After the recent disbandment of Visceral Games (Dead Space, Battlefield: Hardline) by Electronic Arts, many have been scratching their heads as to how this happened. While EA’s statement said something along the lines of going in another direction, a recent development hints it may have revolved around profits.
Following Tuesday’s announcement, Zach Wilson, a former designer on Visceral’s Battlefield: Hardline, shed light on where he thinks things may have gone awry for the company.
Dead Space 2 cost 60 Million dollars to make and they were merciless with their budget. they only sold 4 mil and that wasn't enough
— Zach Wilson (@covernode) October 17, 2017
Wilson, who now works at Bethesda Game Studios, went on to say that a lot of Dead Space 2’s large (yet considerable managed) budget came in the form of marketing. Alongside that, MS and retailers cost money too. While the numbers aren’t exact – as he says he is “back of the napkinning” this – he said that’s almost double the budget of the first installment in the series, which cost around $37 million.
During a current craze of hatred for loot boxes and other microtransactions, Wilson also pointed out their necessity when it comes to helping studios like Visceral Games survive in the current climate.
“Do you hate uplay? Well, the pub gets 90% of the $$$,” he tweeted. “EA makes $30 per copy after retailers and console makers take their cut. Then consider that a chunk of the game was sold on sale … Through Origin they get 90%”
Wilson’s sediments likely mirror the vast majority of game development studios these days and says a lot about the state of the business. If middle of the road game like Dead Space 2 still manage to sell four million copies and is considered a bust, it’s no wonder why we are seeing so many incentivized, penny-pinching tactics like Season Passes and Loot Crates.
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