Top 10 Most Expensive Videogames Of All Time

With Bungie’s budget for Destiny rumoured to be around the $500 mil mark we, at Twinstickgaming, got to wondering, what are the most expensive video games ever made? Now these budgets often include development and marketing costs. Some games in this top 10 are unsurprising, others you’ll be amazed at.

So here we go – the Top Ten to date.

 10. Halo 3 (2007) – $55m

halo 3

The only surprise here is that Halo 4 or one of it’s successors didn’t warrant a bigger budget but apparently Microsoft and Bungie spent around $40m on marketing alone. With the Xbox 360 coming to the forefront of mainstream entertainment, Microsoft were determined to appeal to a wider audience. The result – $300m made in the first week and Halo 3 went on to sell around 11 million copies worldwide. A sound investment if you ask me.

 9. Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008) – $60m

metal gear 4

PS3 was lacking a Metal Gear game and the fans demanded it. Hours and hours of cinematic footage might account for some of the expense as many felt they were watching a film as much as playing a game. Nevertheless Metal Gear 4 cost around 60m to make but sold a respectable 3 million copies across the globe on the first day marked a huge success for the franchise. Let’s see what MGS 5: Phantom Pain costs come 2015.

 8. Too Human (2008) – $60m

too human

Critically panned Too Human was a huge flop. This game certainly doesn’t feel like a big budget blockbuster but it was more the turbulence amongst Silicon Knights (The developer) that lead to the games downfall. Originally Nintendo had exclusivity over the studio, which only wielded two games – Eternal Darkness & Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes. But after shaking the studio off after 10 years Too Human was released exclusively on the Xbox 360. Poor sales from Too Human & X-Men Destiny and lawsuit with Epic Games led to the companies demise. You’ve gotta spend money to make money is an adage that doesn’t apply here.

shenmue7. Shenmue (1999) – $70m

The oldest title in our list is Shenmue. A ambitious and, at the time, completely original game. Shenmue was beautiful and remarkable, yet it didn’t pull in the masses. This may have been to do with the waning popularity of the Dreamcast itself, but Sega never did recoup the huge losses. With the Dreamcast and one of it’s flagship titles, Sega were pretty much out of the console selling business from this moment.

 6. Gran Turismo 5 (2010) – $80m

gran turismo 5

The hefty budget could be attributed to wages alone as staff of Polyphony Digital worked on on Gran Turismo for the best part of 5 years. Several delays, long installation times and tons of server issues did not stop this racing behemoth selling over 10 million copies. The critics and fans may have been divided on this one but it is clear Sony made their money back.

5. Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) – $100m

grand theft auto 4

Rockstar on a bad day will make tons of money. Rockstar on a good day will make tons of money. GTA IV was the first game to spend over $100m and left critics astounded. The scope and diversity mixed with Rockstar’s courting of controversy, made GTA IV a sure fire hit that reined in over 25 million sales to date.

 4. Red Dead Redemption (2010) – $100m

red dead

Another big budget title from Rockstar delved into the dry stark land of the wild west. Red Dead Redemption is personally my favourite Rockstar game to date and made the cowboy, perhaps for the first time, incredibly accessible to the gaming world. Critically acclaimed and a huge commercial success, despite 6 years in the making and a ‘nightmare’ development process (according to Dan Houser) Red Dead sold over 13 million copies worldwide.

3. Disney Infinity (2013) – $100mdisney_infinity_32

The third game to stall at the $100m mark. Disney’s gaming studio, in fairness, was in trouble. Every game developed seemed to produce a loss, but following in the footsteps of Skylanders, Disney Infinity‘s bold step into the toy-to-game market proved incredibly fruitful. With a huge back catalogue of iconic Disney characters to release, the company couldn’t fail. With Disney acquiring the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, Disney Infinity can only grow in stature.

2. Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011) – $200mstar wars

In 2011 The Old Republic was the most expensive game ever developed, although Bioware never disclosed any official figures. Budget wise it was far apart from any of it’s predecessors, about another $100m apart to be precise. With Bioware at the helm, who were also responsible for the critically acclaimed RPG Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic, what could possibly go wrong? Luckily nothing. Over 1million players subscribed to the Star Wars MMO and despite Bioware having to change to a free-to-play model it is estimated they have made $139m in additional revenues alone. The force is strong with this one.

 1. GTA V (2013) –  $265m

GTA 5 trevor

If was never in any doubt that Rockstar would claim this throne. Bungie’s Destiny may be on the horizon, but for now GTA V is the most expensive game ever made setting back Rockstar $265m. I say set back, this last all of 3 seconds as soon as the game went on sale. 25 million sales later (yes it was a long queue) GTA v racked up an unprecedented $1.5bn. I imagine this figure could be even bigger as it does take a long time to count $1.5bn.

So there you have it. These are currently the most expensive games ever made. Does anything surprise you about this list? Were you expecting to see another title in there?


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