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It isn’t often that anyone discusses the production costs involved in developing a reasonably big-budgeted eroge or visual novel. For this reason, there are often misconceptions regarding the time and effort that go into producing a high-quality product from the genre, as well as the profit margins eroge visual novel developers and publishers need to maintain in order to survive.

 

Luckily, Canned Dogs has a translated breakdown of visual novel production costs revealed by industry veteran Yamato Tamaki, which should help shed some light on the numbers behind the art. The breakdown includes not only the actual production costs, but also the cost of marketing and advertising, and is a great read for anyone that follows the genre. Here’s a list of the positions it covers:

 

  • Director
  • Artist
  • Scenario writer
  • Programmer
  • Scripter
  • CG Supervisor
  • CG colouring
  • Background artist
  • Composer
  • Sound Effects
  • Seiyuu (voice actors)
  • Sound director
  • Animator
  • Enshutsu (storyboards)
  • Debugger
  • Production Manager

 

Additionally, another — arguably even more fascinating — post delves into the cost of hiring seiyuu, or voice actors. The amount of money paid to a voice actor for any individual project depends on several different factors, including whether or not a game contains the rape scenes the genre has (unfortunately) become infamous for. Here’s an excerpt from the post:

 

Ero anime only pays approximately 10,000 yen per episode and takes a day, so when an eroge becomes an ero anime, there are a lot of seiyuu that will refuse to do voices for the ero anime, which is why the ero anime versions usually have a different voice cast.

 

The post also points out that eroge seiyuu costs have skyrocketed by as much as 300% in recent years.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and a contributing writer at GamesIndustry.biz. He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.

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