Developing video games is an expensive endeavor. It requires a lot of resources and workforce for a particular video game to be made. It can also take years in development before it can be released to the public. But, if you’re an indie developer and you’re looking for some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we will explore the most expensive video games that were made and look into some business strategies that will help you budget and develop your own game.

Video games cost $60 in the consumer market, and for a good reason: it takes millions of dollars to produce one and years of development. So companies that make video games need to make their money back somehow, especially if it’s a high-end title. One of the most expensive games ever made is Crysis, valued at $28 million today.

Crysis

Crysis cover

Image: Crytek

Budget: $28 million

Crysis is one of the games that defined gaming. It was considered one of the most high-end games at the time and is still viewed in high regard because of its achievements in graphics. It was a game meant to test the power of graphics cards and what developers can achieve in a given amount of time.

When the first Crysis title was released, it looked ten years ahead of its time. If you play the game now, you’d think it was a title released only a couple of years ago. Back then, those who had to play this game had to get a customized gaming computer setup to work correctly.

Back then, it was rare to have such a computer. However, you can technically purchase one online nowadays, and video games are no longer as demanding. This shift in the market and making gaming computers more affordable to the public started because of Crysis, and gaming hardware hasn’t been the same since then.

As a video game developer, you should aim to disrupt the market with your video game’s strength. Video games are costly, so you must find something unique about it. Crysis stood out in the graphics category.

Your video game can excel in other aspects such as gameplay or maybe even story. This will make it a lot easier to earn money from it despite the expensive budget you might have put on it.

Dead Space

Dead Space cover

Image: Electronic Arts

Budget: $60 million

Dead Space is a title that defines the horror video game genre. Many of the tropes you’ll see in modern horror games started from this title. That’s how revolutionary this game was. However, its $60 million budget is nothing to scoff at, as it was a hail mary play from the unknown Visceral game studios at the time.

Visceral knew that they needed to make something worthwhile, or else they would dissipate into nothingness. So they pushed everything they had on the production of Dead Space, knowing well that if this game flops, their studio could easily go bankrupt. However, it didn’t flop and sold millions of copies worldwide. As an indie development studio, you should avoid doing this.

Don’t do what Visceral did. You’ll have to strategize better than that. Consider what your game can do beforehand, instead of pushing millions into a product, hoping that it will sell well.

The Witcher 3

The Witcher cover

Image: CD Projekt

Budget: $81 million

The Witcher 3 has defined a new standard for video game budgets because right after this game was developed, many triple-A titles started to pour at least $80 million into their titles. It took $81 million and three and a half years to develop this phenomenal title, and its developers knew that it was already going to be a success before even releasing it to the public.

Primarily because of the success of its previous titles. Moreover, it was already a perceived success because it was in a dominant genre at the time: RPG. People loved RPGs way back when The Witcher 3 was released.

They were willing to spend hundreds of hours playing such a game, and it didn’t matter how much the game cost or how much downloadable content they had to purchase. People were willing to spend money on such a genre. That’s something you should consider when creating a video game.

Like any other business, video games depend on the industry you are in. In this particular case, the genre. If you develop a video game in a genre that’s considered to be hot, you can quickly discern how much you can sell once it’s released.

Final Thoughts

The video game development process is expensive and takes a lot of time. However, for the developers above, it was a worthwhile gamble. By learning how they developed their respective games, you can create a successful video game of your own.

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