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7 Video Games That Took Forever to Develop

Video game development is a complex process, but some games take an unusually long time. Learn more about these 7 games that took forever to develop. 

While it’s no secret making video games isn’t an easy process, some of these games have ended up taking so much longer to create than what is considered to be acceptable and reasonable. Here’s how long some games stayed in development.

Star Citizen

Image courtesy of Robert Space Industries

Star Citizen, a crowd-funded multiplayer game with a sci-fi theme, began way back 2011. Developer Cloud Imperium Games originally anticipated a release date of 2014, but numerous delays occurred during the video game’s development. Behind-the-scenes problems with co-founder Chris Roberts and a chaotic work environment were the main reasons given for the continued delays.

The crowdfunding efforts for its development reached over $200 million from over 200 million backers in November 2018. The following month, the developers announced that they were able to raise an additional $46 million from private funding.  Star Citizen remains to be in development to this day—in Alpha stage—with no official release date although the game is considered playable.

Duke Nukem Forever

Image courtesy of Attack of the Fanboy

Duke Nukem Forever might just be the completed video game that spent the longest amount of time in production. This first-person shooter started out in development with 3D Realms in 1996 and was officially announced a year later. Footage from the game wasn’t available until eight years later in 2004. Duke Nukem Forever then switched developers from 3D Realms to 2K Games and was finally released in 2011.

Diablo III

Image courtesy of Bleeding Cool

Diablo III spent 11 years in game development before its release in 2012. Developer Blizzard Entertainment, also known for making World of Warcraft and Starcraft, started working on this dungeon-themed action role-playing video game way back in 2001. This wasn’t long after the previous game, Diablo II, was out. However, Blizzard didn’t make any official announcements about the sequel until 2008. After this announcement, it took four years for the game to be released.

Team Fortress 2

Image courtesy of Polygon

Team Fortress 2 took nine years to make from start to finish. Developer Valve worked on the game as a follow-up to the Team Fortress mod for Quake. This multiplayer first-person shooter went through a few game design changes over the years, which was one of the main reasons for the delay. Team Fortress 2 started out with a military design and eventually changed to a more colorful and cartoon-like style.

L.A. Noire

Image courtesy of VG247

L.A. Noire took a total of seven years to make. Developers, including Team Bondi and Rockstar North, worked on this action-adventure detective-themed video game from 2004 through 2011. Why did this end up being among the games that took a long to make? It wasn’t production issues that slowed down its development. Rather it was the creation of complex animation and the use of facial motion capture technology—largely considered to be an expensive, high-tech investment at that time—that caused the slowdown. This is also why the game ranks among the most expensive video games made during those years.


Image courtesy of Electronic Arts

Spore spent eight years in production overall. Development of this real-time strategy game started in 2000 and wasn’t finished until 2008. Creator Will Wright, also known for making SimCity, was focused on making an alien/space version of the popular Sims game. Wright didn’t announce Spore officially until 2005, and the game wasn’t released until three years later.


Image courtesy of Steam

Prey took over a decade to develop, making it among the games that took a long time to make. Work on this survival horror first-person shooter game started in 1995, but it wasn’t officially released until 2006. The game’s developers, including Aspyr and Human Head Studios, made many changes to it throughout the years. In fact, they started over completely with a reboot in 2001 before finally releasing the game five years later.

 If you’re thinking about making video games for a living, apply now at Academy of Art University’s School of Game Development. You can also contact admissions to learn more about our offered programs, financial aid, housing, and more. They won’t take forever to get back to you, unlike these games, for sure.

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