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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Does anyone have a source of the budget of Nintendo games?

curl-6 said:

If BOTW is their most expensive game ever and it only needed to sell 2 million, it puts in perspective how insanely profitable stuff like Animal Crossing or Pokemon or Smash must be.

And SEGA spending     $70 million on a game when they were bankrupt and soon after left consoles tell us why when people said Nintendo is the next SEGA during the Wii U era they were clueless. Nintendo manages money very well.



Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

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Otter said:
If you have the number of employees a team has/ number of people who have worked on the game (credits) and multiply that by the average salary, then multiply that by the number of years the game spent in development, you then have a 75% estimate of the overall cost. Good luck! :)

It’s not quite that simple. The whole team doesn’t work on the game from start to finish. Different disciplines come in at different times. Especially when you’re looking at game development pipelines.


Different disciplines come at different points in development. To illustrate a bit, design and production will be heaviest in the early stages. It will probably utilize some senior art and code people to help conception. Senior coders and artists art will then mock up certain elements of the design, but stand-in elements will be mostly used from previous games (I believe they even used Zelda 1 at some point for Breath of the Wild).

Code will then work more properly on the core game mechanics before bringing in content teams (other designers, script coders and such) and more artists to start making more proper game content.

QA comes in at full force at some point during Alpha.

Alpha is complete when all major features are done and no major bugs exist.

Beta phase is when the team is at the biggest as production and design will be playing the game a lot while code and art smash bugs and all of the polishing occurs. Much of the core (feature dev/hard coding) code team will finish up during Beta and only come in if absolutely required. This is largely scripting and content bug fixing heavy. They might also change things based on feedback, but largely core features will have been finalized in Alpha, it is less likely new changes will come during Beta.

Gold Master is when the game is essentially done and they’re just testing it for any remaining bugs. Most of the team will already have moved off at this point except those who are behind and testing it for flaws according to their discipline, but most people working on the game will be QA.

While not all companies use the same procedures, they’ll use some version of the above framing.

But anyway, one last thing: AAA pipelines typically have a trunk and branches. So the branches are the yearly releases of games you get. They actually begin quite a while before release, probably two years. Basically the trunk keeps getting developed to keep pushing forward features, optimization, and such, but the branches are split off for scripting and art leading into an actual game release. Usually you’ll have 2-3 different branch teams that are the ones responsible for your actual game releases. With some game franchises, they might even contract another dev studio to handle one of the branch schedules, or even all of the branch schedules (I believe the old WWE games were done this way, the older ones, I believe, had their trunk developed in Japan while the branches were done by English teams in the UK and/or the US).

Anyway, in the timeline of budget. Unless you’re talking about AAA pipelines. Typically games don’t utilize the entire dev team from start to finish. This will be a bit different for small indie teams with like 1-6 people doing multiple things (Any designer who worked on smaller teams also knows they spend half to most of their time doing QA). But either way, budgeting is not so simple as calculate team size and multiply salaries by time to develop the game.

Last edited by Jumpin - on 21 November 2020

I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.

I'm actually wondering whether BOTW2 could challenge its own sequel for the "most expensive" Nintendo game. They may have been able to reuse the engine and some assets, but in typical Zelda team fashion it's taking forever to come out, and paying a big team for 4 and half years isn't cheap.

If they're trying to up the ante to try to outdo its predecessor that could also inflate costs.

Last edited by curl-6 - on 21 November 2020

Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

curl-6 said:

I'm actually wondering whether BOTW2 could challenge its own sequel for the "most expensive" Nintendo game. They may have been able to reuse the engine and some assets, but in typical Zelda team fashion it's taking forever to come out, and paying a big team for 4 and half years isn't cheap.

If they're trying to up the ante to try to outdo its predecessor that could also inflate costs.

It sounds like the game started work in 2018 and it is 2020. A two year cooking period with the fandom knowing about it for a year is not exactly unheard of or forever, especially given a certain COVID factor. 

It's no Majoras Mask turnaround, but its not exactly Duke Nukem Forever.



The Democratic Nintendo fan....is that a paradox? I'm fond of one of the more conservative companies in the industry, but I vote Liberally and view myself that way 90% of the time?

KrspaceT said:
curl-6 said:

I'm actually wondering whether BOTW2 could challenge its own sequel for the "most expensive" Nintendo game. They may have been able to reuse the engine and some assets, but in typical Zelda team fashion it's taking forever to come out, and paying a big team for 4 and half years isn't cheap.

If they're trying to up the ante to try to outdo its predecessor that could also inflate costs.

It sounds like the game started work in 2018 and it is 2020. A two year cooking period with the fandom knowing about it for a year is not exactly unheard of or forever, especially given a certain COVID factor. 

It's no Majoras Mask turnaround, but its not exactly Duke Nukem Forever.

Wouldn't work have started in 2017 once BOTW wrapped? If it comes out holiday 2021, that'd be 4.5 years between the release of the two games. 

True, it's not Duke Nukem Forever, but with the engine and a lot of the assets done and reusable, I feel like that's a fairly long turnaround. Iterative AAA sequels have often followed 2 or 3 years behind their predecessors.



Bet with Liquidlaser: I say PS5 and Xbox Series will sell more than 56 million combined by the end of 2023.

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curl-6 said:
KrspaceT said:

It sounds like the game started work in 2018 and it is 2020. A two year cooking period with the fandom knowing about it for a year is not exactly unheard of or forever, especially given a certain COVID factor. 

It's no Majoras Mask turnaround, but its not exactly Duke Nukem Forever.

Wouldn't work have started in 2017 once BOTW wrapped? If it comes out holiday 2021, that'd be 4.5 years between the release of the two games. 

True, it's not Duke Nukem Forever, but with the engine and a lot of the assets done and reusable, I feel like that's a fairly long turnaround. Iterative AAA sequels have often followed 2 or 3 years behind their predecessors.

You need to factor in the type of game itself BOTW2 may reuse some assets but being a Zelda game it'll likely have a new concept added and the whole game has to be balanced and tested to accommodate the concept which when you factor in the complexity in BOTW's freedom and that it's applied to a large open world with many intricacies it wouldn't be like most standard follow ups.

This is before we get to what ever changes they make to the game world itself what new features they're going add alongside any new concept as they had far to many ideas that couldn't go into the original that's going into this game which again it all has to be tested with all the other intricacies and what limit they decide to push further with the game being Switch only this time round.



Ever since the wii its seemed to me like 10do cheaps out quite a bit.id speculate their dev costs are kept fairly low comparitively. Im sure they profit their b@lls off on yoshi and kirby and mario side scrollers. Even breath of the wild has sub par voice sync and id be surprised if that's not their biggest budget title.



curl-6 said:
KrspaceT said:

It sounds like the game started work in 2018 and it is 2020. A two year cooking period with the fandom knowing about it for a year is not exactly unheard of or forever, especially given a certain COVID factor. 

It's no Majoras Mask turnaround, but its not exactly Duke Nukem Forever.

Wouldn't work have started in 2017 once BOTW wrapped? If it comes out holiday 2021, that'd be 4.5 years between the release of the two games. 

True, it's not Duke Nukem Forever, but with the engine and a lot of the assets done and reusable, I feel like that's a fairly long turnaround. Iterative AAA sequels have often followed 2 or 3 years behind their predecessors.

Pretty sure I read they didnt start dev till 2018 cuz they were working onhe dlc.