$15 dollars or so seems to be the average price for most indie adventure games, and also for similar adventure game projects on Kickstarter (at the lowest tier which just gets you a digital download of the game).
I think a good justification for the pricing point is to compare it to a night out at the movies. For roughly the same cost, you get a game which provides many more hours of entertainment than a film -- something with the replay value of 4 different character classes, which you can play as many times as you like. On the other hand, once you leave that cinema your money's been spent and the experience is over.
Niche games are so much cheaper than general games used to cost in the 80's and 90's, yet adventures are still notoriously expensive and time-consuming to produce. And because many of the major digital download portals now rely on moving high volumes of indie games at a fraction of their real worth, it seems to have set a consumer mentality that if it's not 99 cents (or at least very cheap), then it's a rip-off. This makes it difficult for indie developers to charge what their games are really worth and also kind of limits their ability to experiment. Because to combat the fact that many gamers are only willing to pay the lowest price, it's almost crucial now to get your game onto portals like Steam and Big Fish Games. And if you don't get accepted, you may not turn enough profit to make another game, let alone earn any compensation for your current efforts. The whole situation risks indie games becoming more stale as they try to meet the 'criteria' of the distribution platforms, for fear that being too creative or not playing it safe enough will get their game blacklisted. Generally, though, fans of the genre know the true value of these kinds of adventure games and are happy with the value for money of a $15 price tag.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I have always been under the impression that the main reason why a QFG type game takes so long to program is because of the character development aspect of the game. It makes me wonder if it is worth all the extra time effort. I understand that this might make the game more attractive to some people in the sierra gamer community, but I wonder if it really makes the game more playable to the typical gamer than let's say a straight forward adventure game like KQ.
Yeah, that aspect does take a while to get right, but it's not the main cause of delays with this particular project. We've experienced a record number of flakey contractors this time around. People coming and going, life issues popping up, and positions needing to be re-filled have all caused the project's momentum to waver at various points. But now it's steadily cruising along.
As for whether a RPG-Adventure is worth all the extra effort, I guess time will tell. I hope Mage's Initiation is successful, as we already have an entire saga of sequels designed. But it's a hybrid game genre that hasn't really been explored commercially outside of the Quest for Glory series, so it's a bit like navigating uncharted territory. I imagine with the right marketing, it could do well. Though we're trying to rely less on monotonous stat-grinding (which may turn off new players) and have stats rise in tandem with the story itself to make the RPG aspect integrate more seamlessly with the adventure stuff.