How Long Does It Take To Develop a Video Game?

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Ali Hamza

How the time it takes to create an idea is basically similar to asking ‘how long is a length of a string?’. It’s an old-fashioned question, but there’s no clear answer to question. The development of games is dependent on the kind of game that is being developed and the teams that develop it. Also Read: How to Make Big in Little Alchemy 2?

In the majority of cases, large-budget games can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to create. Mobile games require a few months to create, while Indie games could take anywhere between a few months and years.

How Long Does It Take To Develop AAA Games?

If you’re not aware of this concept I wrote a whole article that explains AAA games. In short, they are the games with the highest budget. They have cost millions and billions on development and also the games that marketing experts will attempt in convincing you to purchase. Think about The Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto V, etc.

Most of the time, these large-budget games can require up to three to five years to create. The company will go through the initial design phase until the game becomes “gold” and hopefully earning some cash from these games. Certain games might take longer (Cyberpunk 2077’s development took around 8 years) however, I believe that the majority of games you’ve played likely fell within the same time period.

You probably already know that there are games that are released each year. Call of Duty is the principal one in this regard, but sports games are released annually as well. They don’t take an entire year to develop but. It’s not even Call of Duty.

With the massive annual franchises, There are numerous studios working on various releases in the games. Thus, one studio will launch their game one year, while another studio will release their game in the following year. That means that the games are operating in two-year development cycles. However, as the majority of the gameplay assets and mechanics have been developed from previous games the development process is quicker. Also Read: How to Make Seed in Little Alchemy 2?

Games for sports can be created throughout the year, without having to switch between studios. This is because studios make only minor adjustments to their games every year.

Remember that AAA publishers wish to ensure that the development of games goes as fast as it can be. The longer the process takes to complete, the less money they earn. The majority of publishers plan for a development period of 3-5 years with the exception of extreme situations. They require the game to be launched within this timeframe or else they will be losing money.

How Long Does It Take To Develop Mobile Games?

Most mobile games are quite simplistic. Even those that earn huge amounts of cash (Candy Crush and The Simpsons Tapped Out) are not necessarily complex games. This means that the development process probably didn’t take more than two months.

There are other more expensive mobile games that may offer the same rapid development as AAA games, however, they are so rare that you most likely not come across them.

Because companies have discovered that they could create games in just a few months, and still make millions, they do not bother with more expensive mobile games currently. . Also Read: How to Make Tool in Little Alchemy?

How Long Does It Take To Develop Indie Games?

Indie games tend to be more volatile in terms of development time. This is due to the fact that a lot of the indie games you will see are developed in part-time jobs. There aren’t any dedicated developers on these games. They are working with limited personnel.

A lot of indie games are just hobby projects. There are obviously some exceptions to this however, these exceptions are becoming rare since more and more people are getting involved in the field of game development.

Indie games can take anything from one to two years, and it can take years for them to be complete. The amount of time is dependent on the nature that the game.

What Impacts The Speed of Game Development?

You’ve probably heard about games that run more time than the times listed above. Some of them are famous. Then, why took them such a long time?

Duke Nukem Forever is perhaps the most well-known instance. It took 14 years to complete(and the truth is, it wasn’t worth the waiting!). It was all due to the lack of funds for the project, the staff quit the project, licenses being transferred from one company to another and overall it is a horrible game in all stages of development. Insufficient funding is most likely the primary reason for games taking such a long time.

Elder Scrolls: Morrowind had an entire development cycle of six years (that was widely known about). It may not seem like a lot in modern times but in the past, it was an enormous duration. This is because of the vastness of the universe that Bethesda created quests, and battles all the way. It’s pretty obvious that nothing of this size had ever been attempted previously, so they needed to make it “just right.

If you’re playing open-world games in the present (Cyberpunk 2077 is probably the biggest one as of this writing) If you play them, then anticipate decades of growth. It takes a lot of expertise to design an open-world.

There could also be issues with development. Sometimes the purpose of a game can be entirely altered. The game might not function at a level of creativity and everyone would prefer not to drop the idea.

Team Fortress 2 is probably the case you’ve been told about. The game took 9 years developing. This is due to the fact that the game changed…a quite a bit. Similar to the original Borderlands but the development speed was faster. Both of these games could look totally different in the beginning of development, compared to the time they came out. Also Read: How to Make Wood in Little Alchemy 2?


Whatever time the game’s development process is, keep in mind that it’s a complex process. It’s extremely complex. It is incredibly complicated. AAA games hundreds of players could be working on the final product, and they need to bring everything together to make something spectacular. It’s no surprise that so most games have a brief development process.

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