costs of next-generation titles will likely double.
Speaking today at the Montreal International Game Summit, Epic Games chief technology officer Tim Sweeney said the costs could be way worse, noting the three minute Samaritan demo from GDC 2011 took four months and 30 people to complete.
“If we extrapolate that into creating an entire game, we were worried that the cost would go up by a factor of three or four or even five in the next generation," he said, as reported by Gamesindustry International “And of course, we felt that was not acceptable.”
Epic helped offset the costs by improving its production pipeline.
Ubisoft said recently its next generation costs likely won't increase at least for the first two years due to the publisher's cross-generation development. "We don’t know about the third year where we will take advantage of the full capacity of those consoles. We will probably have to spend more money at that time," CEO Yves Guillemot said earlier this month.
[Source: Gamesindustry International]
Interesting. I'll have to keep on eye on this and see where it goes. I can understand the increase with a new engine and the extra work that needs to go into it. I also wonder how it would affect the pricing of the games, hopefully not that bad.
Honestly, even though this gen consoles are showing their age, especially the 360, I still don't think we need new systems yet. Look at the game line up for next year: God of War 4, MGS:Ground Zeroes, The Last of Us, Dragon Age 3, Beyond: Two Souls, etc... All of those games look amazing. And frankly, if the dev cost will double, then the price of game will go up as well. I'm fine paying $60, but if it went up to $80, then I would have a problem.
If the economy stays where it is then the Wii U will win the next console war, because parents will not have the money to shell out on a PS4 or 720. Unless Microsoft or Sony decide to sell their systems at a significant loss, which I don't believe for a second considering how even with sales the PS Vita has sat at its same price.
Considering Epic, and particularly Tim Sweeny himself, built Unreal 4's Kismet 2 dev tools that are made to streamline development time, effort and costs, this is a superfluous statement. And considering Unreal 3 has been licensed in over 300 games, the new engine will provide the easiest transition into next-gen for the majority of multiplatform developers, so why is Sweeny talking down their own efforts? Trying to spread doom and gloom so they can look like heroes when their engine provides the industry's salvation?
That is some bad news for developers for sure. I wonder if this will affect indie developers or the prices of the games?
Honestly, it would be foolish for companies to continue to pursue such graphical fidelity at such high costs. The costs are so high that one dud and a developer has to close shop anyways, and the risks of further inflated costs basically mean that, unless you're pushing Call of Duty sales numbers, you're better off sticking with existing hardware.
The upside, however, is that if hardware stays a little more stagnant (maybe extra RAM for better A.I., though), it means the development costs will actually decrease, meaning Publishers can take more risks with more niche titles.
I find it sad that people new to the gaming industry will likely be passed over in favour of more experienced developers. I understand that you wouldn't want to risk that much money, but it's still a sad thought. That said, some of my favourite games in recent years have been indie games and/or downloadable games, so maybe this is a good thing.
Didn't Square Enix and Hideo Kojima say the exact opposite for their engines? Considering they've been at the top for far longer, and the current Unreal engine not only is aging poorly already, but is extremely buggy and unstable, I'm gonna stick with the other guys statements until somebody can actually prove their side.
Wow. I thought they would be cheaper. Shows you how much I know....
That would be crazy