Braid Cost $200,000 To Make

Keane Ng

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Braid Cost $200,000 To Make



Not all indie games are built out of a few bucks, a bit of ingenuity and a whole lot of imagination. Some, like Jonathan Blow's Braid, cost $200,000, but that's mostly because Blow is too cool to live with his mom.

The old capitalist adage that sometimes you gotta spend money to make money is evidently as true for indie games as it is selling novelty plungers. Braid dev Jonathan Blow, who has said that the game's been "very profitable" [http://news.vgchartz.com/news.php?id=3183] for him, has revealed that the game cost $200,000 to make.

David Hellman [http://www.examiner.com/x-3707-LA-Gaming-News-Examiner~y2009m3d25-Braid-cost-200k-to-produce-Blow-reveals], who worked as the game's main artist. So it didn't have to cost that much, but Blow's convinced it would have turned out differently otherwise. "The game wouldn't have been as good, but it would have made a profit," he explained.

It wasn't just hiring Hellman, though. Blow also dropped some bills acquiring a suitable work environment to develop the game. "Also, a lot of that money was spent because I didn't want to live in a shack somewhere," Blow said. He argued that it doesn't actually take 200 grand to make a game, just enough money to keep you alive while you're making it, which should come as good news to basement dwellers with aspirations of making it big.

"If you can live for three years at your Mom's house, you can make a game for free," Blow said.

[Via Joystiq [http://www.joystiq.com/2009/03/26/gdc09-braid-the-200-000-idea/]]


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ElArabDeMagnifico

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He argued that it doesn't actually take 200 grand to make a game, just enough money to keep you alive while you're making it, which should come as good news to basement dwellers with aspirations of making it big.

Well shit, that's misleading.
 

Keane Ng

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Good for him, though does most of his profit come through Braid's high price?
 

SmugFrog

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ElArabDeMagnifico said:
He argued that it doesn't actually take 200 grand to make a game, just enough money to keep you alive while you're making it, which should come as good news to basement dwellers with aspirations of making it big.

Well shit, that's misleading.
Yeah that doesn't actually add up. That's like saying "Well, I wanted this really expensive car so..."
 

Lvl 64 Klutz

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Wow, it seems everyone on the Escapist staff is bitter towards Mr. Blow. Not that I blame any of you, the guy really is pretty easy to make sound like an arrogant prick.
 

Kross

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Lvl 64 Klutz said:
Wow, it seems everyone on the Escapist staff is bitter towards Mr. Blow. Not that I blame any of you, the guy really is pretty easy to make sound like an arrogant prick.
He's a bit of a Jerk, but we certainly don't all hate him. I know myself and a few others here love Braid, and think it was worth the money.

He's certainly not the first opinionated prick who still writes great software [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_J._Bernstein] that I've come across. ;)
 

wild_quinine

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Keane Ng said:
Braid dev Jonathan Blow, who has said that the game's been "very profitable" [http://news.vgchartz.com/news.php?id=3183] for him, has revealed that the game cost $200,000 to make.
Yeah, but it would have been, like, half that if he was better at Blackjack.
 

Keane Ng

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Lvl 64 Klutz said:
Wow, it seems everyone on the Escapist staff is bitter towards Mr. Blow. Not that I blame any of you, the guy really is pretty easy to make sound like an arrogant prick.
I'm not sure where you get that impression, I actually admire him quite a bit.
 

Lvl 64 Klutz

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Keane Ng said:
Lvl 64 Klutz said:
Wow, it seems everyone on the Escapist staff is bitter towards Mr. Blow. Not that I blame any of you, the guy really is pretty easy to make sound like an arrogant prick.
I'm not sure where you get that impression, I actually admire him quite a bit.
Ah, then I suppose my own bias was subconsciously creating a tone that wasn't there.
 

Doug

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Erm, you do realise this is old news? Even Yahtzee's video on it knew the price tag, and that was at least 6 months ago....
 

scifidownbeat

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Whether or not Blow is a jerk, he did make a great game, and I respect him for that. You've got to have at least some artistic insight to fabricate a truly unique game such as Braid. He's definitely got some street cred, if he didn't already have some before.

...But two hundred thousand?! You could pay for lots of stuff with that money... like... uh... eleven hundred seventy-six Nintendo DSi's!
 

Spacelord

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Why is this news? I heard Braid was a great game, and I think it's unfair to expect someone having to put his whole life on hold just so gamers can have a creative and fun gaming experience they'd usually pay double for. Hell, if anything I think it's an inspiration and a good way to break the stigma of indie game developers being otherwise basement-dwelling freaks whose only merit is making a fun game.

Hopefully it will inspire other people with a dream of making a really great game idea a reality without being afraid of having to eat instant noodles every day for three years and girls making fun of you because you still live with your mom. We should be congratulating him for making indie game development a cool as well as viable career choice!
 

Sewblon

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So excellence does result in cash-prizes. But "If you can live for 3 years at your moms house, you can make a game for free." Don't you still need a computer and a copy of a programing language, usually C++. I don't hate Mr.Blow but I am still peeved about when he called story-driven games "bogus."
 

Nordstrom

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Blow didn't pay himself a huge amount of money while playing the game. Spread over three years, that's $66,000 per year to share between himself and Hellman. There were likely some business expenses in there too. So, I'm guessing that he couldn't be living on more than $40,000 a year during the development of the game.

It was his gamble. His game sold well and he's done well as a result. He could have come out with almost nothing to show for it. Others have taken the same gamble and come out $200,000 poorer.

And as to his Big Ego... If Blow had a different personality, like one that bows to everyone else's ideas, we would not have received a game like Braid that has so much character. Whether he is over-opinionated or not, I'm glad that Blow had the chutzpah to produce an independent game with high artistic production values. Few people have the guts to try something like that.

Having a guy like Blow around keeps things interesting and that's fine with me.
 

Aries_Split

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I dislike Blow as a person.

He passes off Braid as deep and emotional when it reality it's vague.
Like... really really vague.