Development Cost for Gears of War 2 Revealed

Tim Sweeney revealed the budget and manpower it took to develop Gears of War 2 for the Xbox 360.

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TrevorPhillips3404d ago

that's not bad imagine how much gears of war 3 will cost to make.

SpaceSquirrel3404d ago (Edited 3404d ago )

Probably not that much if it is for the 360 again and they use the same engine.

Chris3993403d ago (Edited 3403d ago )

That's not too bad at all. Interesting number as the stigma attached with HD gaming is that it has crazy development costs and can bankrupt studios.

Glad to see that there are some examples that HD development isn't the financial risk it once was. I honestly think that the studios that went under - the "Lair" division of Factor Five, the Pure developer GRIN, etc. - did so because they made crappy, unprofitable games.

A couple of weeks prior, I had a rather extensive argument with some Nintendo fanatics on N4G regarding this issue. They remained bullish about the fact that ALL HD games bankrupted studios and were financially risky compared to software made on the Wii. I cited numerous examples, and even stated that the proliferant use of the Unreal Engine had it's benefits including - as we can see here - lower development costs.

But some people just never learn. Good to see this information brought to the table. I'm not saying that suddenly every HD game can be made at bargain-basement prices, but it's nice to see that some AAA stuff can be created within a reasonable budget.

Sarcasm3403d ago

Dang only $12 mil? Doesn't look like a $12mil game, more like $20mil.

I have to give credit where it's due.

Sarcasm3403d ago


Game budget is an interesting thing.

If a game is under-budgeted, it can be at risk of being craptastic.


Even if a game has a $50million+ budget, doesn't always mean it's going to be good either.

I think it boils down to the creativity and diligence of the developer's director and producer. They are the ones who need to keep everything and make sure the overall product comes together.

That's why guys like Kojima and Yamauchi are highly respected.

commodore643403d ago

$12 million
15 programmers
12 artists

That's the ease of developing on 360.

Anyone care to take a stab at how much the same game would have cost on ps3?

rockleex3403d ago

On your first few HD console games, especially if you build your own engine from the ground up.

Once you got your engine laid out for your first game, you'll only be spending money to create new content for the sequels and to upgrade the engine a little bit.

If your engine is versatile, you could even use it for all your different IPs. No need to waste a ton of money just to make new or different kind of games.

By the way, development costs on PS3 "seems" to be higher than other platforms because most PS3 exclusive developers build their own engines from the ground up. Why? Because they want to take advantage of the PS3's unique architecture to the best of their abilities.

While many of the games on 360 use middleware engines such as Unreal.

gaffyh3403d ago

If you think about this carefully, you'll understand why the development cost was so low. The engine was already developed, the character models were already made, the textures were already made.

This is why everyone complained that Gears 2 was more like Gears 1.5, because it didn't represent a huge leap in quality. And that was a correct conclusion obviously, because Gears 1 was by far the better game.

Ratchet_Co3403d ago

The article made no mention of PS3 development costs, so grow up please.

Anyway I think it's interesting to see how Gears of War 2 only took $12 million. There must have been a huge amount of profit because it's such a high profile game.

Martini3403d ago

There is an error in this article, according to the PDF files there was 15 programmers and 45 artists. involved. http://graphics.cs.williams...

Also interesting page from the article:

Lessons learned:Today’s hardware is too hard!

If it costs X (time, money, pain) to develop an efficient single-threaded algorithm, then…

Multithreaded version costs 2X

PlayStation 3 Cell version costs 5X

Current “GPGPU” version is costs: 10Xor more

Over 2Xis uneconomical for most software companies!

This is an argument against:

Hardware that requires difficult programming techniques

Non-unified memory architectures

Limited “GPGPU” programming models

Fiyah3k3403d ago

12 mill to make, at least 200 mill off profit but still no dedicated servers....fvcks going on. The campaigns are grade A in both but the online aspect is mostly utilized by consumers so quit raping & cater, Epic!!!

randomwiz3403d ago

yea... its not much cause they used the same engine... imagine how much gears 1 was.

thewhoopimen3403d ago

hahah only you would think like that. 8 bit thinking. how about reuse of practically every graphical asset from the first game, sound, animation,engine, with very few "real" improvements like lighting.

To me the $12 mill budget represents why not too many people in the biz believe this was a "HUGE" graphical upgrade that Epic kept selling to gamers. Cuz it wasn't.

HammockGames3403d ago

With any game, the cost depends on how the developers approach it. And this article really doesn't speak to the state of PS3 dev costs.

With Gears, the engine has been developed for some time and tweaked, which obviously saves money front. Other devs that employ the Unreal engine (and know how to use it) can also save on costs.

At launch, the PS3 didn't really have any middleware engine made for sharing. But this has been changing, and studios that have become adept at PS3 programming have been sharing their tech (e.g. Insomniac) to help others become more proficient.

Other devs, like Capcom, have simply refined their engine to make it a better fit for the PS3 (e.g. Lost Planet 2).

