We all know that video games are big business, but what most people don’t know is that some of their development and advertising budgets rival the biggest Hollywood movies. We’re taking a look at the costs behind your favorite game, and ranking the top 5 most expensive video games of all time.
5. Final Fantasy VII – $145,000,000
Coming in at number 5 is Squaresoft’s hit title Final Fantasy VII. At the time, this game’s cinematics and special effects were like nothing ever seen before, and Final Fantasy VII quickly became the must-have PS1 title of the 90’s. The developers put $145 million into getting this game out of development and onto the shelves. Up until Final Fantasy VII was released, nobody had ever imagined a game’s budget running over $100 million before, but since then it’s been absolutely eclipsed by other AAA titles.
4. Star Wars: The Old Republic – $200,000,000
Developed by strategy and RPG giant Bioware in late 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic had a huge budget for a few reasons. The first is obvious, it’s a premium title based on one of the biggest franchises in history. The other reason is that it was a followup to a previous game by the developer which had huge sales and was widely regarded as one of the better Star Wars games ever made. Star Wars: The Old Republic, a subscription-based MMORPG, started off strong with over a million paying customers in the first month, although numbers have fallen steadily since then.
3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – $250,000,000
In 2009, Infinity Ward released the second game in the Modern Warfare series to huge initial sales. At the time, it took the top spot for the most expensive game ever made, with a total budget of almost one-quarter of a billion dollars. The game did go on to make money despite the huge initial investment, and Infinity Ward is still developing the series and releasing new games through popular publisher Activision. In fact, Modern Warfare 2 is usually seen as a must-play by gamers, and it remains the most popular entry in the franchise.
2. Grand Theft Auto V – $265,000,000
The fifth entry in the Grand Theft Auto series was developed by Rockstar games with a gigantic $265 million dollar total budget. It capitalized on the success of earlier entries of the controversial series and expanded the in-game world beyond what gamers had seen before. The game went on to earn over $1 billion, including $800 million in the first month alone, and is widely regarded as the best entry in the series. To date, the initial release of Grand Theft Auto V is the most successful, in terms of units sold and earnings, in video game history.
1. Destiny – $500,000,000
Topping the list of the top 5 most expensive video games of all time is 2014’s Destiny. This recent release from successful Washington-based Halo-developer Bungie. It mixes MMO elements with shooter mechanics and enjoyed a release that gamers all over the world have been looking forward to. Although it’s set to make back its half-billion dollar budget thanks to holiday sales, so far Destiny has received faint praise from critics and fans alike.