Gears of War made for less than $10M

Epic Games' vice president says cost to make holiday hit was "between 9 and 10 million"; UE3 designed for "next-gen, high-definition," not Wii.

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While the graphics, sound, and online gameplay of the current wave of gaming platforms is nice, it comes at a hefty price. Development costs of next-generation games have been estimated to run as high as $25 million, with Forbes recently revealing that Capcom's Lost Planet cost $20 million to produce.

However, a game can apparently look fantastic, win multiple Game of the Year awards, and sell like gangbusters for about half that price. In an interview with Wired.com, Epic Games vice president Mark Rein said that Gears of War cost "somewhere between 9 and 10 million dollars" to make. Rein did not talk about marketing costs of the game. As of January 19, the game had sold 3 million copies worldwide, and according to the most recent figures from NPD Funworld, the game sold more than 1.8 million copies in the US last year, generating more than $107 million in revenue.

Rein attributes the cost shaving to his company's popular game engine Unreal Engine 3, and he says that other producers could benefit from licensing UE3.

"People are always saying that making next-generation games is really expensive, and we're saying, you should license our technology," said Rein. "Because we have really great tools for building content and a great pipeline that makes your team more productive...which means that your designers can actually do things that previously, programmers had to do."

As far as any Unreal Engine 3-powered gaming headed to the Wii, it's possible, but Nintendo fans shouldn't get their hopes up, according to Rein.

"It's not in our plans to bring Unreal Engine 3 to the Wii. It's really designed for next-gen, high-definition [platforms]," said Rein. "One of our licensees has been porting it, and they might be successful at that, and that would be great if they do it. It's doable, but not something that we're going to focus on."

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