Half a billion dollars. $500m. R5.261bn. Twenty one Nkandlas. Five times the IEC budget for monitoring South Africa’s elections tomorrow. Twice as much as it cost to make the highest grossing film of all time.

That’s what Activision Blizzard is spending on Destiny, a new shoot-and-looter that’s coming in September.

Polygon reported that a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard confirmed the amount to Reuters, saying that the figure also includes “marketing, packaging, infrastructure support, royalties and other costs”. Clearly, making, marketing and supporting a modern-day triple-A game takes a lot more cash than it did a few years back.

That was confirmed by one of the company’s community managers, Eric Osborne in a recent interview with Polygon. Osborne said that “We shipped Halo: Reach with 150 people. We’ve got about 500 now working on Destiny. It takes a lot of people, and a lot of smart people to make a game that measures up today.”

That $500 million budget is a record for the games industry. To put it in context, Wikipedia lists the top three most expensive videogames (Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic) as having budgets of $265 million, $200 million and $200 million respectively, so $500 million for Destiny is not an insignificant jump.

Kotick said at the same conference that he expects Destiny to be Activision Blizzard’s “next billion-dollar franchise”, so clearly the company believes in the game. For it to hit that figure, though, at its $60 price tag it needs to sell over 16 million copies, a tall order for any game nevermind a brand-new, unproven IP.

Fortunately it has the required credentials – it’s being developed by Bungie, the same guys behind the super-successful Halo franchise, and if anyone has the ability to capture lightning in a bottle a second time it’s them.

On the flip side, Patricia Hernandez over at Kotaku played 45 minutes of the game a few weeks back and reported her time with the game as “kind of boring”. With so much riding on the game being a smash hit, that’s not the kind of news Kotick et al will want to hear.

Destiny is out September 9, 2014 for PS3 and PS4 players, with Xbox and PC releases to follow shortly thereafter.

[Image – Destinythegame.com]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.