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Learning How much time does it normally take to make triple-A games?

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I want to ask a question about how much time it normally takes to make large games.

I am doing a proposal assignment and wanted some sources for how much time it would normally take for larger games to be developed and released. I just thought I could ask around here while doing google searches elsewhere.

 

Sources I found so far:

https://kotaku.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-make-a-big-video-game-1501413649

https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/09/economist-explains-15

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Well, there's a wide variance in development time.  Many factors come into play such as: do you have an engine or are you developing the engine alongside the game, is it a sequel to a previous game, what's the scope of the game and how many developers do you have on it, etc.

In general I'd say that for a large AAA game, if it's a sequel like the Call of Duty games where you're constantly developing another one based on previous tech and you have an existing experienced team, then the development time is around 2 years.   If you're developing a brand new IP from scratch with an existing engine, it can take around 3 to 5 years.  If you're developing the tech alongside the game, then you're looking at 4+ years.

If you just want a single number that's around the average dev time for a big AAA game, I'd say it's around 5 years.

Edited by 0r0d

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On average full production time is 2-3 years, with a team of 150-250 people. Most of the Assassin's Creed games took this long to produce.

During development of each release a other was already in progress. That is to say there was a year where both Assassins Creed 3 and Assassins Creed 4 where in production at the same time.

That is why it takes so long for player complaints to be addressed, the sequel is often too far into production to consider player complaints.

 

Large open world games often take much longer to make and some games don't release as the ones they start out as. The team is often held to strict NDA to keep any word of the game spreading. There is a very high chance that your favorite open world game has been in production for years no but no one is allowed to talk about it.

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3 hours ago, Tom Sloper said:

What 0r0d said. Some AAA games have taken 7 or even 8 years. Look up L.A. Noire and Spore in Wikipedia.

Yup, and in some really pathological cases it can take much more.  Duke Nukem Forever is the poster child, having been in development for 15 years!

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6 hours ago, 0r0d said:

Yup, and in some really pathological cases it can take much more.  Duke Nukem Forever is the poster child, having been in development for 15 years!

Half-Life 3 confirmed?

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There's a LOT of variables that goes into estimating your timeframe. The game itself, how much content you're going to put in at launch, the size of your team, your setup/capabilities, all of this will go into your timeframe, and what's more, you should account for delays, replacing co-workers, and more.

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As mentioned, a few hundred people for several years. 

Or in other words, a general range from 500-1500+ work years for many games.

Also note that highly popular small games have grown into AAA games.  As Minecraft is often mentioned, while it started as a one person project 8 years ago, the game has more than 2000 work years invested in development at this point, more than most AAA games.

When you play these games, you are enjoying centuries worth of combined work.

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