Does $500 Million Spent on Destiny Guarantee A Quality Experience?


There was a recent announcement that the production cost of Destiny will be close to $500 million. Although this isn’t just development costs seeing as it includes advertising and other not strictly development costs, it’s still a lot of money that’s technically being spent on the game. Actually, it’s so much money that it will beat Grand Theft Auto V for the title of most money spent to produce a game. We also know that GTA V was one of the fastest selling games ever, making over $1 billion in only 3 days, while only costing somewhere in the range of $250 million to develop (yeah, only). On top of that, GTA V was an amazing game. It scored perfect, or near perfect, scores on most major sites, is one of the biggest games in gaming history and is a game that I still play for hours weekly. I think a large part of its success was due to the endless amount of money they spent developing it, tweaking it and making everything perfect, as well as making it fun for anyone to play. Can we expect this from Destiny? Will Destiny be a great game simply because of the ridiculous amount of money being spent on it? If you’re looking for a short answer, I’d say “probably”. Yeah, I’m sure Destiny will be a great game and I’m sure that the reason is somewhat due to everything they can accomplish with $500 million (you can accomplish a lot with $500 million). If you’re looking for a more in depth answer though, you’ve come to the right place.

The reason I use Grand Theft Auto V as an example is because it is (soon to be “was”) the most expensive game ever produced, as well as one of the most successful. It won tons of awards for a bunch of different things, most known being the Game of the Year at the VGX. I believe the amount of money spent to produce GTA V definitely correlates to its success, but there are definitely other factors. All that being said, is it possible for Destiny to be as successful as GTA V? It’s absolutely possible. Is it likely? Who knows. There’s not really a way to tell how successful a game is going to be, especially on such a large scale. Here’s the question I’m getting at though – Will Destiny be a good game because so much money was spent on it? In other words – Does money ensure quality?

If I were to guess, and all I’m doing is guessing, Destiny is probably going to be a good or even great game. I’m sure a ton of people will enjoy it (me included), websites will give it good reviews and the whole world will hold hands. There’s a definite possibility that it could beat the success of GTA V, but so could any game. Let’s look at Minecraft. Minecraft has sold somewhere in the ballpark of 35 million copies, where GTA V has shipped 32.5 million to retailers. GTA V cost $250 million to make, the foundation of Minecraft was made by a single person as a side project, most likely while in his underwear. Both games have sold a ton of copies and made a lot of money, but GTA V also cost a lot more to make than Minecraft did. So in terms of sales alone, more money spent doesn’t mean you’ll sell more.

As most gamers know, or should know, you don’t need to spend money on a game to make it a good game. Some of the best games I’ve played were made by either a single person or a small group of people. One of the most impactful games I’ve ever played, Braid, was made by one person - Jonathan Blow. While the graphics weren’t as good as those in Grand Theft Auto V (which weren’t amazing either) and the story wasn’t as long, Braid has both genius game mechanics and one of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a video game. I also loved the story in Grand Theft Auto V, but again the cost of production between GTA V and Braid vary greatly.

So what am I getting at? It’s fine and dandy that Destiny has a $500 million dollar budget but that doesn’t mean the game will automatically be good. I’m sure Destiny will have ultra pretty graphics and be a huge production. It’s also perfectly possible that Destiny could flop even though it had so much money spent on it. Do I think it will flop? No, that’s just stupid, but it’s a possibility. A game doesn’t need a huge budget that could buy a small country just to be a good game. $500 million is a lot of money to gamble on a brand new franchise.