EIF 08: Codemasters exec talks development costs

Rod Cousens bigs up UK games industry and says Operation Flashpoint 2 will cost "under £20m."

EDINBURGH--As the managing director of Codemasters, Rod Cousens is well placed to talk about development in the UK, and he used the Edinburgh Interactive Festival to extol the virtues of working within the UK in light of recent debate on the matter.

Rod Cousens on stage.

"GRID cost us £6.8m to develop," said Cousens. "But as we expect to sell 1.8 to 2 million copies of the game, it will make a healthy return." Cousens put the relatively low development costs down to shared technology, namely its in-house engine EGO. GRID is the latest driving game from Codemasters, which is already well established in the genre, having produced the Colin McRae series of rally games. The publisher has also recently taken over the F1 licence.

The same will be true for the company's upcoming shooter Operation Flashpoint 2, which Cousens says will "be more expensive than GRID, but not more than £20m" to develop. He claims that the UK's "savvy technological know-how" will allow Codemasters to compete with games that cost four or five times as much to make.

Development costs of major games have spiralled upward in recent years--a Konami executive said in November that its latest blockbuster, Metal Gear Solid 4, needed to sell a million copies on day one to recoup its costs. The financial results of major publishers have also been affected by the amount of money needed to produce titles.

Aside from the costs involved with making major titles, the main point behind Cousens' presentation was that the high labour rates in the UK are "nullified by creativity and productivity." There's also the "benefit of the English language" and the fact that "outsourcing is risky"--facts that he believes have led Sony, Warner Bros., Take Two, THQ, EA, and Disney to invest in developers in the region.

Cousens also hinted at more UK expansion for Codemasters. The publisher last year opened a new development studio in Guildford, Surrey, and also bought Sega Racing Studio in April.

Stay tuned to GameSpot UK over the coming days for the latest from the Edinburgh Interactive Festival.

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23 comments
goppizzi
goppizzi

I can't wait for any longer for the operation flashpoint 2.- pls tell us a release date!!! pls!!!!!!! will be the next compentitor of COD4?.

thomanji
thomanji

Well, it is easy to spot that they try to increase profits. GRID is nice looking but compared to the predecessor TOCA3 it is completely substandard. All features that made it a great game were removed. Now it is a need for speed imitation and has lost its tilt completely. I already have it on ebay to get rid of it since online gets boring very quick. They have some neat ideas with the online voting but compared to Toca3 it is a complete letdown. The worst was the removal of the penalty system and of course all cool events were removed. I just hope they spend a bit to make a quality F1 game. If it is the same as in GRID then I can see the disappointment already. Well, I can only say GO Forza. I do not see any contender with the passion or money to do this. EA would have the money but no passion at all, Simbin has the passion but not the $ and Codemasters lost all their momentum when switching from XBox to Xbox360. It should not be able lowering quality and development costs but making better games and better marketing to sell more to make more money. Lets see if they can make it good again in GRID2 or are able to do a good F1 game. If they spend £6 on F1 then it would be quite sad.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

OF2, will hopefully be the definative FPS of 2009, and if its anything like the original, it will completely blow all other military FPS's away!! I simply cant wait for it!!

Crystall3d
Crystall3d

why dont all gaming companies merge into eachother so they create one big game?... coding the same stuff over and over again just to match one single flavor...in a peacefull united world....

