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1. Cyberpunk 2077 – $316 Million

Discover The Most Expensive Video Game Ever Made

Blockbuster video games have evolved into cinematic spectacles over the last decade. With photorealistic graphics, Hollywood production values, and complex interactive worlds, major studios now invest upwards of $100 million to develop and market their ambitious triple-A games. Let‘s explore some of the most expensive video games ever made.

Cyberpunk 2077 is the current record holder with an estimated $316 million spent on developing and marketing this futuristic role-playing game. Ever since it was first teased back in 2012, Cyberpunk 2077 quickly became one of the most anticipated games of all time. Developer CD Projekt Red‘s vision was to create a "next generation" open world game set in the corrupt, tech-obsessed metropolis of Night City. Players would fully customize a mercenary cyberpunk protagonist and navigate branching storylines across a jaw-dropping futuristic cityscape.

To bring Night City to life, CD Projekt Red constructed an advanced AI system to make the city feel dynamic and lived-in. Hollywood stars like Keanu Reeves were recruited for complex motion capture scenes. While Cyberpunk 2077 had a rocky launch plagued with bugs and glitches, it found redemption after months of patches and updates. Even with the controversies, Cyberpunk 2077 sold over 18 million copies in its first 6 months – recouping the massive investment into this passion project.

Rockstar Games poured immense resources into 2018‘s Red Dead Redemption 2, their critically-acclaimed open world western epic. With a budget exceeding $200 million, this is one of the most expensive games ever developed. Every painstaking detail of Red Dead Redemption 2‘s lush frontier world was crafted to make players truly inhabit the cowboy experience. Advanced systems modeled Arthur Morgan‘s appeal and standing. Horses and NPCs had sophisticated behavioral AI. Over 1,200 actors provided voice-overs and motion capture to produce over 500,000 lines of lifelike dialogue.

Red Dead Redemption 2 delivered on an unprecedented level of immersion. Shipping over 29 million copies, it garnered over $725 million in worldwide revenue during its opening weekend. Red Dead 2 demonstrated that big budgets, when paired withRockstar‘s signature polish, can produce all-time great interactive storytelling.

2009‘s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 broke records as Activision spent about $200 million marketing this FPS spectacle. While only $40-$50 million went into development costs, Activision promoted Modern Warfare 2 as the next massive multiplayer blockbuster, investing in dramatic TV spots during high profile sports events.

Their efforts paid off with launch day records: $310 million in first day sales globally, and over $550 million generated in the first 5 days. Critics praised innovations like customized weapons, squad combat tactics, and Special Ops co-op missions. The groundbreaking multiplayer mode made Modern Warfare 2 an instant classic FPS.

From recreating modern Los Angeles to telling an impactful criminal story, Rockstar Games poured everything into Grand Theft Auto V. Their $265 million budget produced the fastest selling entertainment product ever, with $1 billion generated in sales in just the first 3 days after launch.

With over 170 million copies sold across two console generations, GTA V focused on perfecting the gameplay and open world. Meticulous mechanics like driving and shooting made traversing the city a joy. The revolutionary GTA Online mode became its own ever-expanding platform. Even a decade after launch, GTA V continues to be a sales juggernaut and cultural icon.

The ambitious space trading and combat simulator Star Citizen has been in open development for over 10 years now. Fueled by a record-breaking $400 million raised in crowdfunding from fans wanting to back the project early, Star Citizen‘s budget has exceeded $300 million to date.

Creator Chris Roberts envisioned revolutionary technical feats like procedurally generated star systems, advanced flight physics, and interactive space stations. However, developing these cutting-edge features has led to slow progress. But portions of the game like dogfighting and planetside exploration are now open for early backers to try. If Star Citizen fulfills its lofty promises, it may go down as the most expensive video game ever developed.

While massive Hollywood-level budgets don‘t guarantee hit games, some visionary developers have produced all-time classics by sparing no expense. As gaming technology continues evolving, the most expensive video game title ever may be claimed by future ambitious projects. But creativity and innovation can lead to great games even on modest indie budgets.