Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us 2 budgets debated

Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us 2 Budgets Spark Debate Among Devs

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, the budgets of Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us Part II have sparked an intense debate across the games industry. A number of developers have said that despite the profits that these games eventually made, AAA game budgets of $200 million and above aren’t sustainable.

Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us 2 were profitable, but are their budgets sustainable?

As spotted by GamesRadar, former Psychonauts 2 developer Lisette Titre-Montgomery pointed out that Sony had to fork out $220 million and employ hundreds of developers over the course of six years before clawing back a single penny, with ex-Capcom producer Shana Bryant adding that this means Sony was spending roughly $15,000 per head, or 3 million in a month.

Indie developers expressed that they were shocked by the figures and said that they could make 20 to 30 “incredible” games in one-tenth of this amount.

Bend Studio animator Robert Morrison did some quick math and said that if it takes hundreds of developers to make a game over the course of 4-5 years with an average salary of $100,000 per annum, the aforementioned budgets are understandable. In response, many questioned developer salaries, to which a Bungie dev pointed out that “almost everyone working in games is taking a pay cut.” “If we were to work in other tech fields we’d make much more,” they added.