Is the seven-year Blizzard project the most expensive of all time?
MMO and RTS developer Blizzard has reportedly spent some $100 million on development of the long-awaited StarCraft II.
That’s according to a figure cited by the Wall Street Journal as part of its interview with Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.
The figure is not attributed to any specific source, and no further details were given in the WSJ article.
The protracted development of StarCraft II began in 2003, with the project formally announced some four years later. Blizzard has also invested significant man-hours and tech in a new version of online multiplayer service Battle.net
Though Batle.net will launch with StarCraft II, it’s not known whether the $100 million development figure includes the online service costs.
When StarCraft II Was officially unveiled in 2007, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime said the firm put build quality before dev costs and man-hour investment.
He said, "We don't really have a budget; we'll spend as much time and resources as we need to make this game great.”
Kotick recently called StarCraft II one of Activision's "seven pillars of opportunity." Including expansions, over 11 million copies of the game have been sold so far.
The most ever thought to be spent on a game project was $100 million – the budget allegedly set aside for GTAIV.
Recently it was suggested, and subsequently denied, that Red Dead Redemption cost $100 million to develop.
High-profile projects routinely carry with them sizable development budgets. Polyphony Digital CEO Kazunori Yamauchi recently said that Gran Turismo 5 cost $60 million to build during its protracted development phase.
Yet Develop has recently heard from numerous industry professionals that publishers are tightening their grip on budgets – a direct consequence of the global financial fallout.
Avalanche Studio’s CEO Christofer Sundberg said that he had seen first-hand how publishers are reigning in on their budgets and costs.
“We’ve always been in the $20 million-plus budget area, but last year I saw things adjust to over $10 million,” he said.
“I think it’s a sign of the global economy and the bad times we’ve gone through.”