Lab Zero Games, the guys behind 2D fighting game Skullgirls, want to add a new character to the game's roster. To do this, they're going to set up an IndieGoGo on February 25. And ask for $150,000.
This has, understandably, led to some puzzled looks and unkind words being hurled their way. If all they're doing is adding a new character to an existing game, surely it can't be that expensive, right?
Well, according to them, it is. You see, in June 2012 the entire dev team were laid off from their jobs at Reverge Labs, meaning that despite having a reasonably successful title under their belts, they're back to being an indie start-up.
Which means they can't just stroll into the office and come up with a new character on the company's dime. They've got to start from scratch, and then take scratch right through the process to the finish line. I spoke with Lab Zero's Peter Bartholow earlier today, and was given the full breakdown of where—provided they actually get it—all that money would be going.
$48,000: Staff Salaries - 8 people for 10 weeks
$30,000: Animation and Clean-up Contracting
$4,000: Voice recording
$2,000: Hit-box Contracting
$5,000: Audio Implementation Contracting
$20,000: QA Testing
$10,000: 1st Party Certification
$10,500: IndieGoGo and Payment Processing Fees
$20,500: Manufacturing and Shipping Physical Perks
As you can see from those last two, an insane amount of money needs to be recouped... just to ask for money in the first place. And as you can see from the first few, once you stop for a moment and think about it, common sense prevails. At least from their standpoint; whether potential backers see it as a smart enough investment is anyone's guess.
For reference, he says the total budget for Skullgirls was just under $2 million.
Bartholow also says it's not just a new character that's being added, as they're hoping to use the time to also introduce some "balance fixes and other tweaks" as well.
Oh, and perhaps most importantly, while they're asking for funding to develop the character, if they meet their funding goal she'll be released for a limited time as a free download for everyone, not just those those backing the campaign.
Interesting, no? It's like finding out how a sausage is made. Only less gross.
UPDATE - The game's Indiegogo campaign has now launched, and has already raised
over $50,000 of the requested $150,000
OK now it's at $75,000 in the blink of an eye.