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Next-gen development costs to double, says Epic Games CTO

Making AAA games isn't cheap. And according to Epic Games, we can expect developing for the next generation of consoles to cost about twice as much as it did at the beginning of this cycle.

GamesIndustry International reports Epic Games chief technology officer and co-founder Tim Sweeney said his studio derived that figure from the four months and 30-person team required to create its next-gen "Samaritan" tech demo last year.

“If we extrapolate that into creating an entire game, we were worried that the cost would go up by a factor of three or four or even five in the next generation,” Sweeney said. “And of course, we felt that was not acceptable.”

The studio was able to streamline its development tools and otherwise improve efficiency, bringing the expected cost to just double that of big budget titles from the beginning of this generation. Oh, thank goodness.

Sweeney also said developers of all stripes have to take free-to-play seriously to remain viable in the future--as Epic is doing with the upcoming release of PC "social survival" game Fortnite.

“Free-to-play gaming is becoming more and more inevitable,” Sweeney said. “If a user has world-class, AAA free-to-play games to choose from side-by-side with $60 games that are available only on a disc in a retail store, free-to-play games are very likely to win. So we need to really be mindful of this trend and start building games that have monetization and are designed to be piracy-proof.”

Connor Sheridan
Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.