Am I the only one who feels guilt when listening to the developer commentary for Valve games? What they convey is that you are playing a product of supreme extravagance, and that they spared no effort or expense to bring the game into existence. In the commentaries, Valve employees relate aspects of their work, which involves obsessing over slight imperfections in the experience that would escape the notice of the vast majority of players. It's shocking to hear anecdotes about the days and weeks of development time they spend fussing around with minute details.
I'm not saying Valve would build, populate, and subsequently bomb a city to rubble in order to make one of their games. I'm just saying that if they did it wouldn't be any more lavish than the stuff they already do.
Shamus Young is a programmer and writer by trade, videogame nitpicker by inclination. If you have the patience for more of his ramblings, they can be found at ShamusYoung.com.