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Dead Space 2 cost $60 million to make, sold 4 million copies, underperformed

So as part of Visceral's closure, one of Visceral's ex-staff members revealed some interesting facts about Dead Space 2.

This was back in 2011, so you can imagine how harsh and expensive the market is now.

Keep in mind that it probably didn't sell all 4 million copies at full price.

Make sure to read the second, smaller tweet too. He talks about how this wasn't the marketing budget and how retailer and console licensing fees eat into profits a lot.

Edit:

He has since clarified it was an underperformance.

I don't know if it turned a profit. But it underperformed, and meeting expectations are as important
Original:

Source: https://twitter.com/covernode
 

black070

Member
Oct 1, 2015
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Dead Space 2 is honestly up there with Resident Evil 4 as two of the greatest survival horror games - a real shame it wasn't a bigger success.
 

RedlineRonin

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Apr 26, 2013
2,595
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I said it on Twitter, but Blood Sweat & Pixels Vol 2 literally seems like it's writing itself by the day
 
Sep 2, 2013
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And this is why we see like a fraction of the AAA games that we used to see released.

The market's refusal to go above the $60 price tag killed games like this.
 
Dec 10, 2013
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Well that sucks and also explains why EA tried shoehorning their shit into the third one, them trying to get every possible penny available.
 

nynt9

Member
Jun 7, 2013
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That budget isn’t actually too high. Shame that they couldn’t make money from it. Making a comparable game today would probably cost at least 100.
 
Aug 11, 2016
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Are we sure "wasn't enough" means not profitable? Maybe they felt it wasn't worth the return on investment? And this is why I'm not against cosmetic loot boxes.
 

Akronis

Member
Aug 20, 2014
4,458
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0
Chicago, IL
Dead Space 2 is honestly up there with Resident Evil 4 as two of the greatest survival horror games - a real shame it wasn't a bigger success.
For real. What was the budget for RE4 actually? 60 million seems astronomically high for this kind of game.

Two years of hundreds of people at San Francisco Bay Area salaries plus all the outsourcing needed to support it.
That'll do it.
 

Sami+

Member
May 2, 2013
10,666
1
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Tallahassee
I would pay more for games that are worth it. Heck I already do with collector's editions sometimes. I really hope by the next generation publishers learn to cool it but probably not. 🙁
 
Dead Space 2 is honestly up there with Resident Evil 4 as two of the greatest survival horror games - a real shame it wasn't a bigger success.
Cannot Qft enough.
Replayed it on pc recently with everything maxxed out and that game holds up to a lot of current gen games in graphics, style and gameplay

This pains me to find out they still didn't make enough money on the title.

Hurts even more when I know story driven games are going the way of the dodo
 
Jul 29, 2010
15,423
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www.neogaf.com
Dead Space 2 is honestly up there with Resident Evil 4 as two of the greatest survival horror games - a real shame it wasn't a bigger success.
It's definitely up there. So damn polished and well-paced. Not quite RE4 level for me (RE4 is my GOAT), but it's probably the closest anyone has come to matching it.
 

Eolz

Member
Jun 1, 2014
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Not too surprising in terms of budget.
Basically why Dead Space 3 was like this too.
 

gogosox82

Member
May 24, 2014
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$60 million. I'm guessing a large portion of that was on marketing? I wonder if there will ever be a way to see a breakdown of costs.

Edit: Come to think of it, doesn't $60 million sound like a lot for a survival horror game?
 

Nyoro SF

Member
Jul 5, 2011
11,408
0
585
How in the fuck did it cost that much to make?
Looks like it's not just making the game that's causing the issues. It's marketing it.

It's like some sort of weird closed data curve. "We need to market it to sell more. But we need it to sell more to make up for the marketing. So we need to market it to sell more."
 

GalacticMouse

Member
May 31, 2013
2,556
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How in the fuck did it cost that much to make?
Rough estimate but...

4 years x 150k/year expenses per person x 100 people = $60M

EDIT: Just saw that it was 2.5 years of development, so maybe something more like...

2.5 years x 150k/year expenses per person x 160 people = $60M

...or maybe $150k/year expenses are me being conservative on dev costs. California real estate is expensive and artists/programmers have a lot of options there, so maybe salaries and overhead are more competitive and push it closer to $200k/year per person average costs.

The short answer is, $60M doesn't go very far when you're running a large operation.
 

pretty done

Member
Jun 29, 2013
8,477
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It's crazy that such a basic game cost $60 million to make. Strikes me as something that would cost half that. It wasn't a very ambitious game in any aspect and the graphics weren't cutting edge for the time either.
 

