Game Devs Share Thoughts On The Last Of Us Part II & Horizon Forbidden West $200M+ Budget
Game developers from throughout the industry have shared their thoughts on the $200M+ development budget of both The Last of Us Part II and Horizon Forbidden West.
According to a poorly-redacted declaration recently submitted by Sony Interactive Entertainment, both The Last of Us Part II and Horizon Forbidden West have a development budget of over $200 million. The former was developed by over 200 full-time employees with a budget of $220 million, while the latter had a development team comprised of 300 employees with a budget of $212 million. Various game developers from across the industry took to Twitter to offer their perspective on these gigantic budgets, including their sustainability in the long run.
Indie developers consider such a budget to be beyond their wildest expectations. Thirsty Suitors game director, Chananda Ekanayake, stated that a $200M+ development budget of a AAA game to indie scale is “wild”. He added that he would never want to borrow that much money for a game, as, according to him, it would lead to nothing but problems. Former Vlambeer developer, Rami Ismail, stated that he would need a tenth of the $200M+ budget of The Last of Us Part II and Horizon Forbidden West to fund 20 to 30 “incredible” indie games made by “super cool” developers from across the world. He added that he didn’t mean to say such AAA games shouldn’t get those kind of budgets, and he admitted that they’re great games. However, he wished some publisher would also take such risk with indie developers.
Meanwhile, former Psychonauts 2 developer, Lisette Titre-Montgomery, stated that spending a sum of $220 million on the development of a game with 200 developers spanning across a period of over 6 years before being able to make a single penny back is not a sustainable venture. To add on to this, former Capcom and Xbox producer, Shana T Bryant, mentioned that this represents a burn rate of around 15.2 thousand per head every month or 3 million per month. She added that these are pretty standard numbers for a AAA project, and that those who wonder why game developers can’t just push back a release date ought to realize that delays are an expensive undertaking.
Bungie producer, Nigel Davis, offered a different perspective on the matter. He mentioned seeing a lot of people say that game developers don’t deserve to make this much money. According to him, almost everyone working in the game industry is taking a pay cut. If they were to work in other tech fields, they’d be making much more. He added that he’s known a lot of developers who have left the game industry to work on other tech fields and are now making a lot more.