The cost of Columbia? Ken Levine denies rumors of BioShock Infinite’s incredible budget

bioshock infinite

Nearly three years after the game’s first announcement, and even longer after it went into development under the codename “Project Icarus,” BioShock Infinite is finally coming out next week, but it’s been a tumultuous journey. The game faced multiple delays, the cancellation of multiplayer modes, and the exodus of key staff members in 2012, and there came a point when many thought that BioShock Infinite may not come out at all. The game is finally finished though, and according to Irrational Games’ Ken Levine, it was not cheap to produce.

The exact amount is up in the air, though. A New York Times profile of Levine, Irrational Studios, and BioShock Infinite published on Thursday put an astronomical price tag on the game. Its unnamed industry analyst source pegged development costs at around $100 million, with Take-Two Interactive spending an additional $100 million on marketing the game.

Take-Two Interactive has been aggressively promoting BioShock Infinite, hoping to elevate the series to the same sales status as other recent hits from the publisher like Borderlands 2. Televised commercials for BioShock Infinite began airing on services like Hulu during the summer of 2012, more than six months ahead of the game’s release, and the marketing can be seen everywhere, but Levine took to Twitter to refute the New York Times’ source. “$200 million for Infinite?” said Levine, “Did someone send some checks to the wrong address?”

Game development is more expensive than it used to be, but it’s highly unlikely that BioShock Infinite cost $100 million to develop. The average game during the PlayStation era of the late ‘90s was between $800,000 and $1 million, a figure that ballooned to between $5 and $10 million during the PlayStation 2 and Xbox generation. In 2008, when development for consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 began in earnest, costs were hovering between $18.8 and $28.2 million, a figure that’s increased depending on the project in that time frame.

The truth is that Take-Two Interactive hasn’t had the capital to fund such an expensive project. In fact, the company has incurred significant losses in recent years due to the delays of BioShock Infinite and labelmate Grand Theft Auto V. While Irrational Games’ new opus likely cost more than the average single-player game—more than four years of development time paired with a huge marketing push almost guarantees it—but $200 million would make it the most expensive game of all time, by a wide margin. 


The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.

If you're looking for a good laugh, here are 70 questions to ask Siri

Siri has come a long way since her first appearance on the iPhone 4S in 2011. We know she can make appointments and give directions, did you know she can make you laugh too? If you want proof, here are lots of funny questions to ask Siri.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Rumors suggest Apple will release an iPhone XR successor this year

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

AT&T defends 5G E logo that tells people they're using 5G when they're not

Network giant AT&T plans to rebrand potentially millions of 4G smartphones to make it appear as though they are on 5G networks, the company confirmed -- since the 4G network has already "evolved."
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Verizon video game streaming service leaked, currently testing on Nvidia Shield

Verizon is currently testing a video game streaming service that is already running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box, according to The Verge. The platform, named Verizon Gaming, will also eventually launch on Android smartphones.

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.