Not all indie games are built out of a few bucks, a bit of ingenuity and a whole lot of imagination. Some, like Jonathan Blow's Braid, cost $200,000, but that's mostly because Blow is too cool to live with his mom.
The old capitalist adage that sometimes you gotta spend money to make money is evidently as true for indie games as it is selling novelty plungers. Braid dev Jonathan Blow, who has said that the game's been "very profitable" for him, has revealed that the game cost $200,000 to make.
Speaking at his GDC panel "Braving the stormy waters of XBLA and PSN: Smaller is NOT Easier," Blow explained that most of the money went to hiring David Hellman, who worked as the game's main artist. So it didn't have to cost that much, but Blow's convinced it would have turned out differently otherwise. "The game wouldn't have been as good, but it would have made a profit," he explained.
It wasn't just hiring Hellman, though. Blow also dropped some bills acquiring a suitable work environment to develop the game. "Also, a lot of that money was spent because I didn't want to live in a shack somewhere," Blow said. He argued that it doesn't actually take 200 grand to make a game, just enough money to keep you alive while you're making it, which should come as good news to basement dwellers with aspirations of making it big.
"If you can live for three years at your Mom's house, you can make a game for free," Blow said.