Most Expensive Video Games Ever

The gorgeously decadent L.A. Noire hitting our screens soon and looking more like a big budget Hollywood blockbuster than most of the box-office combined.

MSN Games looks back at the budgets that broke the bank and made the news. Yes we’re talking about you Grand Theft Auto IV.

The uncover gaming’s costliest price tags – how much did these blockbusters cost to make?

Grand Theft Auto IV

Cost: $100 Million

Grand Theft Auto IV is touted as the most expensive game ever made. The evidence: Rockstar Games spent a cool $100m on this fourth instalment. At times, as many as 1000 people were purported to be working on the game and the stupendous soundtrack alone shows it…

Too Human

Cost: $60 Million

Or to give it its alternative title – Too Much Money… Too Human was originally planned as a trilogy, the remaining sequels have been cast in doubt ever since. Development reportedly cost $60m across multiple formats including Playstation, Gamecube and Xbox 360.

This is Vegas

Cost: $40 – $50 Million

So the old addage goes – what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas… And it seems Surreal Software’s long in the tooth “life sim” – This is Vegas, took this all too literally.

This is Vegas absorbed between $40 and $50m on development costs before the plug was pulled earlier this year. A lot of expenditure and yet nothing to show for it – apart from these girls, and who wouldn’t want to share a drink with this lovely pair?

Duke Nukem Forever

Cost: $20 – $30 Million

We could crack many jokes about Duke Nukem Forever but we fear they’ve all been made before. Besides, we still have a soft-spot for the foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping, space mutant-stomping, beefcake. And so didone George Broussard (boss of ill-fated 3D Realms) as he put down between $20 and $30m alone to secure the rights to the titular title. And to think, all this for a game that still isn’t finished. We sure hope he got a receipt…

L.A. Noire

Cost: $50 Million

Tom Crago, the president of Game Developers’ Association of Australia touted L.A. Noire as: “One of the most expensive games in development today.” It’s budget of $50m is certainly impressive but it’s hardly moving any mountains. However when you look at just what Rockstar have accomplished (facial expressions captured from 32 different cameras, real-time lighting and illumination) – the achievement is worth all those marked cheques.

Final Fantasy XIII

Cost: $48 Million

Square Enix remain tight-lipped over development costs for this latest entry in the series, but when you take into account that development on the game began in 2003 (a whopping 3 years before the PS3 was even released) and consider the previous entry (Final Fantasy XII) amassed a budget of $48m…Not to mention the cost of getting Leona Lewis onboard to sing a soothing little ditty as chaos reigns down and our heroes rally against the Sanctum.

Killzone 2

Cost: $45 Million

Plaudits believe the cost of taking the battle Helghan in Killzone 2 lay somewhere in the region of $45m. Proof if ever there was any that the Interplanetary Strategic Alliance put a high price on Emperor Scolar Visari’s head.

Gran Turismo 5

Cost: $60 Million

You’d need a pretty large garage to contain the 1000+ cars on offer in the latest entry in Sony’s Gran Turismo racing series. With development time amassing 5 years, creative lead Kazunori Yamauchi tallies the figure to $60m.

Halo: Reach

Cost: $55 Million

Microsoft/Bungie have never publicly revealed the cost behind Reach, but after Halo 3 rang in at $55m, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to put estimates at around the $70-80m mark. Not that that matters, as it sold very well – making in excess of $200m on launch day so any costs were soon recouped (we hope).

Half Life 2

Cost: $50 Million

Nothing short of a hefty price tag could tell a tale as epic as that of Half Life 2. With its themes of interstellar hope, freedom and love (for Dog, no less) Half Life 2 went on to rank as the number one game in most end-of-year lists.

So what was the damage? Industry folk quoted $40m at a time when the game was still incomplete, in the end it was said to be nearer $50m according to Doug Lombardi of Valve. It would seem for once we can’t pin this on the bumbling antics of a certain Gordon Freeman…

World of Warcraft

Cost: $60 Million

The most popular MMORPG ever created and World of Warcraft is the current bearer of the Guinness World Record for number of subscribers. WOW exceeded a budget of $60m over 5 years, but with numerous successful expansion packs and 12m subscribers (as of Oct 2010) it certainly isn’t strapped for cash.

Shenmue

Cost: $70 Million

We really must appreciate the scale of Shenmue’s lofty ambitions; with its vast explorable environments, hours upon hours of gameplay… heck it even had its own weather system. It’s just a shame it didn’t achieve the success its price tag justified…

Shenmue held onto the title of most expensive title in video game history for almost 10 years. When you remember this was a Dreamcast release, $70m was the kind of money we’d later see spent on established console platforms.

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Most Expensive Video Games Ever