“They Cost How Much?”: The Last of Us Part 2 and Horizon: Forbidden West’s Budgets Were Astronomical

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The budgets for The Last of Us Part 2 and Horizon: Forbidden West have inadvertently been revealed in yet another piece of eye-opening news coming out of the soap opera courtroom drama that has been the Microsoft and FTC trial lately. Many interesting documents have been released to public record because of this case, but many of them have also been redacted. This was meant to be the case here, too, but whoever was in charge of redacting this particular document did so in a way that made it not too hard to read the original text.

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This snippet posted by The Verge's Tom Warren shows the poorly redacted documents where one can still make out the budget for The Last of Us Part 2.
This snippet posted by The Verge’s Tom Warren shows the poorly redacted documents where one can still make out the budget for The Last of Us Part 2.

The document in question not only revealed the budgets for The Last of Us Part 2 and Horizon: Forbidden West but also information about their development timelines. The Horizon sequel, as stated in the document, cost Sony over $212 million over the course of its development, which apparently started in 2017 until its release in 2022. The sequel to the critically adored The Last of Us, meanwhile, was apparently in development from 2014 onward and cost Sony $220 million.

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This supports arguments both Sony and Microsoft have made about the current state of the AAA video game industry. Games such as The Last of Us Part 2 simply can no longer be developed in two to three years, and gamers demand major titles on an annual basis. Development on AAA games seems to take an average of six years now with huge, Hollywood-movie-like budgets of hundreds of millions needed to get these titles released.

Why Are Games Like The Last of Us Part 2 So Expensive?

The Last of Us Part 2 features many finely detailed environments with advanced foliage.
The Last of Us Part 2 features many finely detailed environments with advanced foliage.

AAA video games are a massive market, so it should come as no surprise that their costs have grown so high. It takes teams of thousands, often even tens of thousands of people several years to bring worlds such as The Last of Us Part 2 to life. As games become more complex and gamers’ expectations grow larger, it takes a lot more to craft an adventure that can live up to them.

Both Microsoft and Sony have their reasons for noting these developments, as it makes the need for a steady flow of major game releases more apparent, and as such each company seems to want as wide an array of access to AAA developers such as The Last of Us Part 2‘s Naughty Dog as they can get their hands on to satiate the appetites of gamers around the world.

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Related: 2019 Email From the FTC Case Shows Xbox Saying It Could: “Spend PlayStation Out of Business”

This poorly redacted document has led to a litany of jabs from across the industry in the past day. The court hearing has now finished, though the public will not learn of the result for some time yet. As the hearing was wrapping up, the presiding judge even joked by saying “no Sharpies!” The hearing results are sealed and a final decision will be made sometime in the next few days by Judge Corley.

Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard are certainly on the edges of their collective seats right now as the decision made here could be the deciding factor in whether the $69 billion deal is allowed to proceed or not. If this hearing does indeed block the acquisition until a further FTC hearing in August, then they will no longer be allowed to finish the deal until then. As a result, they would be forced to renegotiate in July. If the deal does fall through, Microsoft must pay $3 billion to Activision-Blizzard regardless.

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Are you shocked by the cost of these games? Would you rather receiver smaller-scale games sooner or wait longer for larger, more complex titles? Let us know in the comments and on our social media feeds, linked below!

Source: Tom Warren

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Written by Tanner Linares

Articles Published: 91

Tanner Linares is an enthusiastic gamer with a propensity for babbling his opinions at people who may or may not care. He graduated with a degree in English Writing from Northern Michigan University in 2021. He is also writing several graphic novels with a wonderful illustrator.