When our favorite video game developers announce a future release, we get amped. We wait in anticipation for a game that’s going to take up hours, if not weeks, of our time. But have you ever considered what goes into the making of these games? In some cases, people have not. But even if you did, doesn’t it make the gaming experience even better? Take desktop bingo; when it first launched in 1996, no one thought it would become what it is today. And that’s because it was developed over time. Let’s look at how long it takes to develop a video game.
How long does it take to develop triple-A games?
What are triple-A games? These are games from major developers who have massive budgets, not only for development but marketing too. You must keep in mind the type of game that’s being developed as well; this determines the time it takes for full development. On average, video game development can take anything from three to five years.
Then there are mobile games. These take a few months to develop. While keeping this in mind, have a look at some of the major triple-A games announced for 2023. Big-budget games such as Call of Duty or Apex Legends are the triple-A games we are speaking about. These are the ones that usually take around three to five years to develop. These big-budget game developers take their time to craft video games that are going to appeal to you, the gamer. From the concept all the way to testing and eventually launching, it’s a lot of work.
While it takes about five years to develop a new game, video games with yearly releases, such as Apex Legends, are also developed in advance. What we mean here is that just because a new iteration of the game is released once a year does not mean it’s not developed in advance. You will find that with video games that are released once a year, there are multiple developing companies working on it together. The yearly iteration of games usually has a two-year development timeline. And during this process, developers work on bug fixes, in-game errors, and new features.
Then there are sports games. Since these are released once a year, developers already have a framework to work with – nothing really changes here. The only updates we get are bug fixes and new features. Then there are games like Cyberpunk. It took about eight years to develop. Now, this is because the game is quite complex, and developers wanted to launch something truly groundbreaking. While this was one of the most anticipated games of the past two years, it sadly missed so many marks.
How long does it take to develop a mobile video game?
Mobile games tend to take a few months to complete. It’s generally less than a year. It’s because mobile game development is quite simple. While there are a ton of complex mobile video games, the development thereof is relatively simple. Which also allows for multiple updates throughout the year.
What about indie games?
We love indie games. They rarely have big budgets, but they often offer so much in terms of gameplay and entertainment. It’s difficult to say how long development takes for these types of games. It depends solely on what the development team can do with the budget that they have. In many cases, indie game developers have less staff compared to big companies. So, a game can take anything from one year up to 10 years before it launches.
There are some popular indie titles. Limbo is one of them. Released in 2010, this puzzle game follows a nameless person who awakens alone in a forest. His mission is to navigate this new world he found himself in by dodging giant spiders and completing puzzles. This game took six years to complete. There was only one iteration of this game, which is the case with nearly all indie games.
Another favorite indie game is Among Us. Of the few highly popular indie games, Among Us was released in 2018 – in 2022, the team dropped a new roadmap documenting new features to look forward to. It’s a multiplayer social deduction game. Here, players need to find out who the intruder is while completing little tasks on a spaceship. This video game took about seven months from start to finish. And funny enough, it’s one of the few indie games that’s still referenced in popular culture and still played all over the world!