Sunk cost affects us like it affects most humans. We’re loss-averse creatures and our brains abhor feeling like we’ve wasted resources. The problem then becomes throwing “good” resources after bad and trying to “get over the hump” when it is really just digging our own graves even deeper.
One famous example is Mass Effect Andromeda. ME:A had a major problem with sunk cost - the game was originally intended to feature a procedural planet generator that could create a near-infinite number of planets to explore. The dev team spent a tremendous amount of resources building out such a system and ended up scrapping it because it was just not good enough to generate the kind of quality content they knew their players would expect.
The sunk cost problem is often a real issue because it is extraordinarily difficult to solve and extremely easy to feel like you’re almost finished with them. The biggest problem with sunk cost is that the solution to the problem feels tantalizingly close if you only fix these issues, but this is why these problems are cursed. It’s usually a conflict of core gameplay values that cause these, and pushing to solve the incongruity usually just creates new issues that must be solved.
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