Dead Space 2 Dev Says Game Cost $60M To Make And Sold Millions, But Failed Commercially
The game's 4 million in sales wasn't good enough, developer says.
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In the wake of Dead Space studio Visceral Games' closure, a former employee has come forward to reveal details about Dead Space 2's budget and its profitability. Former level designer Zach Wilson said on Twitter that the 2011 Xbox 360, PS3, and PC game cost $60 million to produce, going on to sell 4 million copies. Wilson added that EA was "merciless" with the budget for Dead Space 2, suggesting it could have been higher.
That's a lot of copies. But with marketing expenses of a reported $60 million, and the portions that retailers get and the cut that Microsoft and Sony take from sales, it meant that Dead Space 2 didn't do well enough, Wilson said. Despite this, Visceral went on to make Dead Space 3, but that game failed to reach sales expectations. The game introduced a major change for the series through co-op, which was likely a move that was aimed at broadening the franchise's appeal.
It is exceptionally rare to hear about specific numbers for production and marketing budgets, so Wilson's comments, while not confirmed, are noteworthy and interesting. We have followed up with EA in an attempt to get more details on the veracity of Wilson's comments.
Wilson is now working at Bethesda on an unannounced game. He's not the only former Visceral employee to speak up following the announcement of the studio's closure today. Former game director Scott Warner said on Twitter that Visceral was set up for success but was "defeated by forces beyond our control." Asked for more details about these unspecified forces, Warner said it's "way more complicated" than pointing the finger at EA alone. Warner is now a design lead at Oculus VR.
Visceral was working on an action-adventure game in the Star Wars franchise, led by industry veteran and Uncharted director Amy Hennig. The game is still in development, but it is being revamped and has been delayed, while development has shifted to EA Vancouver. As for Hennig, EA said the company is "in discussions with Amy about her next move," but that's all we know for now.
In 2015, Visceral GM Steve Papoutsis said in an interview (via Cinema Blend) that returning to the Dead Space series was "definitely" something the studio would look at returning to. Now that Visceral is no more, it is unclear what the future will be for Dead Space.