GDC: Miyamoto’s method + $200,000 Braid

Here’s an interesting (but short) article on Miyamoto’s method for creating games. Good reading for game developers.

On the topic of game development, the developers of Braid have revealed that it cost $200,000 to create the indie-game. That’s not terribly surprising. The major cost of developing a game is paying developers for their time. I figure a developer with a few years experience should be getting paid somewhere around $60k-$70k per year (varying based on local cost of living, state of the economy, etc). I’m sure he was paying himself nowhere close to this to survive. Maybe his cost of living was half that, but that can add-up pretty quick with a few years of work plus other outside expenses. Based on Jonathan Blow’s website, he was already showing an incomplete version of “Braid” to people back in July 2006. I don’t know how many years it’s been in development, but it’s obviously more than 3 years. What does surprise me is that Joystiq would be surprised by this cost:

Things GDC 2009 taught us: Indie games aren’t always cheap. During the “Braving the Stormy Waters of XBLA and PSN: Smaller is NOT Easier” panel, Jonathan Blow revealed that his critical hit, Braid, cost $200,000 to develop.

Blow admits that development cost cuts could have been made, but his spending was to ensure a quality product. To maintain a high level of quality, Blow hired an actual artist instead of attempting to draw himself.

He went on to say that it’s possible to produce games for a lot less, citing the fact that he spent the majority of the money on hiring an artist instead of just learning to draw and doing it himself. “The game wouldn’t have been as good, but it would have made a profit,” Blow said.

Another large chunk of the budget? Survival. “A lot of that money was spent because I didn’t want to live in a shack somewhere,” Blow told the audience. According to the creator, development only requires a few essentials: “a PC, a dev kit and enough money to live on for the time it takes to develop.

“If you can live for three years at your Mom’s house, you can make a game for free,” Blow joked.

Sources: Joystiq, Examiner

According to an interview with Jonathan Blow, he paid about 30 artists to come up with concept art for the game before finally finding an artist that he liked. That also explains where a lot of that money went.

Update: Wikipedia has some information on the development time and costs of Braid.

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