How long should a game spend in development?


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Is there a general rule for this sort of thing, or it does it depend on the game, genre, etc in question?

Because we have examples of good and bad games with all kinds of development cycles. Mario Tennis Ultra Smash and WWE 2K20 spent far too little time in development and were clearly rushed. Duke Nukem Forever spent too long in development, and ended up behind pretty much every curve going.

Yet at the same time, Majora's Mask was made in a year and became a classic, whereas Cave Story and Cuphead were made by tiny teams over the course of many years and also did well.

So what do you think the rule is here? How long should a game should spend in development?


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Long enough that it's not rushed; I don't think any game can be said to have been in development "too long" as a problem in itself. It,s a symptom rather than a cause.

Duke Nukem Forever spent so long in development mostly because Georges Broussard didn't want his baby to be outdated and would reboot development every time he read about a fancy new feature in a competing game, and nobody at Take 2 was willing to tell him he had to shove the shit out of the door eventually. A recurring term I read in game post-moterm is recognizing an ostensibily "cool" feature isn't fun in practice/would take too much work and had to be exciced to get a game out on time. Good management include recognizing when to make sacrifices, I guess.