10 stages of game development (Topic)

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10 stages of game development


The development of a game and its duration depends on the game itself, the budget and the number of people. On average, one game can take from 1 to 2 years, and an AAA project from 2 to 3 years. However, this is approximate. After all, someone creates Resident Evil 3 Remake in 3 years, and someone from the indie environment spends almost 11 years of work on the conditional Disco Elysium. The stages of game development are also different, but you can reduce them to 10. Let's talk about them briefly.


As once the monkey took a stick in his hand and thought of fighting off predators, so game development begins with the fact that someone comes up with an idea about a plot, character or mechanics that can become the basis for a future game.

And in fact, this is a difficult stage, since it includes designing what the game will be, what its genre, visual style, setting, heroes, who is the target audience of the project and what platform the game will be on. Thinking over all these details, a concept is formed, from which all other stages of game development will flow. It also includes the technical part: on which engine it will be and whether it is necessary to create a new one, what budget may be required, what kind of monetization is in the game. And much more. In addition, the entire concept must be verified by the publisher, if any.


Let's take a random Doom restart as an example. According to the original plans, it was supposed to be Doom 4, similar to the previous part: with a realistic setting, horror component and callofduty-like elements.


When the concept is confirmed, many studios create a design document, read the developers' bible, where all ideas are introduced, from the design of locations, the atmosphere, to the characters. It constantly changes throughout development right up to the very moment when the game is not released.


3. Team building

Usually, everything described above is planned by a group of people, and not by entire studios [unless of course we are talking about an indie studio of 3 people]. A team is being assembled, which is needed to implement all the crazy plans and ideas written in the design doc. And this is where the fun begins. A chief game designer or simply a project manager is also appointed, dictating what to do and how.


4. Pre-production

The formed team starts trying to figure out how to implement the plans. A brain storm begins for absolutely everyone, from game designers, artists, screenwriters and programmers, ending with engineers, publisher, project manager and other departments. They put together the puzzle piece by piece to see the whole picture.

This is where the project undergoes the greatest changes and, for example, the original concept of Resident Evil 4 eventually turns into Devil May Cry.

The writers write history, meet with engineers, who explain to them that the current studio technology does not allow creating a game with hundreds of heroes. Designers and artists come to a style agreement and draw concept art. Developers and engineers plan to implement mechanics in terms of scenario, physics and other rules of the world.


Prototypes of characters, environments, interfaces, control circuits and other in-game elements are created to see how they look, feel and interact with each other. In other words, it all comes down to the team going through a phase: Let's see how it looks before we start.

5. Budget

If this has not happened yet, then somewhere in this period, the developer should definitely kneel down in front of the publisher and humbly stretch out his hand, voicing a round number. If this is an AAA project, the amounts can be in the millions, and they only increase every year. And when the publisher agrees to it, he automatically multiplies the amount by two, since the second part of the budget goes to marketing, which will gobble up as much dough as the development itself.


6. Making a game

The most difficult stage begins - production. During this period, the entire game is collected. Levels, design, characters, sound are created, programming is in progress, voice acting. In simple words - blood, sweat pixels and tons of lines of code.


At this time, the publisher plans a marketing campaign and starts it. Moreover, I would like to highlight the creation of the first level, because it is it that is developed the longest and more thoroughly. Also, it is at this stage that there is always the possibility that everything will go down the drain and you will have to start over, or redo it. For example, it was here that the same Doom 4 changed radically. The developers realized that they were going in the wrong place, and decided to change the game and bring it closer to the original. It was then that they started making Doom as we know it.

At this point Nintendo realized that the Wii U was a failure and stopped development on Breath of the Wild, taking additional time to finalize and release in the future. And it was at this stage that the small spin-off of Resident Evil 1.9 began to turn into a full-fledged Resident Evil 3.

The creation process does not stop until the moment the game goes to gold and goes in parallel with many other stages.

7.Testing the game

During the testing phase, poor and tortured QA employees check how the game works, find bugs, problems. Often they are the ones responsible for all the dirty work of finding problems. By the way, read more about how to become a video game tester in our separate materials.


After lengthy tests, the game should be ready for an alpha or beta test. Regardless of whether it is open or closed. This is where some developers can cheat and release the game to Early Access to find new tools to build it.

8. Preparing to launch

As a rule, at this stage of the creation of the game it is shown to people or the press. It can be story or gameplay trailers or even the first level, and viewers and hacks start scribbling their opinions on the Internet. Here developers may have doubts about what they are doing. And is it all right.


New changes, transfers, delays and fixes may start that only delay the release.

9. Launch

This is Kotaku's Jason Schreyer's favorite video game development phase, as he provides him with work for years to come. It is here that what the developers called the death march when developing Max Payne 3, as everything that can be completed and everything possible is being completed.


The polish of the game leads to eerie rework that doesn't stop when the game finally goes gold and goes to print. After, the game exits.

10. Post-release support

The final phase of game development is to maintain and release at least a day one patch. After that, other patches will also be sawed. If this is a game service, new content is created for it, which will be constantly updated. If it's a story game, you can release DLC for it.

Finally, it is worth saying that not all games are equal and this is a conditionally general development model, moreover, simplified. Plus, all games are different and require a different approach to their creation. That is why Resident Evil 3 Remake takes three years to create, and Disco Elysium takes 11 years.

The Topic of Article: 10 stages of game development.
Author: Jake Pinkman