updated 05:30 pm EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Spiritual successor to Halo most expensive game produced yet
Reuters reports that Activision Blizzard will drop a total of $500 million on the development of Bungie's upcoming game Destiny. The investment makes the game the most expensive video game production to date, surpassing previous cost leaders such as Grand Theft Auto V and Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick announced the record-setting investment at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles at the end of April.
A spokesperson for Activision confirmed the number with Reuters, stating that the cost tally "was accurate but also includes marketing, packaging, infrastructure support, royalties and other costs." The risk for the possible reward is a gamble for Activision, considering Destiny has an unproven track record as a new intellectual property.
"If you're making a $500 million bet, you can't take that chance with someone else's IP," says Kotick. "The stakes for us are getting bigger." The stakes are getting so much bigger, in fact, that an estimated sale of 16 million copies would be required for the game to break even with an investment this size.
Activision has already taken one gamble with Bungie, when it signed a 10-year publishing deal with the studio in 2010. The deal would allow Bungie to keep any IP developed by the studio under the duration of the deal. In return,Activision would receive worldwide distribution for any game, as well as control over franchise development.
Bungie, however, is a studio with deep history from the Marathon games in the mid-90s and the globally-celebrated Halo franchise. Investing in a company that has created one of the largest franchises in console history may seem like a wise business decision if Destiny garners the attention the publisher thinks it will.
Destiny is the first game Bungie has worked on since 2010, when the company released its final offering to the Halo franchise with Halo: Reach. Destiny is scheduled for a September 9 release.