Star Citizen Has Now Cost More to Develop Than GTA V, Cyberpunk, and RDR Combined

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By | June 13th, 2023 | Categories: Featured

In the gaming world, there’s one game that has attracted controversy and backer funding in equal amounts: Star Citizen. With funding now exceeding $590 million, surpassing the combined budgets of iconic (and famously expensive) titles like GTA V, Cyberpunk 2077, and Red Dead Redemption 2, it has an iron grip on the mantle of the most expensive game in history.

Granted, there is some quibbling to be done on development vs marketing costs. Still, as far as general analyst estimates of pure development costs go, Star Citizen is more expensive than all three games combined. And despite this massive financial backing, Star Citizen has faced a tumultuous development history and has been embroiled in several scandals.

According to CCU Game, users pledged $113 million towards the development of Star Citizen in 2022, which is up 31% compared to the previous year. Around $60 million has been donated since the beginning of 2023.

Here’s the development costs of the three titles, with citation locations linked:

TitleDevelopment Cost (Excluding Marketing Costs)
GTA V$137 Million
Red Dead Redemption 2$170 Million
Cyberpunk 2077$174 Million
Star Citizen$590 Million

A Rocky Journey

Star Citizen’s development began in 2012 when Chris Roberts, a renowned game developer, presented an ambitious vision for a space exploration and combat game. The concept struck a chord with gamers worldwide, leading to a highly successful crowdfunding campaign that garnered millions of dollars. However, as time passed, the game’s progress became shrouded in uncertainty. Release dates were repeatedly postponed, and promised features seemed elusive, leaving backers frustrated and concerned. Transparency and community involvement, once hallmarks of the development process, gave way to allegations of secrecy and mismanagement.

Controversial Scandals

In addition to the development issues, Chris Roberts found himself at the center of various scandals, which cast a clowd over the development process of Star Citizen’s. One such controversy revolved around allegations of misusing backer funds. Critics accused Roberts of diverting resources raised for the game toward supporting his lavish lifestyle instead of focusing on development. Although Roberts and his team denied these claims, they further strained trust within the community.

Another significant scandal that plagued Star Citizen was the phenomenon of feature creep. This refers to the continuous addition of new features and promises, leading to delays and dilution of the project’s core vision. Star Citizen became notorious for this practice, with ambitious stretch goals constantly being introduced, diverting attention and resources from the game’s essential development. This approach fueled a never-ending cycle of promises and delays, leaving backers disillusioned and skeptical.

The Current State

After more than a decade of development and an unprecedented budget, Star Citizen still remains unfinished. Despite occasional updates and alpha releases, the game has yet to fulfill its promised features. Critics argue that the project has turned into an endless drain on resources, with no clear end in sight.

It’s worth noting that Star Citizen does have a dedicated community of supporters who remain optimistic about its potential. They believe that the game’s complexity and scale require significant time and resources to achieve the envisioned masterpiece. They point to the progress made so far, such as the impressive ship models and expansive environments, as evidence of the game’s technical achievements.

No End in Sight

Star Citizen’s remarkable funding achievement is undeniable, surpassing the budgets of renowned titles like GTA V, Cyberpunk 2077, and Red Dead Redemption 2. However, the game’s troubled history and controversies have cast a shadow over its reputation. With over $590 million raised, expectations were understandably high, but development delays, broken promises, and accusations of financial impropriety have dampened, if not eliminated, enthusiasm.

Star Citizen serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the risks of feature creep, mismanagement, and the challenges of crowdfunding. As players eagerly await a final release, the future of Star Citizen remains uncertain. Will it deliver on its ambitious promises and redefine gaming, or will it be remembered as a missed opportunity? Only time will reveal the true fate of this ambitious space epic.


  1. BurninG July 7, 2023 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Aside from being a “nobrainer” or a “blind over-consumer”, at what point can we legitimately compare certain aspects that can’t be compared because the differences are so stark. For the record, Star Citizen is raising $590 million for its SQ42 + SC development (note for the uneducated: take a few moments to research these 2 projects), while RDR 2 has raised more than $500 million (source: with an 8-year development period to offer a dusting of the game adventure possibilities it proposes compared to what SC currently offers. I won’t detail the development costs of GTA V and Cyberpunk, which of course add to the bill.

    To sum up: yet another “rag” of bullshit put together to peddle false information. (The future of journalism continues to have its dark moments).

  2. Fanboys June 19, 2023 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Look at all these fanboys uniting to defend their game they will never see lol. Id be delusional too if i donated money to a scam.

  3. Aaron June 14, 2023 at 11:31 am - Reply

    No, it spent it. Why do you think it keep raising money through ship sales, subs, and merch. This is why a good chunk of the community is upset. They spent 5x the cost to make a triple A title and all they have to show for it is a bug filled alpha. It has been a decade and the team can’t even get the NPCs to sit in chairs properly!!! Entering a station of NPCs is like the lost space chapter of Children of the Corn with all the NPCs standing on their chairs. It is embarrassing how bad some of the bugs are.

  4. Farmer Joe June 14, 2023 at 10:37 am - Reply

    They last released their financials in 2021.

    At that time they had spent all but 5m of the backers money they had collected and had a burn rate of over 100M a year. In each 2022 and 2023 they have gotten more than 100M in backers money but they have also increased their staff by a significant amount since 2021 which likely increased their costs above their prior burn rate.

    TLDR: They would have spent virtually The entire 590M yes.

  5. Sacsaq June 14, 2023 at 10:27 am - Reply

    Exactly. They’ve also received investor funding as well. So $590+ million to build a game studio up from nothing and develop 2x AAA titles, one of which is the most ambitious and technologically advanced game ever created.

  6. Tom June 14, 2023 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Really enjoyed your exploration of Star Citizen. By the way… Whats your IQ??? It just that you seem so smart and so articulate.
    The game you showed is mind boggling, it’s like your in a dungeons and dragons game play universe with endless space adventures. My brain was exploding while I was watching. Think your right in the game will never be finished and that’s a great thing for all the best reasons you talked about. Anyway keep up the wonderful work or play your doing. You made my day.

  7. JP Soler June 14, 2023 at 6:51 am - Reply

    GTA 6 is rumored to be anywhere from 1 billion to 2 billion in production costs.

  8. Sacsaq June 14, 2023 at 5:24 am - Reply

    The crowd sourcing funds for SC built an entire game studio from a team of 5 to over 500. All of those games you compared came from established game studios with existing resources and infrastructure. Additionally, the $590m is producing two games, not just one. Squadron 42 will launch first and latest SQ42 sprint reports disclose notable gameplay elements reaching completion. CIG and SC are far from perfect, but they the most transparent company I’ve seen in the industry (sprint reporting, weekly videos showcasing progress, weekly dev chats) and they are overshadowed by bad terrible reporting and misinformation.

  9. Cebeor June 14, 2023 at 5:20 am - Reply

    Cost? Is all the money gone? It raised 590, not spend it.

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