The cost of developing AAA games continues to balloon at a rapid rate, with most major games being released now costing upwards of $100 million at the very least, and at tims even more. Two fairly recent major releases by Sony, in fact, cost more than twice as much.
The information comes, funnily enough, by a poorly redacted document submitted by Sony as part of the ongoing Microsoft vs FTC trial. Though parts of the text in the document are blanked out, the redacted text is still visible and readable. You can view it below (via journalist Tom Warren on Twitter).
As per the document, Horizon Forbidden West, which launched in 2022, had a development budget of $212 million. Its development lasted five years, running from 2017 to 2022, with Guerrilla employing over 300 full-time employees at peak headcount. Meanwhile, the development of 2020’s The Last of Us Part 2, which ran from 2014 to 2020, cost over $220 million, with Naughty Dog employing over 200 full-time employees at the peak of production.
The document also seems to indicate that these costs were related to production only, and did not include expenditure on things such as marketing.
Back in 2021, former Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden – who left Sony in 2019 – said that where all major AAA PS4 exclusives had had development costs of over $100 million, those costs would likely be twice as much for PS5 titles. Read more on that through here.