Mad Money: The Most Expensive Games to Develop

Ever wonder just how much money goes into making a blockbuster interactive title? CLICKON has you covered – here are some of the most ludicrously expensive games ever made.

Cobbling together a team to produce a digital hit that will satisfy the expectations of millions of ravenous fans is no easy task. To accomplish it, you need the best of the best – and the best tend to charge a bit more than the rest.

As such, massive development and publishing powerhouses such as Activision, Electronic Arts, and Rockstar devote hundreds of millions in funding to their projects – so much so that they can even rival the GDP of small countries. Without further ado, here are the some of the most ludicrously expense hits to ever grace the digital playfield.

Grand Theft Auto V

Let’s be honest, did you even expect anything else? A top-tier story split between three main characters, a massively detailed open world packed with activities and unlockable and an MMO-like multiplayer environment that continues to be sustained until this day?

Yeah, it’s no wonder that GTAV gobbled up $265 million for its production budget. While some may scoff at the funds funneled into something seen as little more than a murder simulator, we’ll raise a dram to those creative Scots that have given us some of the best-in-class narrative in the industry for years on end.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Modern Warfare 2 had immensely big shoes to fill. With the blowout success of its predecessor, the pressure was on for Activison and Infinity Ward to hit it out of the park once again.

Following up to the game that arguably defined the FPS genre for an entire decade wasn’t going to be easy, and Activison emptied their pockets when it came to the budget. Clocking in to the tune of $200 million, all of those clams ended up netting Activision one of the most successful sequels ever produced.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Never mind that it took Bioware nearly two years before managing to life ToR into a state that its community found playable and fair, the company spared no expense in fleshing out their virtual take on the Star Wars universe.

If a budget ranging from $150 to $200 million seems a bit steep, but everything is put into perspective once you realize that no other company has managed to make a fully voice acted MMO since. Sure, voice clips are always present, but The Old Republic still takes the cake when it comes to VO and narrative.


Despite tallying nowhere near the absurd “$500 million” figured that came tumbling from Activision CEO Bobby Kotick’s mouth, Bungie’s new venture racked up a solid $140 million in budget expenses.

There’s no understating that Destiny had every intent of being a killer app for both the PS4 and Xbox One – whether it achieved that status is debatable. Perhaps Kotick bears some clairvoyant ability, as the first iteration in the Destiny series did see itself making $500 million in profits.

Max Payne 3

Finally on our list is the depressing and ultra-violent third chapter in the story of Max Payne. Clocking in at $105 million, it should be no surprise that Rockstar have found their way on this list twice.

Notching yet another mark on their belt of top-tier narratives, the Edinburgh-based developers delivered what was possibly the most satisfying and cathartic send-off to one of gaming’s most popular cult “heroes”, Max Payne.

The final romp in the saga saw a Max who’d lost everything lose everything all over again. Production quality that was through the roof coupled with a top-tier soundtrack by HEALTH resulted in one of the most engrossing and vivid glimpse into the life of a man whose expertise lies in taking lives.

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