New York Times numbers are from unnamed analysts.
The New York Times ran an article yesterday introducing its readers to 'BioShock Infinite' and Irrational Games founder and creative director Ken Levine. The article included several quotes from Levine from an interview that was also featured in The New York Times blog. The article mentions certain production details such as a 200 person team and four year project length, before addressing the budget as follows, "The estimated cost of the project is upward of $100 million, not including marketing expenses, which could add another $100 million, analysts said. That is considered a large budget even among blockbuster franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Halo and Call of Duty."
Just the possibility of nine figure game budget would stagger near any publisher, even seldom profitable 2K parent, Take-Two Interactive. If hundreds of millions of dollars were going in to a single project, Take-Two need only to look to its own Rockstar Games 'Grand Theft Auto V' for a more likely candidate.
Naturally, after hearing reports of 100 to 200 million dollar 'BioShock Infinite' budget, Ken Levine quipped on Twitter, "200 million for Infinite? Did someone send some checks to the wrong address? #unnamedanalyst."
If Take-Two could sell 3.4 million copies of 'BioShock Infinite' at $60 a piece without having to share a cent with any other entity, they could recoup that figure. While the franchise has sold in the millions, it isn't a number reached at a $60 price point, and Take-Two can hardly expect a full share of the sales price.
Likewise, a 100 million in marketing could increase public awareness of the game, but translating that awareness to sales is less likely. Fortunately with a publication like 'The New York Times' willing to present sensational figures without rational, there is plenty of free, perhaps even priceless marketing to be had.
'BioShock Infinite' is due for the 360, PS3, and PC on March 26th and can be pre-ordered here.