Sony Just Accidentally Revealed Some Of Their Biggest Game’s Budgets

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is ongoing, and it’s giving us some interesting new insights into both Microsoft and Sony’s business practices. In a hilariously poorly ‘redacted’ legal filing from Sony, two major PlayStation blockbusters have had their game budget, development length and team size shared publicly.

The first is Horizon Forbidden West, the PS5 entry in the series following on from Horizon Zero Dawn. The development on this game started in 2017 and ended in 2022, giving it a development time of five years. The game was made with 300 full-time employees, costing a whopping $212 million to develop. This information is followed with details on The Last of Us Part II, which took a huge 70 months to develop, almost six years, from a team of 200 employees at its peak. The game’s development cost an eye-watering $220 million from start to finish.

horizon forbidden west water
Robot dinosaurs might be big, but Sony’s development costs are enormous.

The ridiculous size of these development budgets help shed some light on Sony’s approach towards it’s first-party titles in the PS5 generation. For example, it’s clear to see now why Horizon Forbidden West received a cross-generational release, given the sheer scale of its development budget. It also becomes clearer why Sony has been investing in PC ports of their biggest hits, a move to bring in greater returns from their stunning initial investments.

Additionally, these budgets make Sony’s hesitation towards day-one releases of their first-party titles on the PlayStation Plus subscription service somewhat more understandable. Given these development costs, and the extensive time and effort of these large teams, Sony clearly wants the maximum amount possible from each title, rather than dropping them into one cheaper service and dividing up the subscription income.

What do you think of the rising costs of game development? Should Sony keep making games with such large budgets? Sound off in the comments below, and keep your eyes on GameLuster for more coverage on the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments