Saints Row 4 senior producer Jim Boone has cautioned that $100 million game budgets and $60 releases can only serve to further harm an industry already feeling the pressure of the need to keep up.
Speaking with OXM, Boone said, “We’re all hardcore gamers at Volition, and at the end of the day I don’t care how much a developer spent on a game – it doesn’t matter to me. Its $60 of my money either way, so I don’t care if he only spent $80 million versus $200 million. What’s the best game – that’s what’s going to get my money.
“But that makes it really tough, because in my opinion gamers buy fewer games because of these $60 price point. If I’m going to buy six games a year then I’m probably just going to buy six of those $200 million games and call it a day – I don’t have to worry about anything else.”
With high budgets comes less room for risk, Boone continued, echoing my recent chat with Quantic Dream’s David Cage. “You can’t really innovate much any more” Boone added, “because the games are so expensive publishers don’t want you to take chances. That means you’ve got to do the best you possibly can and spend a ton of money or you’re going to do things that possibly won’t be the best they can be, in which case people won’t buy it and they’ll just go buy the game that did cost all that money.”
The ever-rising popularity of digital distribution gives Boone hope, however. “But now with all these different sorts of platforms – even with next gen now – I’m hopeful that this means they can come up with different price points. It’s certainly the implication from what we’re hearing from Microsoft and Sony – that there’s more ways to distribute games and more ways to price games.”
He concluded, “I just feel like if we keep going down this path of having to spend couple $100 million per project – man, there’s quite a few publishers and developers that are going to go out of business.”
What do you make of the above? Are budgets out of control? Do they quash creativity? Let us know what you think below.