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VOICE OVER: Riccardo Tucci
We've come a long way since Pac-Man. For this list, we're looking at games that required a massive investment to be developed, promoted and manufactured. Our countdown includes “Disney Infinity”, “Grand Theft Auto IV”, “Marvel's Avengers”, "Halo 2", “Cyberpunk 2077”, and more!

#20: “Red Dead Redemption” (2010)

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This open world Western is a game that was absolutely worth the hefty price tag. Selling around 15 million copies, Rockstar comfortably recouped their estimated $80-100 million budget and created one of the best games ever in the process. They used every second of the five-year development cycle to craft a beautifully diverse world full of fascinating characters and plenty of Wild West machismo, which would only be topped by it’s sequel almost a decade later.

#19: “Genshin Impact” (2020)

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When this game was first revealed back in 2019, it suffered a lot of backlash due to its various similarities with the “Breath of the wild'', and with an incredibly high budget of $100 million, it was going to need to do something big to break out of that bad stigma. Luckily for the developers at miHoYo, “Genshin Impact” has been an astronomical success, with its gacha system grossing over $1 billion by the end of March 2021. This has made it one of the highest grossing mobile games of all time, and it has shown no sign of slowing down.

#18: “Tomb Raider” (2013)

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Square Enix had an ambitious list of targets for their $100 million reboot of gaming’s favorite British adventurer: sell 6 million units in a month, be profitable in the same period and achieve hugely positive critical reaction – no pressure for developers Crystal Dynamics then. Praise was heaped upon its graphical detail and narrative depth from the outset, but it took a while before their other criteria were satisfied. Selling 3.4 million copies in a month was impressive, but it took eight months after release for them to finally reach profitability. Lara’s new, untested look eventually led to sales of 11 million, the best ever for an IP that many thought was best left in the annals of gaming history.

#17: “Disney Infinity” (2013)

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Containing the potential to crossover Disney, Marvel and Star Wars properties, a $100 million investment in this toys-to-life title seemed like a venture destined to succeed. Early on things were going swimmingly: reviews were positive, $500 million revenue had been made and it was overwhelmingly outselling its main competitor, Skylanders. Two sequels later, the series was cancelled in a hot mess of corporate interference and gross overestimation of what they could sell. Astonishingly, it was still top of its genre at the time of cancellation, leading many to theorize that the budget for the sequels must have been even more extortionate than the first game.

#16: “Deadpool” (2013)

This $100 million beat em’ up featuring the Merc with a Mouth lacked the type of gameplay you might expect from such an expensive title. Wade Wilson’s typically vulgar, fourth wall-breaking humor was abundant however, even poking fun at the developers and the shortcomings of the game. As much as Deadpool mocks gaming clichés, it doesn’t hide the fact that many of those same tropes are present in almost every lifeless level. This all stemmed from a notably tumultuous existence: High Moon Studios employees were fired during development and the game was pulled from online services after release, perhaps Deadpool really was in charge all along.

#15: “Battlefield 4” (2013)

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Released during the “Call of Duty” franchise's heyday, this iteration of the “Battlefield” franchise was going to need a lot of money in order to compete. With a budget of around $100 million, the game was praised for it’s fantastic multiplayer mode. Sadly its high budget wasn’t enough to beat its long time rival, with only 7 million copies sold compared to “Call of Duty: Ghost’s” absolutely insane 19 million.

#14: “Max Payne 3” (2012)

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There was considerable pressure on Rockstar to deliver a game that would not only live up to Remedy’s previous two third-person shooters but also be a commercial success. By pumping $105 million into the project that was meant to be released way back in 2009, they ensured the series carried on in it’s exceptionally dark tone but left themselves needing to sell 4 million copies just to break even. While an aggressive marketing strategy eventually allowed them to hit that mark, Rockstar greatly overestimated the game’s sales projections, resulting in a lot of unsold copies of the game ending up in bargain bins everywhere.

#13: “APB: All Points Bulletin” (2010)

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Early trailers had this game from UK developers Realtime Worlds looking like a GTA-esque MMO, the end product, however, barely fulfilled 10% of that promise. Key shooting and driving mechanics were blatantly unfinished, leaving players bemused as to where the $105 million budget had gone. They got their answer when, with barely anyone playing their game, Realtime closed shop two months after APB’s release, allowing unpaid ex-staff the freedom to reveal all. They say the enormous budget made key executives complacent, resulting in a lack of direction during a meandering five-year development cycle the fledgling company was ill equipped to cope with.

#12: “Grand Theft Auto IV” (2008)

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If you’re wondering how Liberty City came to look like a detail-perfect imagination of New York City, look no further than Rockstar’s immensely in-depth, $100 million plus production cycle. Researchers based in the Big Apple analyzed the demographics of various neighborhoods and even studied weather patterns to provide minute features that immerse you in the enormous cityscape. Those efforts, in combination with delays and having to pay a 150-strong team, made it the most expensive game ever at the time, an investment Rockstar would immediately recoup by earning $310 million in just one day. Apart from the inevitable criticisms of violent content, barely a negative comment has been recorded about a game that defined the open-world market.

#11: “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” (2018)

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For the final entry in Lara Croft’s origin trilogy, Eidos-Montréal and Square Enix needed to pull out all of the stops, resulting in an even greater budget than the first game. Estimated at around $110 to $135 million, the game initially suffered from much slower sales compared to its predecessors. Despite this, the game received positive reviews and would go on to ship a healthy four million copies worldwide.

