Skull Island: Rise of Kong Was Only In Development For 1 Year

Over the past week or so, clips of the new Skull Island: Rise of Kong game have been doing the rounds on social media, with them drawing large amounts of criticism from the community. It was also recently revealed that the game was in development for just one year. Skull Island: Rise of Kong was released on October 17th and many are already calling it the worst game of 2023, and it is difficult to disagree with them.

However, things are not always what they appear to be on the surface and it is hard to solely blame the developers for the quality of the game, as much of the blame also falls on the publisher, GameMill Entertainment. While speaking to The Verge, an anonymous developer at IguanaBee confirmed that Skull Island was only in development for one year.

“The development process of this game was started in June of last year and it was aimed to end on June 2nd this year. So one-year development process.”

The employee also discussed how IguanaBee’s publisher GameMill Entertainment didn’t provide enough funding for the project, leading to more experienced developers being let go from the company.

“I knew it was because the publisher didn’t provide them with enough funding to maintain a certain number of people for an extended period.”

In total, around 20 people started from scratch to create the game, a task that would be challenging for even the most seasoned developers. This led to many corners being cut, including a static image file of a roaring dinosaur to be used in a cutscene in place of an animation.

Short development cycles are nothing new at IguanaBee, with its publisher GameMill Entertainment only allowing the team one year to develop Little League World Series Baseball 2022.

There have been some incredibly successful games with short development cycles, but often the framework is already in place and the team is already experienced when it comes to the project. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask was developed in just 12 months, but it did reuse many of Ocarina of Time’s assets and the framework for the game was already in place due to the previous title. But, to be able to craft and develop a story of this quality in one year is impressive. More recently, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was developed in just 15 months, which is impressive when you consider the expansive locations and gripping narrative in the game.

Skull Island: Rise of Kong will go down as one of the worst-rated games of 2023, a far cry from the 2005 Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, which scored an impressive 82% on Metacritic, unusual for a movie tie-in of that era. At the time of writing it is currently at 36% positive reviews on Steam, although the vast majority of these are trolling, with one user saying “It’s like if Hollow Knight met Elden Ring, but significantly better than both.”

It hasn’t had enough critic reviews on Metacritic to show a review score, but the current reviews place it as just 30%.

For more from Insider Gaming, check out the news that Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora gameplay is coming next week.