First on our list is Dead Space 2, which cost $60 million or $68.49 million when accounting for inflation. Developed by Visceral Games and published by EA Games, this video game had high expectations following the success of the first installment of Dead Space.
However, the sales performance of Dead Space 2 fell short for many reasons. Several members of Visceral Games revealed that most of the funding went toward marketing, instead of the development itself.
Next is Crysis 3, another part of a franchise. Like Dead Space 2, Crysis 3 follows a successful predecessor, which gives it big shoes to fill. However, compared to the first Crysis, which cost $20 million back in 2007, the third game cost triple that amount ($72.74 million today).
Crytek developers attributed these high costs to the need to develop versions of the game that are compatible with different consoles (PlayStation 3 and Xbox) and for personal computers. Crysis 3 is considered a visually stunning game.
Developed by Ubisoft, War Dogs is considered the counterpart of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise. The game format popularized by the GTA series has become so successful that other companies such as Ubisoft developed their own take on the gameplay.
Pouring $68 million into the game, the development company created an in-game version of Chicago that is as close to the real city as possible. For gamers, this gave Watch Dogs an edge over GTA as it is set in a real-life city instead of a fictional one.
In order to reach gamers around the world, this game underwent a lot of issues between creator and writer Hideo Kohima and Konami, the company that developed Metal Gear Solid V. Kojima had worked with Konami for more than 30 years.
Costing around $80 million, the budget for The Phantom Pain seems to be the reason why the two parties split up. However, this latest entry is acknowledged by gamers as an excellently written and visualized game.
Developed by Trion Worlds, Defiance is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO). This shooter game is tied in with a television series of the same name on the SyFy channel. With the huge budget for both TV and games, the creators expected a significant return.
However, the series turned out to be a minor hit in light of many other shows being released at the time. As the show failed to encourage more players to the game, the company chose to make Defiance free-to-play.
The fifth on our list is another part of a franchise, Battlefield 4. Widely criticized by gamers for being released before it was ready to be played, the development cost of this game is around $100 million leading to highly innovative gameplay and visuals.
The reason for the high cost and the point of criticism is that EA Games, the development and distribution company, “pushed the boundaries” of innovation for this game. However, these new features were only available for testing toward the end of the development.
Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 follows with a budget of $105 million. Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, the third installment follows its successful predecessors. The developers had ample time to make the game, hyping it to fans and gamers.
Moreover, the big-budget for the game was seen as an advantage for the game in terms of promotion. However, while the first two releases performed excellently, the third entry underperformed and failed to turn up impressive sales in its first months.
Lara Croft comes in at number 3 with an estimated budget of $125 million. The relatively new Shadow of the Tomb Raider is part of the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. The first game in the reboot was released in 2013, followed by a second game.
Shadow came after the underwhelming performance of the first two games game. However, the developers were optimistic as it is the last of the trilogy, making it a significant entry for fans and followers of the reboot.
Having a following since the first game, Rockstar’s GTAV is known for its open-world gameplay, combined with a lot of room for experimentation. Despite some delays in its release, the game was thoroughly hyped by fans and company marketing.
With a development budget of $137.5 million, GTAV was expected to be the most expensive game to be released ever. In spite of not taking the title of being the most expensive, the fifth GTA game is considered a commercial success.
Now we go to the most expensive game ever developed, Star Wars: The Old Republic. BioWare announced the start of its development back in 2008. During this time, the Star Wars prequels were fairly recent, making it fresh in the minds of audiences.
Because of this, the video game was highly anticipated by fans of the game and the movies. It was created with a whopping $200 million, making it the most expensive game ever developed. And this does not include promotional costs!
With the amount of money sunk into these titles and how much they can earn, we can definitely say that while the development industry is a creative sector, it is definitely part of a business. The continuous development of new consoles, including the anticipated PlayStation 5, shows that the industry’s success is not stopping anytime soon.
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