With these types of changes, PS3 costs should be more manageable as well and only continue to improve with time.

masterg3403d ago

So they just needed a $3 profit per game to make $3 million. Damn!

Anon19743403d ago

Every post has to be an anti-Sony slight in some way. Please. Gamers are trying to have a discussion here.

Developers have already weighed in on this. Cost to develop on the 360 and PS3 are very similar, and both costs are tremendous when compared to developing on the Wii, but games on the Wii are a risky business due to buying habits of Wii owners.

Gears 2 was an excellent game and a great followup to an excellent game and personally I can't wait for Gears 3. Don't cheapen the developers accomplishment by making this another ridiculous, console wars thread.

GameGambits3403d ago

This is exactly what I've been saying since Gears 2 got announced back last year. I knew the game was going to make insane amounts of dollars and yet being the lazy developer or greedy or whatever that EPIC is they won't give us dedicated servers.

Either Cliffy B is super ignorant or super lazy or both, because he flat out said in an interview that their Host peer to peer was going to be amazing and there was NO point in dedicated servers.

People 50 bucks a year for Xbox Live and they expect us to play this broken online mess when I can play Resistance 2 or Killzone 2 for FREE with NO lag.

I sold my copy of Gears 2 1 month after having it, but I had played Gears1 for about 7 months straight NON STOP day in and day out. I didn't suck at Gears 2 either for the month I played. I managed to get to the top 500 in 3 different game types, but when everytime I played it I was screaming at the TV or into my headset the words, "Bull sh*t," due to the inane amounts of ridiculous crap that happens in Gears 2 I just had to let it go.

With all the patches and problems Gears 2 had about 80% of it all could have been fixed with dedicated servers. This is greed and/or stupidity at its finest.

HammockGames3403d ago

I thought Gears 1 and 2 were great games, too, and I still pop them in my 360 on a regular basis. I really don't give much thought as to their budget or profits. But...

...with all this money EPIC has been raking in (and lets not forget the DLC portion that's made them tons more), for the life of me I can't get over the lack of dedicated servers. The lag can drain all the fun out of online matches.

I love Xbox live, except for this. The PSN gets railed for not being up to par with Xbox Live, but I would contend the lack of dedicated servers can be a huge strike against Live - especially with a game like this. I don't get any lag at all playing Resistance 1 or 2, Killzone, and the list goes on. So why the hell can't they fix this for Gears?!

That's the one change I want to see made for Gears 3. Whether EPIC or Microsoft takes the initiative, I don't really care. Just fix it!!!

Alvadr3403d ago

I wonder how much Nintendo has made off Wii Play

da720izcumin3403d ago

they've already said gears 1 cost them 10 million to make.
don't forget that they developed the engine themselves, so it would be just another internal project, that happened to have sold over 6+ million.

kickaski3403d ago

it's interesting how almost none of you were reading videogame news two-and-a-half years ago

menoyou3403d ago

of course it costed so little, its a rehash. they even reused some of the levels. didnt upgrade anything at all.

commodore643402d ago

Wow. How sad.

Nowhere in my post did i mention ANYTHING AT ALL negative about the ps3!
I merely asked other users to take a stab at the ps3 cost.

True gamers might have noticed that the unreal engine is also available for the PS3, thus making it a very fair question.

I think it just goes to show that any comment that is remotely ambiguous or may be misconstrued to be anti-ps3 is immediately damage controlled by the hardcore Sony fanbase!

There seems to be a lot of ps3-protection going on amongst all these 'gamers'...

HammockGames3402d ago (Edited 3402d ago )

"$12 million
15 programmers
12 artists

That's the ease of developing on 360.

Anyone care to take a stab at how much the same game would have cost on ps3?"

***************************** ********************

So let me get this straight. You open up the door for a discussion of PS3 development costs with what could be construed as a thinly veiled anti-PS3 sentiment (while boasting about the 360). Then you get irked when people actually speak to point(s) that you yourself brought up? I would suggest you stop posting potentially provocative and/or ambiguous comments if you don't like the responses you may receive. Drop the "higher than thou" attitude.

It would look to many as if you were playing the "PS3 costs way more to develop for" card, even though we all know that's really not the case. Read the last 2 lines of your comment and ask yourself how most would interpret that (objectively).

But don't attack everyone else because you posted essentially an open ended invitation to discuss costs/development in general. Pretty much all the comments subsequent to yours mentioned valid points (which you still haven't addressed).

And yes, the Unreal engine is employed on the PS3 and quite effectively so when in the right hands. So it's likely that costs for sequels on that engine should be relatively cheaper as well (e.g. if Unreal Tournament 4 were to come out).

Dollar figure-wise, I'm not sure how much Epic invested in UT3 on the PS3. You?

+ Show (20) more repliesLast reply 3402d ago
kaveti66163403d ago

Wow. WTF. They made back their cash so quickly. Gears 2 sold 5 million copies worldwide. So lets say an even 45 bucks per unit (because the price has dropped to 35) and that adds up to 225 million dollars. The profits for that game are unbelievable. If they increase the budget for Gears of War 3 I think the game will truly be EPIC.

randomwiz3403d ago

Its funny, developers don't really get the full $60 per game

interesting article here:

basically, it says retailers make 20% of what that game costs ~ $12
$10~$12 royalties

developer makes ~$34 on a new $60 game

chaosatom3403d ago

So around 100 million, but that's still a lot of dough.

