Halo 2- Metacritic Score: 95/100
Game development can be an expensive endeavor. Between the cost of producing graphics engines and gameplay systems, coding a world to feel real and engaging, and financing the sometimes insane amount of time a team of developers will put in, development budgets can quickly balloon into the hundreds of millions if developers aren’t careful. Sometimes this is for the best, allowing a groundbreaking title to make it into the hands of a world full of fans that espouse it as one of the greatest works of all time; other times, it proves to be the title and the team’s downfall, setting the bar for success so high that it has no chance of recouping its costs. With that in mind, we’ve got five of the most expensive video games ever made and how well they faired after their release.
Divisive endings aside, few could argue that Halo 2 wasn’t a juggernaut of a followup to the groundbreaking first game in the series. Introducing a slew of new weaponry to players’ arsenals, as well as the ability to dual-wield, the game cranked up the intensity of the fire fights to 11 to compliment the bombast and heightened stakes of the story. Audio and voice work were a cut above, drawing players into the world with masterful performances complimented by enthralling orchestral and operatic music. In addition to this, the game led the charge in Microsoft’s dominance of console gaming’s online multiplayer, setting the standard for what would come to be expected of later iterations. Hundreds of players flocked to what was arguably the best multiplayer shooter ever created, and many would stay long after other games tried to ape its success.
Of course, pulling this off cost Microsoft and the game’s developer Bungie a pretty penny. The game’s initial development costs have been reported to be around $20 million, while the marketing costs have been estimated to be as high as $80 million. Thankfully, the game easily recouped this within its lifetime, but the amount was still staggering and hung heavy over the game’s expectations before release.