If you played The Last Of Us 2 to completion and then sat through the credits, you may have got some idea of how many people it takes to make a game of that size. As recently reported by VG247, the exact number is 2332 people–that is 2169 developers credited and 163 extra “thanks”.
Those people aren’t all employed at Naughty Dog, of course, but involve workers at 14 other studios outsourcing certain work. That includes two studios brought in to help with sound–one for general sounds and one specifically for weaponry and combat–and the remaining 12 external studios helping with the game’s art in various forms.
While it’s impressive to think about the mammoth effort that brought TLOU2 to life, AAA devs on Twitter have suggested that that’s not exactly unusual. In a response to VG247’s tweet of this story EA’s Sam Sharma, who’s also worked at Guerilla Games and Ubisoft, said “if you’re surprised at this, boy do I have stories for you about AAA game dev.”
If you’re surprised at this, boy do I have stories for you about AAA game dev.
It take a monumental effort to ship these blockbusters and the business and budgets are astounding.
(no “is this sustainable” discourse in my menchies) https://t.co/aPS1txzkkt
— Sam Sharma (@s3rioussam) July 27, 2020
Ellie Joy Panic added that those same numbers wouldn’t be unusual for one of Ubisoft’s games, with not only third-party studios working on a game but also different studios owned by the same company. Ubisoft was formerly the most valuable games company in Europe, until it was overtaken by Cyberpunk developers CD Projeckt Red earlier this year.
Most Ubisoft games have 10-15 studios and literally thousands of people working on them. Most of your favourite AAA titles have large amounts of outscourcing, along with heavy lifting shared by other studios within a company/publisher. https://t.co/xY8gMpfGy9
— El (@elliejoypanic) July 27, 2020
Other devs weren’t quite as detailed in their comments, though they were evocative. Former SWTOR designer Damien Schubert simply said “that’s adorable.”
Signed, the SWTOR team.
— Damion Schubert, Grumpy Old Designer (@ZenOfDesign) July 27, 2020
The big takeaway here is to remember how much of the work that goes into our favorite games is largely unseen, especially when those developers are from contracted studios whose names don’t get to be on the box.
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