Bulletstorm’s creative director, Adrian Chmielarz, says that to charge $60 (±R620) for a AAA game these days is “a little insane”.
“Everybody is smart in retrospect, and looking back I do think that we were possibly among the first victims of this giant shift in gaming, where the middle-class AAA games began to die – not ‘middle-class’ by quality, but we didn’t have ten multiplayer modes and co-op and all of that. The saying in the industry right now is, ‘If you want to sell a game for $60, to the player it has to feel like $200 (±R2080),” he said, speaking to GamesIndustry.
Chmielarz was speaking about Bulletstorm’s relatively poor sales after market experts predicted the title would sell between 3 – 4 million copies. He went on to criticise EA, who he blamed for the poor marketing of Bulletstorm which focussed too much on dick-jokes and dude-bro humour, and not enough on the unique elements of the game. “Things that were, in my opinion, like spices in the game became its main ingredient in the marketing,” he says.
“Look at Dead Space. I’m a big fan of Dead Space, I’ve read all of the books and comics and everything. But for some reason, instead of keeping expectations at 2 or 3 million copies sold and setting an appropriate budget for that, EA wanted it to be another Call of Duty – unless it sells 5 million it’s dead. That could be a profitable series, but only if you’re smart about the budget and the content.”
Chmielarz also believes that turning every title into a cross-platform best-seller means publishers have lost sight of how to create mid-size hits.
“Lower prices would allow us to stop thinking about filler, and start focusing on making the experience just right. Film studios don’t try to turn every successful horror film into Raiders of the Lost Ark, or that level of popularity. They’re very conscious about the budget, and the amount of money they make on Insidious, or The Conjuring, or Mama, it’s very profitable for them. It’s not amateurish and made by people who don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just focused and they’re smart and they’re thriving. That’s what needed to happen with Dead Space,” he said.
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