1. Grand Theft Auto 4: $100 million: When it comes to sheer production values, sheer amount of features, the details, no game beats Grand Theft Auto 4. The scope of the production dwarfs any other game: over 1,000 people worked on the game for over 3 and a half years, doing everything from studying New York city with cameras that recorded city traffic for months.
2. Gran Turismo 5: $80 million: What’s set to become the biggest and greatest racing game in history, Gran Turismo has been in development for over 5 years now, and features over 1,000 cars, each painstakingly recreated for with extreme realism (and perfection) in mind.
3. Shenmue, $70 million: A game which held the record as most expensive game for nearly 10 years, Shenmue’s budget was unheard of at the time of its development — a $70 million budget for a SEGA Dreamcast game. Shenmue offered a vast and explorable area, a complete weather system, and so many fine details and features that games even today don’t have.
4. Too Human: $60+ million: Too Human faced many issues during its development time, chief of which was the long and expensive struggle between Epic Games and the Unreal Engine 3, where developer Silicon Knights abandoned the engine and started making their own — at a time when the game was almost complete.
5. Metal Gear Solid 4, $60 million: The biggest, pretties and most complex Metal Gear Solid game, one with hours and hours of cut scenes, amazing production values and one of the best visuals at its time, Metal Gear Solid 4 took 4 full years to make, at a price tag of $60 million, shared between Kojima Productions and Sony.
6. Halo 3, $55 million: The Halo franchise has been so successful for Bungie and Microsoft that they virtually had an unlimited budget on Halo 3, as it had to be the best and most impressive game in almost all aspects when it was released. It pretty much was, at a price of $55 million, which excludes over $200 million Microsoft spent promoting the game.
7. APB, $50 million: APB has been in development close to 5 years now, and Realtime Worlds have often stated that it’s the most expensive game they’ve ever worked on — Realtime Worlds founder Dave Jones had to raise Venture Capital, $50 million of it.
8. LA Noire: $50 million: La Noire was recently cited as “one of the most expensive games in development today”, by Tom Crago, the president of Game Developers’ Association of Australia.
9. Final Fantasy XII: $48 million: The Final Fantasy games have been known for their outstanding quality, length and sheer production value. They’ve also been known as some of the most expensive games to have ever come out from Japan, and Final Fantasy XII had a budget of a whopping $48 million, excluding any marketing costs.