Game Freak only needed 20 more developers to make Pokemon X & Y

It seems every big video game franchise is getting harder to make on a small budget. GTA V cost Rockstar nearly $260 million to make and Triple A console games seem to top the $50 million mark more and more, leading some to become unprofitable due to have an insane budget that the game could never realistically live up to.

Nintendo on the other hand has been keeping their game budgets pretty low. This is due to a lot of factors, namely to very little staff leaving their studios and a good work environment. Plus it helps to have the same people who started a series decades ago still working on it.

So with the development of Pokemon X & Y on the Nintendo 3DS you’d think costs would have to go up for Nintendo and Game Freak. To an extent they did as Game Freak’s Tetsuya Watanabe has revealed that the studio added some employees to take on the task of creating the first 3D traditional Pokemon game. How many people did they add?

Right now, we have over 80 employees, but this is the result of expanding for the development of Pokémon X and Y. Previously, we had roughly 50 to 60 people, and before that we had much less. Also, to us, Pokémon is a very important piece of work, so we put a considerable amount of energy into it. So, making something other than Pokémon has always been a tough situation for us.

That’s right, a studio that makes games that earn over $500 million in pure profit only needed to add 20 employees to make their next game. Mind you, a game like GTA V and Pokemon X & Y aren’t nearly on the same scale, both are complex in their own ways. Yet it is shocking that Nintendo can keep budgets down so far and staff low enough and still turn out great games that are majorly profitable.

The next time you think “hey why doesn’t Nintendo make iOS/Android games,” remember that a game like Pokemon X & Y likely costs somewhere around $10-$20 million to make and will earn them $500 million over the course of its lifetime. That’s based on if X & Y can get near the 18 million sales of Diamond/Pearl on DS. Even if they don’t, they’ll still be extremely profitable. If Pokemon handheld games didn’t cost $40 and instead were sold at $60 per copy Nintendo would be rolling in even more money too.