Some Nobody

Junior Member
Aug 8, 2013
7,489
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$60m to make, another $60m to market? You get...what, $45 from each copy sold? 4m copies sold...$180m? And that's pushing what they might've gotten from each copy. If they got say, $30m, well. They broke even, which means that game wasn't worth making in EA's eyes.

Yikes. Jason's right.
 
Aug 11, 2016
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Two years of hundreds of people at San Francisco Bay Area salaries and benefits plus all the outsourcing needed to support it.

Not many AAA studios left in the Bay Area these days you'll notice. Crystal Dynamics outsources half their game development to Montreal as one of the few remaining ones.
Aaaaah, San Francisco. Yeah let's set up shop in the most expensive part of the country outside of Manhattan.
 

meerak

Member
Jul 28, 2015
1,029
2
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It's crazy that such a basic game cost $60 million to make. Strikes me as something that would cost half that. It wasn't a very ambitious game in any aspect and the graphics weren't cutting edge for the time either.
what?

Please write up what the average budget for "such a basic game" should be like, broken down into any sort of departmental make-up you want.
 
Jul 25, 2014
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Are we sure "wasn't enough" means not profitable? Maybe they felt it wasn't worth the return on investment? And this is why I'm not against cosmetic loot boxes.
Or they could just spend less money on their games without resorting to loot boxes in single player titles.

Imagine how awful loot boxes would've been in a survival horror game.
 

mcrommert

Banned
Oct 24, 2013
4,461
1
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It's crazy that such a basic game cost $60 million to make. Strikes me as something that would cost half that. It wasn't a very ambitious game in any aspect and the graphics weren't cutting edge for the time either.
Basic game? Very high end graphics game which means lots of animations and assets that require hundreds and hundreds of hours to make. This is why these kinds of games have disappeared... They no longer make financial sense
 

N7.Angel

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Jul 14, 2015
1,344
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And this is why we see like a fraction of the AAA games that we used to see released.

The market's refusal to go above the $60 price tag killed games like this.
Can we stop with the 60$ bullshit, no complete games cost 60$ now, 4m for a multiplats game is just disappointing, that’s it.
 

kmax

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Feb 25, 2013
6,391
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Sell 4 million copies.

Still not enough. That budget too.

Yeah...the future for AAA is scary.
 

Instro

Member
Jan 14, 2009
24,478
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Am I misreading the OP? He says it wasn't enough, not that it wasn't profitable.

I mean this would literally mean they made less than an average of $15 per copy.
 

Some Nobody

Junior Member
Aug 8, 2013
7,489
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60 million may not even have included marketing costs.
Zack actually says they spent another 60 on marketing. Those numbers are high af, and I forgot that a lot of those copies didn't sell at full price. Yeah, they lost money.

Holy crap.
 

YesManKablaam

Neo Member
Apr 21, 2014
139
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Would be interesting to see where the budget went into Dead Space 2. Didn't it have a multiplayer mode that nobody asked or cared for? Can't imagine that being a cheap addition to the game.
 

OrbitalBeard

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Jun 2, 2013
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And this is why we see like a fraction of the AAA games that we used to see released.

The market's refusal to go above the $60 price tag killed games like this.
Many people would be fine with a great game on a more modest budget.

For example, almost no one asked for multiplayer in Dead Space 2.

$60 is absolutely feasible for a video game, but budgets will need to be reigned in, big time.

BotW was likely created with a fraction of the budget of many AAA titles and it's going to end up selling 10 million copies and likely stay the highest rated game of the generation.

That being said, companies like EA, Activision, Warner Bros., etc. aren't going to change their business model anytime soon. In most cases, it works for them.
 

Wildo09

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Sep 22, 2016
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It's crazy that such a basic game cost $60 million to make. Strikes me as something that would cost half that. It wasn't a very ambitious game in any aspect and the graphics weren't cutting edge for the time either.
Yeah compared to the first game it wasn't groundbreaking. And I bet the first game cost less to make.
 

Speely

Banned
Oct 10, 2015
6,364
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Games are expensive and hard as hell to make. I am honestly surprised we have as much talent still swinging for the fences as we do.

/salute
 

Duxxy3

Member
Nov 30, 2007
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4 million wasn't profitable? Dear god... how much did EA really think the game would sell?

Goes back to one of my earlier posts. I don't think horror games have nearly the market that publishers thing they do.
 

Brotherhood93

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Mar 12, 2017
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So they made less than $15 per copy sold? Even allowing for a lot of copies being sold at a discount I thought it would be higher than that. Nevertheless, if this is a justification for trying to fleece consumers rather than address the industry's own bad practices it's a pretty weak one.
 

Clear

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Feb 2, 2009
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How in the fuck did it cost that much to make?
Probably cost of keeping the studio open from project inception to publication; people outside the business have no idea how extreme the burn-rate is for a large developer.