Video game team sizes have grown

At the advent of video games, decades ago, a single game was typically the product of a single developer. Today, this may still be true of indie games made as a hobby, but commercial games are made by teams that have ballooned in size dramatically.

Bailey et al. (Bailey et al., 2021) report, for example, that Activision's Call of Duty (2003) credits 163 employees, while Call of Duty: Black Ops III (2015) credits 2,003. Over a similar time period, EA produced Battlefield 1942 (2002), crediting 200 employees, which grew to 2,710 with Battlefront 2 (2017).

This trend is not uniform. Although the team sizes have still grown between Nintendo's Super Mario Sunshine (2002) and Super Mario Odyssey (2017), the increase from 70 to 205 is a far cry from the tenfold growth in the previous examples.

As a counterexample, Square actually credits fewer employees on Final Fantasy XV (2016) than Final Fantasy X (2001)–a decresase from 413 to 369.


Bailey, E. N., Miyata, K., & Yoshida, T. (2021). Gender Composition of Teams and Studios in Video Game Development. Games and Culture, 16(1), 42–64.