'Not anything close'
Last month, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick made an off-handed remark about the budget of Destiny reaching "$500 million dollars," which led to a discussion on the long-term viability of AAA games. But Bungie COO Pete Parsons took us back down to earth recently speaking to Games Industry Biz, noting that, "For marketing you’d have to ask Activision people, but for development costs, not anything close to $500 million. I think that speaks a lot more to the long-term investment that we’re making in the future of the product."
Wanting to "tell a story over ten years," Parsons clarified that this budget could be applied to the entierity of the Destiny franchise, not just launching one game. He further clarifies that the 10 year plan was something Bungie made up on their own (and followed with Halo to a degree) -- not something that Activision imposed upon them.
So that helps clear things up a bit. Now it just has to launch so we can see how it really does without marketing speak and hype.
Bungie COO: We came to Activision with the 10-year plan [Games Industry.biz]