Animations. Custom made animations are expensive.
Earlier I was thinking that 2D versus 3D means cheaper expenses (Which probably is true) but after re-thinking this I believe that animated versus non-animated has much more dramatic expense increase.
If you have a 3D game without animations, it will (quite likely) be much less expensive to produce than a 3D game with animations. Doing a 3D game that relies on physics for example cuts expenses pretty nicely in the art department. Same thing with 2D games: a physics based non-animated game (or with little animations) will require much less work than a 2D game that requires animations.
This might sounds obvious thing (or “not a big deal”) to some people, but I really think that game developers – especially beginners – should think of this when starting their new game projects or when adding new features. The more animations it needs, the more work it means.
I’ve done Dead Wake for couple of years, and I’ve done my best trying to avoid creating animations (or art) for the game… and even then it has required a pretty good amount of hours to get all the pieces together. I tried having animations and even hired couple of guys at some point but it took quite a bit of time (and money) to get things moving. That approach wasn’t a good (to make things from scratch) so I focused on getting ready made art packs (and then customizing some animations). I’m not complaining – this has been a long dream (like since when I was 15 years old or something) to create a 3D game and I I’m really close to the release.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about costs, it’s the thing that animations can be expensive and take loads of time & effort to get done.
Are they worth the effort?
That’s for you developers to decide when you are working on your games. I’m doing the same.