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Default problem with developing RPGs these days…

March 11th, 2010, 20:29
The problem with developing a "hardcore" RPG in the current market is that nobody will finance it, least of all an American publisher. European publishers will take on a developer creating an RPG, but they generally have much smaller budgets, and the developers still have to put on dog-and-ponies for their publishers and must therefore spend a lot of the development cycle just making it prettier for that week (and making sure it has the appearance of being at least moderately competetive with the A+ titles coming out of NA.) Therefore, it's unrealistic to even expect a non-technically-dazzling-but-rich-in-content product…too much time has to go into making it presentable enough that the marketing/publishing company feels that they can sell it; and you have to do what the publisher wants if you want paychecks.
Self-financing (unless already wealthy) is completely out of the question, as far too much time is involved with development and management to make even a fair quality, marketable title without many people quitting their jobs, working for free, and somehow still being able to eat and pay the rent (not to mention people staying on-board for months-on-end when the spouse is screaming about the lack of electricity in the house.) Developing even a moderate-quality title takes quality talent, many thousands of man-hours of planning, preparation, production, and management.
Some good news: digital distribution models can get a lesser-funded title into the hands of the masses, so the traditional problem of getting shelf space from physical retailers will dwindle. However, visibility and acceptance (and ultimately sales) of a title containing what will be perceived as low production values will quite possibly not be enough to cover even the initial investment of time and money.
It's a tough nut, but there will always be rays of sunshine coming through the corporate clouds. Great games will still be developed.
Michael Dean is offline

Michael Dean



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