cracked open the financial books on Dustforce, revealing just how much the indie release made. After the game's launch in January of 2012 and some major sales with Steam and the Humble Bundle, Dustforce has earned a total of $668,490 in revenue.
That may sound profitable, but that's before taxes, Valve's take, and other fees are removed, which brings the total down to $489,404. Removing various software and hardware costs, accounting fees, and other expenses lowers it even further to $295,000, says Hitbox. In the end, for every $10 copy of the game sold, Hitbox earned $4.41 – which the studio's (now four) developers must split.
Dustforce began with a $0 budget, as a game prototype made with GameMaker. After an IndiePub competition win, Hitbox was able to budget the $100,000 prize for the game's development, which it says was enough to support the staff of three for about a year and a half.
Hitbox's Terence Lee says the release was ultimately worth it. The game's success and "the pleasure of making Dustforce was worth far more than the opportunity cost of working somewhere else." He calls the process a "fantastic foundation for us as a studio," providing experience and funds for work on Hitbox's next title, an FPS called Spire.