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Josh on Interplay's woes
Game News - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Wed 9 June 2004, 20:19:21Tags: Interplay; J.E. Sawyer
J.E. Sawyer posted a little profit and problem post over on the Obsidian forums detailing various games of Interplay's that made a profit versus those that didn't. Here's a clip:
My point is that a large number of IPLY titles failed by a huge margin. Icewind Dale was very profitable. Heart of Winter was also very profitable. Even Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale II were profitable. Remember that IWD2 only took ten months to develop. It really didn't have to sell a large number of units to turn a profit.
It is also important for people to recognize that cancelled projects are often less damaging than projects that linger on and on for years, then finally get released to poor sales. Combine Jefferson and Van Buren. You're looking at about three years of development, with a fluctuating team size of between 6-25 people. Compare that to Run Like Hell. RLH was in development for about four years, with (as far as I know) a similar team size. It shipped and tanked hard. The cost of development certainly wasn't covered, and the cost of publishing and distribution was just thrown away, since barely any units moved. Jefferson and VB also never had to pay for audio development and voice acting. I am pretty confident that even those two titles combined did not lose anywhere near as much money as RLH.
I still doubt IWD2 made a profit considering it dropped off the top 50 game sales chart in two weeks' time. It may have only taken ten months to develop, but then there's license fees and so on that have to be paid to Atari. Maybe if you also include the sales of the later bundle packs, it made a profit.
He's spot on about RLH. Imagine if that money and people had been spent on one of BIS's PC CRPGs. Heck, you could have made two PC CRPGs for the time and cost of RLH. The PC CRPGs that Black Isle made did tend to actually turn a profit.
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