Metacritic Matters: How Review Scores Hurt Video Games:
If New Vegas had hit an 85, Obsidian would have gotten their bonus. And according to one person familiar with the situation who asked not to be named while speaking to Kotaku, that bonus was worth $1 million. For a team of 70 or so, that averages out to around $14,000 a person. Enough for a cheap car. Maybe a few mortgage payments.
Those sure were some costly bugs.
That is rough. Developers are tasked with making games that get reviews as stellar as those for games with triple the budget. Meanwhile, you can’t just blame publishers because they’re trying to keep their money safe by betting on winners.
No wonder indie games are taking off. Developers get to make what they want while publishers either aren’t involved or don’t face nearly as much risk as they would backing more expensive “AAA” games.
Just in the nick of time, indie fighting game darling Skullgirls has reached its second-to-last stretch goal, ensuring that the final “mystery character” will receive his/her own stage and story mode. As reported via Shoryuken, the fighting game community will have a chance to vote on which of the 32 proposed designs will join the recently-funded Big Band and Squigly.
All stretch goal rewards, including the funded characters, announcer voice packs, and selectable stage, will be available free to all users for a period of three months after release.
This is a huge win for video game crowd funding, not only because it proves that quality games can receive post-launch support in an era of rash studio shutdowns, but because it also illustrates the rough costs of indie game development. The breakdown on the Keep Skullgirls Growing IndieGoGo page, pictured above, sheds some light on where all of the money goes when creating new characters.
While many indie game makers get by on bootstrap methods, doing all of the work themselves and living in squalor, it’s important that gamers understand that “indie” isn’t synonymous with “cheap.” Braid cost $200k to make by 2009, and Double Fine’s adventure game Kickstarter requested $400k last year to get the job done. Games aren’t cheap to make, no matter how you get the job done.
As of this writing, with 14 hours to go, the tally is at $710,512, just $15k short of the $725,000 final stretch goal that would allow indie studio Mane6 to get their hands on the LabZero engine to help finish their My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic-inspired fighting game. While the prospect of playing that game terrifies me a little, it’s nice to see that the Skullgirls team is willing to pay it forward.