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I'm curious as to how much money an episode costs to produce

posted by Duate on - last edited - Viewed by 891 users

These production values are great!

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  • @Duate said: These production values are great!

    My guess is somewhere under 100,000.00 or so. Initial outlay may be more due to the time it takes to design the engines/characters etc. After that costs are cut because the characters/engine etc, are done. All they need to do at that point is design new locations/items, and do the script for the next episode.

    A full length game might run anywhere between 300,000 and a few million depending on the budget and the time it takes, and the reuseability of the software designed for it. If the engine can be reused, this can maximize profit on other games which would help to offset the expense of the original game.

    Telltale may not even be seeing a profit yet. Initial outlay can take several years sometimes to recoup (though I would think that is not the case here.)

  • Because engine can be reused, but backgrounds and models can be too, I think cost is decreasing episode to episode. Except if they make lots of very detailed new backgrounds each episode (that would make everybody happy :P) or make them longer and more complex, first episode would be the most expansive (because of modeling and animating prior characters and designing key places). But maybe the benefits will decide of everything ;)

  • Operating costs are something you must be leaving out.

    Let's assume a 2-month development frame.
    The rent for an office space in Northern California has to figure into this, and that has to be, for 2 months, at least $2000-$5000 or more.
    $2000-$5000+
    The salary for 30 staff members, (assuming they don't pay their intern) also goes into this. If they pay what appears to be the average rate for game developers in California, it would cost them $6400*2*30 = $384,000 for a 2 month period, though I assume some senior people get paid more, as it looks like its not unusual for some people to fetch upwards of $150,000 per year.
    $384,000
    I read somewhere that voice actors cost up to $10 per line, but even assuming just $2 per line, the cost is probably $500-$1000, (I am not going to go and count every line in Culture Shock!)
    $500-$1000

    And there are energy costs and equipment costs and paying for musicians. Not to mention marketing and bandwidth.

    So, I'm betting that it costs more than $100,000 per episode.

  • I may be wrong but I don't think the budget spread evenly across each episode.

    Possibly first episode is deliberately short but very well made to test the market. If they have better figure than they expect, they likely to put more work on the upcoming episodes or possibly a lot more on advertising.

  • I could've sworn I read an article somewhere in which Kevin Bruner drops some numbers. It was an interview about a deal with a new private investor, I think.

    --Erwin

  • @Erwin said: I could've sworn I read an article somewhere in which Kevin Bruner drops some numbers. It was an interview about a deal with a new private investor, I think.

    --Erwin

    Don't know if this is what you're referring to;

    Source
    Telltale Games, a two-year-old developer based in San Rafael, Calif., has built three episodic games with just $1.4 million in the bank, says CEO Dan Connors.

    In two weeks the company will release online the pilot episode of its new "Sam & Max" game, which is based on the cult comic strip. Five additional downloadable episodes will be released from November through April.

    Connors says the plan is to make changes to future episodes based on customer feedback from earlier episodes. Once its run is over, Telltale will package the segments into a box-set for sale at stories - just like TV series sold on DVD.

    Connors knows that Telltale is betting on an unproven model. But given the cost and competitive pressures the industry as a whole faces, he's convinced that episodic gaming is the answer - and not just for Telltale.

    "Taking the risk out of game production is huge," says Connors.

  • @numble said: Operating costs are something you must be leaving out.

    Let's assume a 2-month development frame.
    The rent for an office space in Northern California has to figure into this, and that has to be, for 2 months, at least $2000-$5000 or more.
    $2000-$5000+
    The salary for 30 staff members, (assuming they don't pay their intern) also goes into this. If they pay what appears to be the average rate for game developers in California, it would cost them $6400*2*30 = $384,000 for a 2 month period, though I assume some senior people get paid more, as it looks like its not unusual for some people to fetch upwards of $150,000 per year.
    $384,000
    I read somewhere that voice actors cost up to $10 per line, but even assuming just $2 per line, the cost is probably $500-$1000, (I am not going to go and count every line in Culture Shock!)
    $500-$1000

    And there are energy costs and equipment costs and paying for musicians. Not to mention marketing and bandwidth.

    So, I'm betting that it costs more than $100,000 per episode.

    You could be right, But both of us are doing nothing more than guessing, so you could be totally wrong. However I have noticed that you like to try and tear my posts apart whenever you can, though you don't really do a great job at it. hehehe.

    From the above quote, I will modify my guess and say $300,000.00, With enough left over to do at least 2-3 more episodes of Sam & Max, and 1 of Bone.

    I would be surprised if TellTale blew the whole wad on the first 3 episodes. That, imo, would be taking a HUGE risk.

  • Animosity would be so much easier to keep track of if we all had sigs

  • @Duate said: Animosity would be so much easier to keep track of if we all had sigs

    I'm not angry. :P

  • I mean in general. I had some fools trying to tear me apart earlier but I forgot who they were by now. :P

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