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2D Boy's Ron Carmel Talks About Indie Game Development

Posted by Corbie Dillard

For those of you out there who are curious as to just what it takes to create a video game from scratch, Ron Carmel, co-creator of World of Goo, recently sat down at the Game Developers Conference and gave some specifics as to what it cost to create their hit WiiWare title.

Below are a few dollar amounts Ron gave out regarding the development of World of Goo.

  • $4000 on hardware
  • $1000 on software
  • $5000 on QA
  • $5000 for localization
  • $5000 for legal fees

He also explained that while these base costs might seem manageable, there are quite a few other expenses that go into the final tally when you take day-to-day living requirements over a 2 year period into account. When that is figured in it ramps up the total cost up to a whopping $96,000. And with only about $60,000 in PC Version pre-orders, the guys at 2D Boy still had to pony up over $28,000 out of their own pockets when the game launched. Ouch!

Carmel was quick to detail that nearly 60% of their revenues came from the WiiWare version of the game and told those in attendance that these digital download services available on the current generation of game consoles are really the best route to take when it comes to indie developers wanting to get the most bang for their buck.

While there's still no word on what 2D Boy's next project will be, Carmel offered up his usual quick-witted response. "It's going to be The Sophmore Effect: An Intentionally Mediocre Game." While it will be difficult to live up to the standards set by World of Goo, we find it hard to believe that their next project will be anything short of amazing.

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User Comments (24)

WiiGuy

#2

WiiGuy said:

whoa! thats a lot of dough :(
I hope they've got enough left to make another game

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#5

Philip_J_Reed said:

Wait, they LOST money on World of Goo? Jeez. I hope they've made that $28,000 back...

They deserve every penny. I tried to gift WoG to some Wii friends of mine but Nintendo doesn't let me send gifts from America to Britain. :(

Neomega

#7

Neomega said:

@Chicken Brutus: Thanks for telling me before I gifted Sandy Beach, Spogs Racing, and Sudoku.

All I want right now is Megaman 9 and Secret of Mana

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#8

Philip_J_Reed said:

@Nintendo-Naut:
"They didn't factor WiiWare and PC post-release."

Whew. I'll admit, my heart sunk when I read about how much money they lost...I'm glad that doesn't reflect the overall intake!

@Neomega:
"Thanks for telling me before I gifted Sandy Beach, Spogs Racing, and Sudoku."

You must really hate your friends!

Bahamut_ZERO

#9

Bahamut_ZERO said:

@I am seriously looking forward to The Sophmore Effect: An Intentionally Mediocre Game. Looks fantastic :D

Starwolf_UK

#10

Starwolf_UK said:

$5000 for localization and legal fees
It was $5000 for each...unless Gamasutra noted down the information from the keynote wrong. :(

And yes, freelance translation is that expensive. It is part of the reason large companies would have a localisation dempartment (as these have enough workload to justify employing full time translators who work out per word much cheaper than a freelancer would*).

*-Freelancers are expensive due to being on demand effectively and not guarenteeing being able to work full time on work.

StarDust4Ever

#13

StarDust4Ever said:

"It's going to be The Sophmore Effect: An Intentionally Mediocre Game."
What a wonderful sense of humor. Gotta give credit to these guys for everything they've accomplished ;-)

Dawnclaude

#14

Dawnclaude said:

That WiiWare was the best income is nice to hear. Age Rating costs are high. You must pay PEGY, ESRB, USK and Australia. They take money between 1000 and 2000 Dollar each.
I think for indie developers you dont pay freelancers for localisation or only less. You can find students / friends to do the job for you.
Hmm preordering a game is a nice strategy....

jtrencsenyi

#15

jtrencsenyi said:

"Wait, they LOST money on World of Goo? Jeez. I hope they've made that $28,000 back..."

The estimated revenue only from the WiiWare version (60% from the overall revenues) is $2M+. Source: VGChartz.com

Dawnclaude

#16

Dawnclaude said:

Dont forget that Nintendo take a part from this.
... but normaly they could develop a much bigger title now. ;)

Rawk_Hawk

#18

Rawk_Hawk said:

I'm assuming they still made a profit off of WOG, but he was not very specific about that.

StarDust4Ever

#20

StarDust4Ever said:

DRM sucks. Plain and Simple. That's why I'm a console gamer. At least with wiiware, you get a uniform experience, every time...

PALgamer

#21

PALgamer said:

They didn't loose money, they made $5M+. What is amazing, is that they had covered already more than half of the development with the pre-orders. And with the success it has had on WiiWare, the money just started pouring in (and still going).

@StarDust: WiiWare has DRM, you can't put the game you have bought in another console. It is linked to the console you purchased it on.

Sean_Aaron

#22

Sean_Aaron said:

"While it will be difficult to live up to the standards set by World of Goo, we find it hard to believe that their next project will be anything short of amazing."

Good job cursing them Corbie; now the next game is sure to get slagged for not being as good as World of Goo...

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