When the developer asks the customer for empathy about the increased costs of production, you know something is wrong. Because let's face it: is it my problem that developers don't know how to handle money? Do I need to jump to their aid? No, I do not. Don't push your problems onto me.
Yes, costs of living have increased, but not only for the developers themselves but for me and you as well, for all of us. And also there is the fact that the entire industry is still growing strong, so rising costs are easily offset by rising sales. The only excuse I may probably allow is inflation, everything else is hot air.
Also, many gamers nowadays are accustomed to the cliff-like decrease of game prices after the launch period and exploit that. Of course they do! It's logic. Developers could harvest much bigger revenues if they didn't drop their prices to mere fragments in such short times, but unless they still do then customers will take advantage of that.
Gameplay > Graphics
Substance > Style
Art Direction > Realism