The Last of Us 2 and Horizon: Forbidden West had budgets of over $200m each

last of us budget

An admin error means that we now know how much The Last of Us: Part II and Horizon Forbidden West cost to make – well over $200 million each.


The Last of Us: Part II cost approximately $220 million to develop, while Horizon Forbidden West came in slightly lower with a budget of around $212 million. It’s the latest bit of once-confidential industry information that has come to light as the FTC-Microsoft case rolls on in the United States.

Embarrassingly, the details were never meant to be made public at all; the document containing them had been redacted using a black marker pen, but once scanned, the blocked-out info became all-too-easy to spot.

The document, headed ‘Importance of High-Quality Games to PlayStation’, talks about the triple-A industry’s impact on console gaming (logically enough), and uses The Last of Us and Horizon as examples of highly expensive, time-intensive games that have gone on to justify their astronomical costs.

“Developing and producing triple-A games often costs over $100 million, requires hundreds or thousands of developers, and takes years,” the document reads. “For instance, development on Horizon Forbidden West, a 2022 SIE first-party release, lasted a total of five years, starting in 2017 and ending in 2022. The game cost $213 million to develop, and peak headcount was over 300 full time employees.”

The year 2017, number of years in development, staff count and budget were all partially redacted in the document submitted to the court. It adds that The Last Of Us Part II took longer to develop at 90 months and a staff count of 200 full-time employees.

Someone involved in the legal proceedings evidently realised their mistake, because both this document and others pertaining to the case – stored at this address – were swiftly withdrawn. Fun fact: whynow Gaming was reading through some of these documents, and watched in real-time as they vanished from the server at around 7.15pm UK time.

At the time of writing, there’s only one PDF left on the server: a newly-redacted version of Microsoft’s quarterly pipeline review that was the source of so many news stories yesterday. Details relating to Bungie’s new IP, Matter and Behaviour Interactive’s mysterious Upforce Arena project have now all been blacked out.

If you’re interested, screengrabs of those badly-redacted documents can still be found on IGN and The Verge.


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