Skullgirls were laid off from Reverge Labs last summer, they reformed as Lab Zero Games and pledged to continue working on the franchise, in November announcing that the first DLC character was "indefinitely delayed" while the studio found its footing.
Now Lab Zero is ready to get rocking on Squigly, its first DLC character, but it needs $150,000 to make that happen. Lab Zero set up an Indiegogo campaign to get the cash via crowdfunding, a move that puts the amount of money under a public microscope. Some potential players are outraged at the cost of making a single character – Lab Zero CEO Peter Bartholow tells Joystiq he doesn't expect people to understand the budget, but it is "reasonable with all the relevant information."
Bartholow breaks down the Squigly budget as follows:
$48,000: Staff Salaries – 8 people for 10 weeksOriginal Skullgirls characters cost $200,000 - $250,000 apiece and the game's total budget was $1.7 million. The salaries in Lab Zero's Squigly budget are reduced, as well, Bartholow says.
$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
"So, as you can see, over two-fifths of the money is spent on all the stuff we need to do just to get to collect the money and get her onto people's systems," he says. "This is just the reality of crowdfunding and independent console development right now. And also probably why more games don't do what we're attempting, too."