Top 10 Video Game Budgets

Ever since I took economics at a college level, I’ve always been intrigued by numbers and budgets. Combine that with gaming and hell I’m an A+ Dean’s List and Magna Cum Pluribus Anus whatever. All nonsense aside however the gaming industry has been proving its worth in the ring with the big Hollywood blockbusters. Without further ado, feat your eyes on the most expensive video games known to man.

10. Killzone 2: $45 million


Hands down one of the most anticipated PS3 exclusives, alongside Nathan Drake, Killzone 3 starts off our list with a pretty hefty budget, more than double that of Killzone 2’s original budget. The official budget is a little over $40 million but  most estimates put it at $45 million. Higher estimates put it at over 41 million Euro, which translates to $56 million USD — but this number has never been confirmed by anyone at developer Guerrilla.

9. Final Fantasy XII: $48 million


How many of you expected to see this game in the top 10 list? Nowadays with everything being made in Japan it is pretty noteworthy that one of the most expensive games to come from the country is also one of the most expensive games made in history. With a budget of $48 million Final Fantasy XII comes in at number 9 on the list of most expensive games ever made.

8. LA Noire: $50 million


La Noire was recently cited as “one of the most expensive games in development today”, by Tom Crago, the president of Game Developers’ Association of Australia. While this might have been exaggerated in order to shine some spotlight on Australia’s game developers (LA Noire is developed in Australia), it’s no secret that Rockstar has given LA Noire a massive budget, upwards of $50 million, to create a truly cinematic video game, where most of 1940s Los Angeles has been recreated and is fully explorable.

7. APB: $50 million


The number 7 spot in the list leaves a rather sour taste in our mouthes. This game has been in development for almost 5 years, and when it was released it didn’t take very long for it to fall flat on its face. Quoted as Realtime World’s most expensive game ever made, APB will definitely go down in history as one of the greatest MMO’s never played….or will it?

6. Halo 3: $55 million


Say what? It cost more to make Halo 3 than it did Reach? Well yeah, when you have a nearly unlimited budget set for yourself, and you are Micro$oft then the possibilities are endless! At a price of $55 million, which does not account for the $200 million that went into promoting the game, Halo 3 comes in a solid sixth place on our list.

5. Metal Gear Solid 4: $60 million


It would be deceitful to think that MGS 4 was not a game changer for the PS3..after all it won a plethora of awards including Game of the Year. MGS4 was the best-selling game in June 2008 selling 774,600 copies (nearly one million if the number of copies bundled with the PlayStation 3 console were included), causing PS3 sales to double over the previous month, according to the NPD Group. With a budget of $60 million, MGS 4 places fifth on our list.

4. Too Human: $60+ million


“Sometimes, game budgets, just like movie budgets, tend to go over board and the final product ends up costing a lot more than originally planned. Too Human faced many issues during its development time, chief of which was the long and expensive struggle between Epic Games and the Unreal Engine 3, where developer Silicon Knights abandoned the engine and started making their own — at a time when the game was almost complete. This added at least another $10 million to the budget, according to some sources and even now the budget is still not definite.”

3. Shenmue: $70 million


Before the turn of the millennium no one would have ever dreamed of making a game with a budget amassing millions and millions of dollars. Oh but SEGA did, and they did so living on a prayer and a dream that showing the true potentials of the Dreamcast would encourage many more developers to follow suite. Now you have to understand that up until a few years ago, this Dreamcast game was the most expensive game ever created, and it held this title for 10 years. With such a high loss to overcome the game ended up being one giant flop  and according to IGN, Shenmue would have had to be purchased twice by every single Dreamcast owner in order for SEGA to turn a profit.

2. Gran Turismo 5: $80 million


Five years in the making, over a thousand cars, flawless models, and one of the most realistic weather environments to date and features over 1,000 cars, Gran Turismo is the runner up in our list with a budget of  $80 million, making it the second most expensive game in history.

1. Grand Theft Auto 4: $100 million


In the words of Houston rapper Chamillionaire, “Ladies love it when your livin’ like a rock star, I got em screamin loud as they be screamin comin out broads daily” And that is indeed the case because with Rockstar’s unfathomable $100,000,000 budget they are truly living like rockstars. “The scope of the production dwarfs any other game: over 1,000 people worked on the game for over 3 and a half years, doing everything from studying New York city with cameras that recorded city traffic for months, to contacting over 2,000 people just to obtain the rights to the hundreds of music tracks that can be listened to in the game. Price to record a master for each track ran at around $10,000 and that excludes the license and royalty fees. There’s enough content in the game to keep the average gamer immersed for at least 100 hours. There should be, with a budget of $100 million, GTA 4 is the most expensive video game ever made.”