[Update: For his part, Ken Levine has denied reports of a $200-million budget. We are in the process of getting a full response.]
Developers, like Rockstar, have bragged in the past that games make more than films at the box office, so why not fund games like Hollywood does? 2K Games is doing just that by throwing nearly $200 million at BioShock Infinite, according to The New York Times which cited unnamed analysts. Not since Grand Theft Auto IV -- allegedly $100M and produced by 2K's owners Take-Two -- has so much money been thrown at a project
Around $100M was spent on Infinite's production and as much as another $100 will be spent on marketing. Remember when we were all gobsmacked that Gears of War cost $10 million? While game budgets have gone up, BioShock Infinite is pushing to the top of the list of most expensive productions. Shenmue ($94M in today's economy) says hi!
Destructoid recently reported that Ken Levine decided to axe the BioShock film when Universal declined its $200 million budget. I wondered where that ridiculously high number, usually reserved for major franchise sequels (Harry Potter, Transformers), came from. Well, it may have come from BioShock Infinite's budget. Hard to go back to a measly $80 mil, right guys!?
The exclusive review, generous pre-purchase offers, and massive marketing push around this game is all starting to make sense: 2K doesn't want to take any chances after investing so heavily in this risky venture. Even a 90+ Metacritic score and strong ad push may not be enough to make this bird fly. I sure hope so, as the resulting dialog among publishers may lead to less ambitious games in the future.