#10: “Final Fantasy VII” (1997)

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The legacy left by this legendary title is still felt by contemporary gamers but it didn’t come cheap: around $45 million went on development and $100 million was allocated for marketing an RPG that was one of the first to convincingly penetrate the North American market. Square’s move to 3D and the elevation of production values was lapped up around the world as 2.3 million copies were sold in just three days. Surprisingly for a game regularly labeled as the best ever, the developers were forced to leave out several planned elements to meet a tight release date. Those exclusions apparently made no difference to fans and it went on to sell 12.8 million units.

#9: “Dead Space 2” (2011)

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Despite being critically acclaimed, the original “Dead Space” was a modest success, selling around one million copies worldwide. So it’s incredibly surprising that its follow up is one of the most expensive video games of all time, with a sizable $120 million dollar budget. “Dead Space 2” would ship around two million copies in its first week, and although it initially had strong sales, Electronic Arts would consider the game financially disappointing. Sadly its developer Visceral Games would shut down in 2017, following even more poor sales for “Dead Space 3”.

#8: “Destiny” (2014)

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Being the creators of one of the most successful video game franchises on the planet, it’s absolutely no surprise that Activision pumped as much money as possible into Bungie's first ever game since moving on from Halo. With an estimated total cost of around 140 million, Destiny desperately needed to be a success. Luckily for them it sold over $325 million in the first five days, making it the most successful brand new franchise launch of all time. Not bad for a game that received polarizing reviews at launch!

#7: “Marvel's Avengers” (2020)

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Considering its movie counterparts are some of the highest grossing films of all time, it’s no surprise to anyone that this video game adaption of Marvel Comics’ premier team came with a hefty budget. With a price tag of $170 million and counting, Square Enix fully intends to keep adding more and more money to this live service game. Even with all this money being pumped into it, the game has still yet to turn in a profit, and coupled with a less than stellar reception, things are looking pretty bleak for earth's mightiest heroes.

#6: “Halo 2” (2004)

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Bungie struck gold with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” and with an estimated five million copies sold, Microsoft knew they had a hit on their hands. For the incredibly anticipated sequel, the game received a sizable $120 million dollar budget, making it the most expensive video game ever at the time. Luckily this gamble paid off as not only is it considered one of the greatest video games of all time, but it sold at least 6.3 million copies, making it the best selling game on the original Xbox console.

#5: “Star Wars: The Old Republic” (2011)

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BioWare had already proved they could handle one of the greatest media properties ever when they released the Knights of the Old Republic in 2003 and so were trusted with $200 million of EA investment for this subscription-based MMORPG. They created a game of immense scale and depth – it contained 1,600 hours of story content - yet still faced some criticism for getting muddled between an MMORPG and a Mass Effect-style experience. Although it required the move to a free-to-play model to reinvigorate interest in the game, it has been regularly expanded and in 2014 was still earning $165 million a year.

#4: “Grand Theft Auto V” (2013)

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This open-world title offers limitless possibilities – especially if you’re running a mod or two – and so was inevitably going to leave a sizable hole in Rockstar’s pockets. With a reported cost of $265 million, it dwarfed the $100 million budget of its older sibling and similarly obliterated it in pretty much every statistic you can think of. Benefiting from releases over two generations of consoles, 145 million copies have been shipped and although free DLC likely eats into their $2 billion revenue, the online mode is a constant money making machine. Its numbers are often compared to that of Hollywood’s biggest projects and rightly so, its carnage frequently outdoes a blockbuster hit.

#3: “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” (2009)

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Following the first Modern Warfare title selling 17 million copies, Activision could happily throw money at the sequel without worry of it ever being a failure. The development costs were relatively modest at just $40-50 million but they put a staggering $200 million into marketing this FPS titan around the world. Featuring a refined, almost flawless online multiplayer and new spec ops mode, five million copies were sold in a day and it went past $1 billion in sales in just a few months. The series has grown tired since this juggernaut’s success but where can it really go when near perfection has already been achieved?

#2: “Cyberpunk 2077” (2020)

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The hype was immense for this hotly anticipated CD Projekt Red title and equally so was its budget. With a cost of $316 million and a lengthy development time, many were expecting perfection. When it came to release, despite having a good reception, the game was absolutely riddled with game breaking bugs and glitches. None of this would matter though as the game would go on to sell over 13 million copies worldwide by the end of the year.

#1: “Red Dead Redemption 2” (2018)

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Rockstar needed to go all out in order to not only top the original “Red Dead Redemption” but also follow up from their most successful game of all time “Grand Theft Auto V”. This resulted in “Red Dead Redemption 2” getting the highest budget a game has ever recieved with an estimated cost being around $370 to $540 million. This all paid off greatly for the developer as not only did the title receive multiple game of the year awards but it shipped an estimated 37 million copies. One can only imagine how much a potential “Grand Theft Auto 6” will cost!

MWIII is 1 billion. We got a new #1
Yall never heard of star citizen? 590 million dollars until now and its like halfway complete. Thats more than the top 3 combined btw
who asked
Yall it should be your mom cause that game is pricless
roblox is more of a game engine with crazy limitations
+ 7 comment(s)