Does it take much work/money to edit cutscenes once finished? Like, you develop a cutscene but then you decide to change details like background, music, clothes, facial expressions of the characters or even add to the scene a character who originally wasn’t supposed to be there. How often does this happen?

The cost of making changes entirely depends on how expensive the individual changes are to make. That is generally dependent on how many people are needed to do the work to make those changes. Once upon a time, back when all cutscenes were pre-rendered FMV, it was tremendously expensive to make changes because making any small change required re-rendering the entire video which was enormously expensive. Today, for an in-game cinematic, a lot of the things are done in real time so we can swap things out as needed.

For the specific assets used in the cinematic, it depends on what it costs to make those new assets. If we already have the assets built for other reasons (e.g. a different outfit for this character), it's a lot cheaper than having to build a new asset from scratch for the cinematic. If we already have a voice line recorded, it's a lot cheaper and easier than having to arrange for the voice actor to come back in and record new lines. If we want to change the background music for the scene, it's a lot cheaper to use an existing piece we already have than to get a composer to make a new piece.

We usually try to minimize massive changes after the fact because of the cost involved. It's far more efficient to make sure that we've gotten our narrative and story locked down and finished before we begin constructing the cinematics than doing it as we go. Sometimes changes must be made (e.g. the voice of a major character has to pull out for whatever reason and we need to re-record all of the character's lines, we might be able to make some changes since we need to re-record anyway. But generally speaking, the early planning is much cheaper than the later implementation. We can't get refunds on development time or effort spent and we only have so much to spend on the total game.

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