Lars Buttler, CEO of VC-funded online game developer Trion Worlds said that his studio's to-be-released fantasy MMO, Rift: Planes of Telara costs tens of millions of dollars to create.
"Rift: Planes of Telara is already very ambitious because it is over $50 million in development," he said in an interview with Develop. The game is slated to release next year.
Buttler helped found Trion in 2006, and the company has since raised $100 million in venture capital from investors including GE/NBC and Time Warner, among others.
Trion has yet to release a game, but currently has three projects in development: an MMO/real-time strategy game called End of Nations, created with Star Wars: Empire at War studio Petroglyph; Rift: Planes of Telara; and a "transmedia" MMO in development with TV network SyFy.
The SyFy project could be the most groundbreaking if Trion is able to execute -- events in the TV show will reportedly be replicated in the game, and events of the game could be integrated into the TV show.
Buttler added, "One of the first questions we asked before we started the Rift project was, 'why cannot online games be of the quality of video games?' We felt that, sooner or later, the whole [MMO sector] will have to go down this route."