II Necroplasm II3403d ago (Edited 3403d ago )

That is why the Unreal Engine is used so much. Most power for less money.

PS3is4D3403d ago

I'm pretty impressed. When I completed Gears of War 2, I thought it had a $25 million dollar budget. I can only imagine what Gears of War 3 would look like if Epic had the same $40 million dollar budget that Guerilla Games had for Killzone 2.

Disccordia3403d ago

Don't forget though.. if you add the money it's taken Epic to develop the Unreal Engine over the course of 15 years or so, it's not going to look so favourably against that $40m budget that KZ2 had.


@ Luna Valhalla

ya but remember they licence the engine to other devs. infact its prob the most used engine this gen so they have prob made back their development costs from the licences alone.

then there is all the profit from gears one that may have offset the development costs as well.

rockleex3403d ago

Having to use that money to build the engine from the ground up for Killzone 2.

Unreal Engine 3's budget is not a part of the Gears of War 2 budget.

LazyDevs3403d ago

15 years.....haha that is so funny. How do you figure it took 15 years? Unreal engine 2 was created in 2001 then Unreal engine 3 came out when? And how do you get 15 years from that? You do know that Epic has made PC games from the original Unreal engine in 1998. Plus GG spent over 50 mill for the Killzone 2 game, thats funny we could get 4 Gears of War games for the price of Killzone 2. And people wonder why people are jumping ship and making PS3 exclusives multiplatform.

mastiffchild3403d ago

I'd be more interested in seeing what the cost of the first gears game was where they had to create the characters, textures etc as there wasn't a big leap forwards with Gears2 and they reused a lot of the stif from the first game-not that there's anything wrong in that and both games were very enjoyable. Also they really raced through dev with number two which helped keep costs down AND was the reason they prolly didn't push the series more way from the first game too.

GG and KZ2 iosn't a fair comparison either considering the R&D they did while having to make a complete engine(while Epic had UE3 already going)for eberything so maybe comparing costs for KZ3 and Gears1 would be fairer, or U2 and Gears1, no? I say this as I heard the cost of Motorstorm2 was lower than the first game out at launch for PS3--I think costs are now going to level off for a while as we've now got enginges for every machine up and running and unless the engines are redone costs should remain fairly static or go down as people learn to code more efficiently for the current gen consoles.

randomwiz3403d ago (Edited 3403d ago )

like others have said, a majority of Killzone 2's development cost was the engine.

Gears of War 2 is about 250,000 lines of C++ code
Unreal Engine is about 2,000,000 lines of C++ code

You can imagine how much time and effort it costs to make an engine

raztad3403d ago (Edited 3403d ago )


You are honoring your nickname, arent you? You easily could avoid embarrass yourself with that comment READING rockleex's post just BEFORE yours.


Gears2 is Gears 1.2 with semi-broken online and Horde mode.

If you look at the staff is mostly artists (45). That makes sense, new maps, some new textures textures and new story. Quick cashin. Amazingly good for Epic. Its a shame for gamers though.

Example of how a next iteration should be UC1 ---> UC2. I can pay full price for that. I dont want rehashes with little to none improvements.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 3403d ago
Troll-Killer3403d ago

....and they made their $$ back in just a few hours. :D

caRnAGEconcept3403d ago

Now I am not stating this with any amount of certainty whatsoever.. But my guess would be that Gears' (suprisingly) low budget cost was a result of the developing company not having to pay royalties or a licensing fee (which is expensive.. very) for a proprietary game engine, because epic themselves have been making the unreal engine for he better party of ten years now..

As a result of this.. I would imagine it's cheaper to produce by at least SOMEthing. Not to mention; I would stake my middle testicle on the fact that nobody is better at "cheap, in house, cost-effective optimization" of the Unreal 3 engine beyond the talent and knowledge of epic themselves..

Again, I do not know this for certain.. but it makes sense.

Chris3993403d ago (Edited 3403d ago )

The actual price is sealed, via contractual obligations, and they probably charge more towards major players - EA, Sega, etc..

So it's expensive, but it's not crazy expensive when you're looking at developing an HD game. That said, Epic would save a bit on development time, as I'm certain they are the most familiar with their own technology.

mastiffchild3403d ago

Surely the bigger players you list would actually pay less for the use of middleware as they'll be the ones using it most and in most transactions you do best buying in any kind of bulk(i.e the number of times/the number of something you buy at once the unit price gets cheaper, no?)and surely EA, for example, could do a four game or whatever deal for the middleware.

IDK but it struck me as odd you'd think the big guys would pay more when in other fields it's never the case. Obviously if you know something I don't then fair play.

Chris3993403d ago

Yes, the major players likely pay less for the license, as they're using it in bulk.