“Tunic” publisher says indie game production is “absurdly expensive”

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Most indie games will only cost you $ 10 or $ 20 – and often a lot less on sale – but that doesn’t mean they’re made for pennies on the dollar. In a recent interview along with IGN, Rebekah Saltsman, co-owner of indie publisher Finji, claims that the budgets of leading indie games (as Hell) have swelled to absurdity. Finji is the publisher behind hit Chicory: a colorful tale, as well as the upcoming Zelda-type buzzy Tunic.

“Our budgets are ridiculous now,” Saltsman, who runs Finji with her husband Adam, told IGN. “Five years ago I was like, ‘Oh, I can make a game for a million dollars.’ And it was crazy then. [now] I’m like ‘I can’t do this for less than four years [million]’, which is crazy because it’s so much money, and then you do the math on how many units that is. “

Against the limit – Saltsman explains that consumers are generally unwilling to spend more than $ 20 on indie games, just because that’s the “going price” they charge even for high-quality indie games. Since the market for indie games is much smaller than that for triple-A games – Saltsman says only a “small fraction” of indie games sell over 100,000 copies – spending millions on production means it there is just a lot less money to spend. for the next project. (Maybe that’s why some independent studios are forming unions.)

Saltsman notes that cutting platform revenue can only leave 70% (sometimes more) of the publisher and developer pie. Because the average independent studio’s team size is so small, it means it takes a lot longer to reach the expected level of finish for premium games like Tunic. She also notes that the budget for independent games is more dependent on major industry trends than consumers realize. When new material comes out, money flows freely from the chests of platform holders desperate to fill their new stores, but the flow becomes a trickle near the end of a console’s life.

A mixed bag – Although Saltsman says there has been a lot of ” [indie] editors “Over the years, she’s hoping the indie space can continue to foster good development practices.” If you don’t do your homework you’re going to be one of those shitty editors… So do your homework and do it right by people who give you their life’s work. “

If you want to check out Finji’s work, the publisher recently announced Tunic release date March 16, 2022. The game was first announced in 2015, and there are years and years of hype behind it, so let’s hope it can fulfill its potential.


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