Develop, Rare's Mark Betteridge has claimed that developers need to do a better job of estimating the cost for game projects. He noted that development problems often arise as the result of underestimated budgets, saying, "I still think the industry takes a naive approach to estimating budgets when compared to other industries." Betteridge advised studios not to rush into production before a game's core concepts are set in stone. "You might have artists or coders getting paid as employees with little to do because a game isn't yet in production," said Betteridge.
Betteridge's comments come as part of a Develop report on the "sudden decline" in video game budgets. According to the report, the poor global financial climate has caused publishers to slash budgets of any unproven game properties. The report cites a few other reasons for declining budgets, including the longer console cycle. Betteridge also points to increasing mobile development, more prevalent middleware and a rising number of sequels -- which often reuse existing code and assets -- as reasons for declining costs.
The comments also reflect Rare's changing development philosophy. The company recently announced plans to open a new studio specifically to overcome the "boom and bust cycle" of game development staffing. The developer hopes to adopt a method akin to the film industry, hiring contract staff for the duration of a project, rather than trying to maintain a large, consistent workforce.