EIF 08: Codemasters exec talks development costs

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


Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

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.
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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