It should come as no surprise that video games are expensive to produce. There’s hundreds of people, thousands of hours and millions of dollars to create the massive AAA games that we lose ourselves in. And, in the end, all they can hope is that their investment is worth it. In most cases, it is.The numbers you see here are based on estimates that developers and publishers have released, so give ’em a grain of salt. Still though, that’s a lot of cheddar being thrown around on our favourite pastime.
Today, we don’t blink an eye at this number, but in 1999, it was astronomical.
Sony Computer Entertainment
Gran Turismo 5
This might not be everyone’s favourite instalment of the game, but it was still the best-selling PS3 exclusive of all time.
Gears Of War: Judgement
This was the last Gears game to be released on the Xbox 360, and it pushed the limits of what was possible on the old console. It was a fitting farewell.
Creating a MMORPG from scratch that’s not WoW of Final Fantasy XI is a hard task, but these guys did it. Rift’s publisher ended up making their initial development costs back within a year, and their servers are still up and running, 8+ years later.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Ubisoft spent serious cash on making this a contender on the level of Call of Duty. It didn’t quite make it, but it’s still a fantastic game.
When the first game came out, it really was ahead of the times graphically. This sequel had serious cash infused into it, but we’ve yet to see another instalment in the franchise.
Enter The Matrix
This game is notorious for being both a huge success, but also a mind-numbingly buggy and unfinished-feeling game.
This game had the largest launch of a new title at the time, and mixed open-world roaming in Chicago, with some stealthy hacking. It was definitely worth the money.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
There was a lot riding on this game, so EA threw a lot of money into it. It wasn’t the best investment.
This one is a controversial game. Development started in 2008 for the OG Playstation, then moved to the GameCube. Finally, it was released on the Xbox 360. Ultimately, there was a lawsuit between between the developer and Epic Games, and the game had to be pulled and destroyed.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
This was the game that broke the relationship between Hideo Kojima and Konami. He wanted to build the best game ever, and the didn’t want to spend the money. Konami got the last laugh, though.
This game was a tie-in with the tv show of the same name, but both the show and the game didn’t really go far. All that money, and the servers ended up being shut down a few years later.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
This franchise went from an imperfect RPG, to a legitimate Game of the Year by the second instalment. Which is why expectations were high for this third entry.
Red Dead Redemption
This game was expertly crafted and densely plotted, and that doesn’t come cheap. This game was worth every penny, and I can’t wait to find out what part 2 cost (Rockstar is pretty quiet on that figure right now).
If you love war-themed FPS, you fall into one of two camps: Call of Duty or Battlefield. This was one of the better instalments of the game.
Tomb Raider (2013)
Fun fact; the original franchise was incredibly cost-effective to produce and used the same engine for several instalments. Now, it’s a high-budget blockbuster franchise.
APB: All Points Bulletin
This one came from one of the creative directors of the original GTA franchise, and he poured a lot of money into it. Except it was an online-only game and no one bought it.
This game was released before all the Ryan Reynolds hype. It was a faithful adaptation, but the gameplay was sub par.A lot of the production money actually went towards marketing the game.
Grand Theft Auto IV
This one was pretty pricey for one simple reason; they had to rebuild the whole engine from scratch for the jump to Xbox 360 and PS3.
Max Payne 3
When Rockstar went to revitalize this franchise, they poured a lot of money into retaining the core elements of the series, but also adding in more scope and detail. It shows.
Sony Computer Entertainment
Final Fantasy VII
When this game was dropping, the excitement was insane. It was the first entry released on CD-ROM, and was insanely cinematic and groundbreaking. This game was also the first that was heavily promoted on prime-time tv.
While the first game helped the Xbox gain a foothold in the market, the second blew everything out the water. It was the one of the biggest entertainment launches of all time.
What made this game unique, was that it was a brand new IP, with no online multiplayer components when it hit the market. EA bet big on it, and won.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
This was the first game in the franchise that didn’t need to keep a last-ten console port in mind, so loads of money was spent. But, like most third entry’s in Lara Croft’s story, this game was decent. Not fantastic, not amazing, just decent.
After spending a decade working on Halo, Bungie wanted to try something different. Their persistent online shooter is now a monster.
Cloud Imperium Games
This is the most expensive crowdfunded game that has yet to get cancelled or fall apart. It’s accumulated $250 million in crowdfunding, with $181 million used so far. And it hasn’t even launched yet.
Knights of the Old Republic
In the early-2000’s, Star Wars was in a weird place. The prequels had just come out, so people were a bit mixed on the franchise.This game revitalized our faith in the expanded universe, and is still a favourite of Star Wars gamers.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty’s been around since 2003, but it didn’t really take off until the Modern Warfare spinoffs. This game pulled out all the stops and became of the best FPS’s of the past decade.
Grand Theft Auto V
Given that this game has raked in over $6 Billion, what Rockstar spent on it is merely peanuts.And worth every penny.