Guts5
Guts5

For you wanna be game developers... I suggest you focus on things like the DS. Much smaller teams required to make games with limited graphics. The "big" games have massive graphics departments, cgi movies involved, and all that jazz. Stuidios of 100+ people are common. Where as a good DS game, such as Puzzle Quest is made by a MUCH MUCH smaller studio. A few 2D characters shots, an overland drawn map, the puzzle bubbles, the sound effects, and the minimal graphical effects added to the battles. Compared to 3D graphics, 3D physics engines, and all that stuff. Think small people. You've got NO chance of doing a 360/wii/PS3 game without tons of talented people and the money to pay them.

notquitesure
notquitesure

this reminds me of black powder red earth or whatever it was called... when those guys were making their own game.... what ever happened to that?! sure they didnt have millions

Franko_3
Franko_3

woah almost 13 million us$ to devellop grid! So damn expensive. My dream is to devellop a pc game, but I guess I will need atleast 5 million :(

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

They make great games and they believe in their products. What's not to like about them?

markharris31
markharris31

The value of outsourcing depends on the complexity of the project. Low level, high work-load projects tend to get the most benefit from outsourcing. For the same reason, today's factories are heavily automated, so you need mostly unskilled labor to push a few buttons, and only a few skilled techs to fix the machines when they break. That is why China and India are massive markets for manufacturing, tons of (basically) slave labor, no environmental constraints or compliance costs, and lower taxes. Outsourcing is usually not very cost effective for projects as complex and dynamic as game development because the expertise and communication needed to bring projects to fruition. It is, however, cost effective when you need a lot of low-level, repeated code for, say, database applications.

wazzup987
wazzup987

good about limited dev cost are limited resources make people work harder to make it better with in means they the bad about it is obvious

okassar
okassar

The increased development cost is a good thing.First off,that means,obviously,they are putting more money into making a better game.Another reason would be that it would seem more risky to make a craptacular game so more developers veer off that path(except for with the Wii,because many Wii kids buy retarded games and waste their parents money only to find out that money bought them a frown,which is a really bad thing for the Wii because developers know they can still make money if their game is a heaping pile of crap...therefore,like 6/7 Wii games are craptacular(exaggeration, but seriously...)).So ya,less craptacular games,and it also means there is more competition,and that's never a bad thing...for the consumer:)This also means that FAILURE game companies go to hell,so that encourages game developing companies not to be failures...and the list could go on and on and on,increased development cost is a GOOD thing,don't try to say otherwise.

omrikk87
omrikk87

20M for developing game? no wonder alot of game companies wont take big risks these days, especially with known brand\\series\\game

Lone_Wolff
Lone_Wolff

Teehee the guy who wrote this article...his name is Guy Cocker =X Damn its way too early for this. But yeah, its a shame that prices are going through the roof now for game development and the fact that they need to sell so many copies of said game, its amazing anyone is making money. However I just hope this doesn't keep creativity down because I don't need another meat head FPS =/

Pete5506
Pete5506

Codemaster is not that bad, them seem to be doing alright

waza000
waza000

codemaster is one of the worst company ever if they can stay in arcade racers and stop "trying" to do other titles, i'd be happy

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

UK companies outsource work to India because it is much cheaper than hiring a UK person to do the work. They get the Indian trained in one particular area so they can do that well and the company thinks they are saving money. The problem comes when they go to do the next game, or when the current one overruns - that person they trained, is now trained, and was able to get themselves a better job elsewhere that pays more. To keep costs low they have to retrain the cheapest workers, which again can be expected to go elsewhere after (even during) the project. New workers take time to get up to speed and understand what their predecessors had done, and costs more money. You can save a lot of time and hassle by just employing a few more people in the UK who will work alongside the existing team. It may cost a bit more, but will deliver better value overall when everything is taken into consideration.

lucebuce
lucebuce

jrabbit99 this 1's for u we'l see games that say made in india , when india actually stops being retarded

thug_angel123
thug_angel123

I'm glad codemasters picked up their pace with only 2-3 titles, but they were indeed big...

s_emi_xxxxx
s_emi_xxxxx

GRID is an awesome game guys, Must buy (even for NFS fans) & Any idea how much did Crysis & Cryengine2 costed Crytek & EA ? must've been in billions :o

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

so when will we see games that say "made in india?"

punkpunker
punkpunker

pls do not canceled or delayed OpFp for the consoles, its the best military shooter by simulation. people who wants to get out from reality and into military world would buy 1