Oftentimes it's stated that the average AAA game middles out to around $25 million when it comes to development costs. The lower end of the AAA development costs start at $10 million and the ceiling, so far, has been set by Rockstar at $265 million for Grand Theft Auto V. Well, for one of the movie-oriented AAA titles due out this fall, Beyond: Two Souls, the development costs were quite moderate compared to some projects, making out at the $27 million mark.
Hardcore Gamer managed to pick up the news from French website Le Figaro. The article details David Cage's attempt to make that star-road trip from across the oftentimes derided field of video games as a form of entertainment and into the legitimate, loving arms of the movie business where performances are heralded the world around and the themes, images, music and concepts are romanticized as iconic moments representing the brilliance of film-making.
Cage's latest effort is about as close as you can get between watching a movie and playing a game while making both seem as seamless as combining butter with toast. The game is called Beyond: Two Souls and stars Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. Despite both Oscar nominated actors being in the game, Le Figaro reports that Cage and crew at Quantic Dream managed to actually keep the budget on a tight rein, rounding out the figure to a moderate €20 million euros, or $27 million dollars.
Of course, we have to keep in mind that this only includes the development costs and not the actual total production costs, which would also include marketing. According Hardcore Gamer, Heavy Rain before including marketing and ad expenses rounded out to €16 million euros or $20 million dollars. As noted in a previous article about production costs and budgets – Heavy Rain's total expenditure came out to $40 million when taking into account the final cost of marketing.
I know Cage gets a lot of grief for sloppy writing, whacked-out stories and nonsensical plot points that lead to equally nonsensical plot holes, but I at least have to applaud him for hiring an accountant to manage the books properly and for keeping costs down to a moderate level. Some studios just get way out of hand with their budgets, like that embarrassing amount of money EA spent on The Old Republic, better known as the Tortanic.
Whether Beyond: Two Souls is a $1 billion dollar beast like GTA V (which I highly doubt) or a moderate success like its predecessor, Heavy Rain (which is more than likely), at least Quantic Dream and Sony won't be knee-deep in debt trying to hope that the game sells an inordinate and implausible amount of units just to make bank and post a profit. I imagine, though, that Beyond will probably have a slow-burn effect on sales and eventually become a niche sleeper hit throughout the years, like many of Quantic Dream's other games.
You can experience Ellen Page in all her not-quite-superhero glory when Beyond: Two Souls launches on October 8th, exclusively for the PlayStation 3.