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Brian Mitsoda has what he wishes for, if only he looked a little bit harder

By on September 23, 2010

Earlier this month, Tom Jubert put up a guest post: an interview with Brian Mitsoda, narrative designer on Vampire:the Masquerade – Bloodlines and alumnus of Black Isle, Obsidian and Troika.

In it, Brian said:

“I completely understand when projects with $50 million+ budgets play it safe, though it would be nice if there were more $500,000 projects that made you felt like you were playing something unique.”

One of my regular correspondents took umbrage at that. Admittedly Ben Board (for it was he) works for Microsoft, but he said this:

“Has Brian looked at


That is a long list of titles that are frequently unique, rarely sequels, often leftfield and risk-taking, sometimes great, sometimes rubbish, sometimes successful, sometimes not. At least, it’s not a list of safe bets. And if I was to guess an average dev cost across them all, 500k is not a bad estimate. Some are $1-2m, most probably $500k-1m, many less. And I think that more and more games are going to appear at that $500k cost point as the iPhone/Facebook devs look to console, as many are starting to do.“

I see his point.

Xbox Live Arcade logo

I’m not the world’s biggest console cheerleader, but both XBLA and PSN do allow game makers to develop risky projects at one hundredth the cost of AAA title.

So go on, Brian. Treat us to one of those.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: