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I'm curious as to how much money an episode costs to produce

posted by Duate on - last edited - Viewed by 3.1K users
These production values are great!
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  • I may be wrong but I don't think the budget spread evenly across each episode.

    Possibly first episode is deliberately short but very well made to test the market. If they have better figure than they expect, they likely to put more work on the upcoming episodes or possibly a lot more on advertising.
  • I could've sworn I read an article somewhere in which Kevin Bruner drops some numbers. It was an interview about a deal with a new private investor, I think.

  • Erwin;13237 said:
    I could've sworn I read an article somewhere in which Kevin Bruner drops some numbers. It was an interview about a deal with a new private investor, I think.

    Don't know if this is what you're referring to;

    Telltale Games, a two-year-old developer based in San Rafael, Calif., has built three episodic games with just $1.4 million in the bank, says CEO Dan Connors.

    In two weeks the company will release online the pilot episode of its new "Sam & Max" game, which is based on the cult comic strip. Five additional downloadable episodes will be released from November through April.

    Connors says the plan is to make changes to future episodes based on customer feedback from earlier episodes. Once its run is over, Telltale will package the segments into a box-set for sale at stories - just like TV series sold on DVD.

    Connors knows that Telltale is betting on an unproven model. But given the cost and competitive pressures the industry as a whole faces, he's convinced that episodic gaming is the answer - and not just for Telltale.

    "Taking the risk out of game production is huge," says Connors.
  • numble;12323 said:
    Operating costs are something you must be leaving out.

    Let's assume a 2-month development frame.
    The rent for an office space in Northern California has to figure into this, and that has to be, for 2 months, at least $2000-$5000 or more.
    The salary for 30 staff members, (assuming they don't pay their intern) also goes into this. If they pay what appears to be the average rate for game developers in California, it would cost them $6400*2*30 = $384,000 for a 2 month period, though I assume some senior people get paid more, as it looks like its not unusual for some people to fetch upwards of $150,000 per year.
    I read somewhere that voice actors cost up to $10 per line, but even assuming just $2 per line, the cost is probably $500-$1000, (I am not going to go and count every line in Culture Shock!)

    And there are energy costs and equipment costs and paying for musicians. Not to mention marketing and bandwidth.

    So, I'm betting that it costs more than $100,000 per episode.
    You could be right, But both of us are doing nothing more than guessing, so you could be totally wrong. However I have noticed that you like to try and tear my posts apart whenever you can, though you don't really do a great job at it. hehehe.

    From the above quote, I will modify my guess and say $300,000.00, With enough left over to do at least 2-3 more episodes of Sam & Max, and 1 of Bone.

    I would be surprised if TellTale blew the whole wad on the first 3 episodes. That, imo, would be taking a HUGE risk.
  • Animosity would be so much easier to keep track of if we all had sigs
  • Duate;13266 said:
    Animosity would be so much easier to keep track of if we all had sigs
    I'm not angry. :P
  • I mean in general. I had some fools trying to tear me apart earlier but I forgot who they were by now. :P
  • I know that all I do is speculate, but I like to do it with as much hard data as I can find.

    I think their deal with Gametap isn't actually included in the $1.4 million figure; From what I glean through the interweb (I'll provide links if you want) $825,000 of that 1.4 million seems to have come from the Keiretsu Forum, while Avance, another group of financial investors, provided $600,000--that adds up to $1.4 million.

    That means that the Gametap funds are unreported. I'm willing to bet that Gametap is footing the bill for a huge chunk of the costs, since you've got to pay at least some percentage of the total costs to get your name on the product as co-publisher (10%? 20%? 30-50%?) And since they are guaranteeing all their subscribers that they will be delivering 6 episodes (and I'm betting many people subscribed specifically for Sam and Max), they're probably going to try as hard as they can to ensure that Sam and Max is properly funded and arrives on time. I mean, they went all out and even spent all that money to acquire the rights to the TV show.

    And of course sales are also a decent source of funding, including money from the CSI and Bone games.

    And Telltale Texas Hold Em! Which from what I gather, was just a playground for Telltale to test its tools and team out when the company just started, but unexpectedly turned into an actual product that has turned out to be quite successful in the casual game market. High profit margins there (remember, its price is higher than Culture Shock).
  • The casual gaming market must be making a killing on every sale. Popcap sells games for $20 that you can play online for free and probably takes less than a month to create. Production costs and perceived value are often totally out of sync.
  • It costs $29876 to make an episode.

    Source: CIA. I phoned them and told them my name was Michal Jackson and so they told me.
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