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Warner Bros cans This is Vegas - report

Wed 25 Aug 2010 8:12am GMT / 4:12am EDT / 1:12am PDT

Total of $50 million sunk in ex-Midway project

Warner Bros has apparently pulled the plug on open-world title This is Vegas, after a total of $50 million (32.38m) was spent on its development. Developer Surreal Studios had already been closed earlier this year.

The game, which Warner Bros inherited as part of its $33 million (21.3m) acquisition of Midway's assets last year, had already cost Midway $43 million (27.85m) by the time the company folded, and was running at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars a month.

The report, from Computer and Videogames quotes a 'cast iron' source as saying: "It was moving along to a point where the title was on the schedule for release late last year - but still needed another eight months to a year to finish.

"It's a ridiculous waste of money, a silly budget when you think that games like Konami's Saw - which made profit - were built with around $3m."

It's not the first time that rumours have arisen about the future of the project, however. Only three weeks ago, Warner denied that the project had been closed, despite US retailers saying that they would be returning money paid for pre-orders of the game.

Warner Bros has been contacted for an official statement.

8 Comments

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
Damnit; I didn't even know Surreal Software had been disbanded. I guess that means my hope for a new Drakan game is all but pointless.

Elsewhere, considering developing God of War III cost $44 million and I believe Halo 3 cost in the region of $55 million, how the hell did this game which was nowhere near release and looked dodgy in concept and execution get such a massive budget...?!

Posted:4 years ago

#1

Tom Hully
Studying Business Information Systems

12 0 0.0
This just sounds crazy - if the "cast-iron source" is actually an employee of Warner then their comments just paint a picture of incredible tunnel vision don't they?

Working on a title that as Terence said, looked dodgy in concept and execution; very much a GTA wannabe in my eyes with only certain games coming close to the sense of freedom and potential for mayhem that Rockstar can bring to the table (both Crackdown titles are foremost in my mind right now).

"...the title was on schedule for release late last year - but still needed another eight months to a year to finish" I'm sorry, what a way to contradict yourself in one statement, how can a game possibly be on schedule for release if you know for a fact it still needed potentially another year to finish making it??

"It's a ridiculous waste of money..." no s**t, shouldn't Warner have realised that when they bought up most of the half-finished junk that Midway were making in the first place? As Terence alluded to, close to $95 million for what could have potentially been a complete flop almost amounts to negligence.

Posted:4 years ago

#2

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,266 2,404 1.1
Got some chuckles out of this one.

1. $250,000 per month is just $3 million on a year. Looks about 30-35 employees on it. Sounds average to me but I can't for the life of me see how they get $50 million out of it. How did Midway spend $43 million on it in just 2 years, WB spends $7 million in 1 year but yet we are told monthly costs are just $250,000 (comes to $3 million annually)?

2. That source is being quite naive about the difference in budgeting a new IP with a brand new game engine and a licensed IP using middleware.

Posted:4 years ago

#3

Jeff Lindsey
Senior Producer

9 3 0.3


To me, this looks like that was a slower burn-rate, not peak. There could have also been massive outsourcing, mo-cap, etc that isn't included in the "running costs" figure.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Lindsey on 25th August 2010 1:28pm

Posted:4 years ago

#4

Private
Industry

1,176 182 0.2
That would be a shame actually looked forward to it after the first trailer, but with the lack of news in the last few years that was to be expected to happen.

Posted:4 years ago

#5

Jordan Woodward
Studying Interactive Games Design

79 0 0.0
That is an absolutely silly amount of money to waste...

Posted:4 years ago

#6

Tristan Lefranc
Associate Producer

3 0 0.0
I hope this has been canned...
We would finally see a publisher that stands by its brand, think for the long term, and focus on his business: investment. How many times in the past have we seen games being released for worse reasons?

I have seen different publishers carrying on with projects that were too weak at an alpha or even an earlier stage due the amount of money already invested. There are two common behaviours then:

1) Put some more money on the top, giving it more time, with the hope to see the game getting better.
(And let's be honest it tends to rarely be the case)

2) Just close the game, put it in a box and sell it to get a bit of your money back...

then the worse happen:
- For the investors and shareholders: more money is being wasted

- Sales Teams; They tend to lose credibility, with their business contact trying to sell them a AAA budget game with the quality not there.
- Marketing teams; They damage the Publishing Brand, by releasing a game that was literaly made to hit the market months ago if not years earlier to be competitive. They although lose the little faith they could have had in production.
- For the brand:
- The consumer buy a full price Game that will be disappointing, feeding a negative feeling towards the publisher and making them cold to their next production. Damaging the sales of the next game develop by other studios for this publisher.

I would be please to see a publisher taking his responsability.
they would protect their long term interests, their shareholders as well as the other studios (external and internal) working for them. Yes, that would mean trashing a big sum of money, but less compared to what they could have lost if they had kept this production running.

Posted:4 years ago

#7

John Tearle
Founder, CEO

17 10 0.6
I would love to see the budget vs team size vs profit margins for Valves Portal team in comparison with this. New toolset or not - this budget is through the roof. Business is one thing but when you weigh the competition (GTA Series with a proven track record) and without even doing the maths - pot odds are that you're betting on a losing number with those figures. It blows me away that this can happen when other development studios can produce hit titles, within 18months, using in house toolsets, for a fraction of the cost.

Posted:4 years ago

#8

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