Let’s be honest, if Heavy Rain popped up on a video game special of Dragons' Den, director David Cage would be laughed out of the abandoned warehouse. In truth, something similar probably happened when developer Quantic Dream was pitching the project to various publishers – but eventually Sony took a gamble on the release. And according to figures shared by the French studio today, that paid off big time for the publisher.
Speaking to a Digital Dragons audience in Poland, company vice president Guillaume de Fondaumière revealed that the game cost just €16.7 million to make. Once the platform holder was done marketing it, the title’s budget sat somewhere around €40 million – but the game still went on to earn the company in excess of €100 million. “It [was] very profitable,” the executive illustrated. Not bad for a vanity project, huh?
De Fondaumière used the figures to explain that unique games don't necessarily need to be risky. "We should stop thinking that innovation rhymes with unprofitable,” he said, pointing to thatgamecompany’s Journey as another distinctive experience that ended up making money – even if the developer did have to go bankrupt in the process. "Creating new experiences is also a way to expand the market,” the executive continued, noting that Heavy Rain appealed to wives and girlfriends in addition to traditional gamers.
The French developer added that different types of titles can help to alter the perception of gaming, too. He explained that Quantic Dream met with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2004 because he was interested in working on a game, but the star turned down the project due to an image issue. Fast-forward a few years, however, and the upcoming Beyond: Two Souls is flaunting Hollywood names such as Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. The industry has changed beyond recognition.
Despite this progress, though, de Fondaumière really wants games to be appreciated as a cultural form of expression, and he believes that changes need to be made in order for that to occur. "We need, as an industry, to be more creative, and probably stop creating the same games over again," he said. "Maybe create new IPs. We need publishers of course to take the risk to create new IPs. But we also need the audience to [vote with their wallets].”
He concluded: "Today we are seeing a crisis – we are seeing a market that is in decline. There is a certain creative crisis that is, in part, the reason why some gamers are playing less. We can only resolve that by offering new creations, new IP, [and] also wooing a new audience to games.”
Do you agree with de Fondaumière's thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below.