Game history

The 10 longest development times in video game history

Video game development is a hard thing to discuss these days. Thanks to crunch, burnout, litigation, and financial constraints, there are a number of reasons a video game could see development delayed or halted altogether. Unlike film and television which have a full century of growth and industry experience that allows them to prevent problems, video games are a relatively young industry.

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Some games have such long development times that fans wonder if they will ever see the light of day. All gamers know the long wait for the official announcement of Grand Automatic Flight 6 and a special mention also goes to dwarf fortress which has been in development for 20 years by one man with no sign of a release date. As the following games finally emerged from development hell, it’s been a long and winding road for the creators.

ten Spore – 8 years

Three different types of alien lifeforms in Spore

Spore is a life simulator that has always had very high goals. The basic concept was to be able to play a game that allowed the player to discover and guide a species through the full extent of its evolutionary cycle. This scope, along with the desire to balance making the game cute and making it scientifically accurate, led to the game’s long development time.

The game itself eventually managed to capture most of the early objectives – players can play from the microbial life state all the way to galactic civilization. With plenty of crazy spin-offs and a fairly well-received release, this game presents a rare achievement among games that have been in development for long periods of time.

9 Too human – 9 years old

Box too human

too human is a game that has flown under many people’s radars, despite the long buildup of interest. This, along with the major lawsuit involving Epic Games, made any follow-up to the game impossible. This unfortunate turn of events wasn’t caused by the long development time, but the end result certainly wasn’t helped by it.

The game started life as a planned game for the Playstation in 1999. The developers, Silicon Knights, would later form a partnership with Nintendo, and the game got stuck in limbo while other games moved forward. When a new partnership was formed with Microsoft, the game finally got a foothold and started to take shape.


8 The last guardian – 9 years old

After the critical success of The shadow of the colossusthe Ico team has started the development of another kind of story. Shadow is known for the dark environments and the feeling of power when the player defeats the Colossi. In The Last Guardian, the story is reversed – players control a young boy who befriends a huge beast.

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The Last Guardian took so long to develop largely due to director Fumito Ueda’s auteur nature. His wise guidance provided Team Ico with critical darlings in their first two games, but the small team combined with the massive scale of the game they were creating led to a painfully slow process.

7 Team Fortress Two – 9 years old

Team Fortress 2 composition

The class-based shooter was a massive hit, still popular today after more than 15 years since its release as part of The orange box. As part of a package with Gate and Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2 was already in the hands of millions who would pick it up and experience the unique shooter.

the original Team Fortress game was released in 1996 as earthquake mod that added a unique class system and abilities. The sequel to the full game had been in development for nearly a decade thanks to Valve’s adoption of the Source game engine, as well as the team creating multiple versions of the same game as they experimented with designs.

6 Final Fantasy XV – 10 years

Final Fantasy XV Fishing Game

Originally intended to be a spin-off of Final Fantasy XIII, FFXV took on a darker tone and frame than most FF games and the end result took on a life of its own. Many departments and groups within the Square Enix corporation were involved in the development in various ways, which led to an extended exchange of hands and a massive credit list.

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Another facet of the long delay between planning and creation was the game Final Fantasy XIV. The massive multiplayer online role-playing game was released in 2010, with many team members focusing their attention on it instead of FFXV. The initial launch of this alternate game was a commercial failure, but since the 2013 reboot, the game has been hailed as a stellar example of the genre.

5 Prey (2017) – 11 years old

A poster for the video game Prey

the original Prey game was released in 2006 with little fanfare. The game was well received by critics and had one of the first Native American video game protagonists. Although it performed well, the studio producing the game – Human Head Studios – sold the IP which was later taken over by ZeniMax and Arkane Studios.

The 2017 game took over a decade to produce in part because of the change of hands it underwent. Despite sharing the name, the two games are vastly different, with no crossover in protagonist, setting, story, or themes. Arkane Studios took the game and made it their own, taking their time.

4 Diablo III – 11 years

Diablo from Diablo 3

Diablo 3 is the 2012 sequel to the 2000s Diablo 2. Although this sequel had a shaky response upon release, after some economy and auction house tweaks, the game has grown to be a respectable sequel to one of the hack-games. and-slash the most popular in video games. the story.

Blizzard spent so much time on the game for so many reasons, but the most obvious reason is World of Warcraftits significant development needs and its cash flow potential. wows subscription model has led it to become one of the highest earning games in history, so it’s understandable that Diablo 3 has been relegated to the background.

3 Mother III – 12 years old

Lucas and Claus sitting at the table at the start of Mother 3

Released in Japan in 2006, this game followed Mother IIlocalized as Earthbound in America. Mother III was not released outside of Japan due to moral panics and controversies outside the country. This is because the game, despite its cutesy atmosphere and general “kids with psychic powers” core, contains some very dark themes.

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Mother III ended up in development hell due to a series of unfortunate events and changes. Originally planned for the Nintendo 64, the project grew too large for a single cartridge, and was later planned for the failed Dolphin add-on. After this system failed, the game was scrapped as Nintendo focused on its next major project – the GameCube.

2 Duke Nukem Forever – 15 years old

Duke Nukem didn't work 1

Duke Nukem was once one of the leading figures in the first-person shooter world. In another world, he could stand alongside Master Chief and Doom Guy. But thanks to nearly a decade without any type of game or IP-related release, interest in the game faltered until Duke Nukem forever eventually released in 2011 with more interest in its development than its actual release.

Duke Nukem foreverThe release of was also colored by reports that it would be a buggy game that could have spent another few years cooking. The game had gone through several game engine changes and was using a small team, and by the time the IP was sold to Gearbox, the game was a long way off coming out pink.

1 Metroid Dread – 16 years old

Metroid: Dread started as a sequel to Metroid: Fusion, a Game Boy Advanced game released in 2002. It was another highly rated game that most gamers expected a sequel to – one they got…eventually. Both games stand out for the harrowing horror of being hunted by foes far more dangerous than Samus herself.

Development of the game began in 2005, conceived as a game that would build on the “fear-based gameplay” of Fusion. The game was announced and unannounced several times, with one of the main reasons for the slow development being producer Yoshio Sakamoto’s dissatisfaction with the DS and 3DS’ restrictive hardware.

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