CliffyB Says FPS Campaigns Take up 75% of The Budget

Sep 13, 2009
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flying_whimsy said:
I call bullshit on that. It might be the case for some of the games, but I suspect he's fudging the numbers a bit by counting resources shared between modes as part of the single player budget. Most of the modern games, from their mechanics to their aesthetics, are designed from a multiplayer perspective and then shoe-horned into single player campaigns.

Besides, over half of a game's budget goes to advertising: the AAA industry has stated this repeatedly over the last five or ten years.
I suspect he's not counting marketing budget into that cost.

I honestly don't think he's lying about the numbers , at least not by a significant margin. Particularly if you're already working off an existing engine (Or if you're making a sequel). The amount of time to get a game working isn't all that long, or expensive. I heard from a guy working at EA that only about 20-30% of the people working on a game are programmers. For larger projects, it's typically smaller.

By far, the largest money sink in games is content creation. Modelling, texturing, animation, voice acting, sound design, etc... The amount of content you need to create for multiplayer is absolutely tiny compared to single player. What do you need for multiplayer? A small number of character models, and animations of those characters (Lots of which might be mostly done from assets you already have from previous projects), as well as 5-10 fairly small maps. In singleplayer you need a lot more content. This is where writers, voice actors, sound designers and artists come in. Plus, if you want a big set piece with atypical physics interactions, you're going to have to tweak the engine to accomodate it, or more likely find some way to fudge it. And just think about the amount of modelling that must go into places you can't even reach but are there floating in the background.

Yeah, I have no difficulty believing this claim

EDIT:

Jeez, looking at all of these responses, I'm not sure if people understand exactly how making video games works. It might only be 8 hours of content, but you're blowing through it quickly, and you need to. Unless you want to spend each hour in an area the size of a multiplayer map, the costs aren't going to be even close to comparable.
 

Elfgore

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75%?!?! The fuck are you spending that on? I'm actually completely baffled by this. It certainly can't be the writers, certainly isn't the voice actors, nor the graphics. The hell does it cost so much? Spend it all on hookers and blow?
 

Baresark

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And yet... there are fantastic first person single player only games that take way longer before you feel "done". Sounds like CliffyB is talking out of his ass again. Yeah, the single player is short as a ************ on all of your games, says more about you than it does game development though.
 

Callate

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This might well be true, at least in some cases- but there's no reason it has to be true except for crap planning and a blinkered view of what players want. If you stop planning your games around hiring actors like Kevin Spacey, tightly scripted Michael Bay moments, and levels that introduce mechanics, characters, and scenery that you'll use for ten minutes and then never see again, you can make single-player games that aren't short, disposable, over-priced popcorn experiences. You ("you" being much of the AAA shooter design department, in this instance, in case it wasn't clear) just can't be bothered because it involves thinking and writing rather than throwing a bunch of toys in a box and assuming the online players will entertain themselves.

You know how many people bothered with the multiplayer of Spec Ops: The Line? Or Bioshock Infinite? And yet they still loom large in a lot of people's minds. Think about it.
 

Extra-Ordinary

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Huh, for real?
The solo campaign is always my favorite part, nothing against multiplayer and I understand that most players spend their time there, I just never got into it myself.

I don't know if I'd go so far as to call him a liar but that number seems, I don't know, kinda big.

The Almighty Aardvark said:
By far, the largest money sink in games is content creation. Modelling, texturing, animation, voice acting, sound design, etc... The amount of content you need to create for multiplayer is absolutely tiny compared to single player. What do you need for multiplayer? A small number of character models, and animations of those characters (Lots of which might be mostly done from assets you already have from previous projects), as well as 5-10 fairly small maps. In singleplayer you need a lot more content. This is where writers, voice actors, sound designers and artists come in. Plus, if you want a big set piece with atypical physics interactions, you're going to have to tweak the engine to accomodate it, or more likely find some way to fudge it. And just think about the amount of modelling that must go into places you can't even reach but are there floating in the background.
Okay, nevermind, I never thought about it that way.
Made me think of Uncharted when you said that. Yeah, it's not a CliffyB game but if there's anywhere that the ratio is more obvious, it's probably there.
 

Bobular

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I can believe that figure, that SHOULD be the figure if not more. The only problem is that to me the campaign IS the game and the multiplayer is an extra that I may play once or twice.

I mean I recently played through CoD2 again, because I love the campaign on it. Its took me days to finish it, and even though I've done it multiple times before I'm still loving it.
 

WhiteTigerShiro

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Can we talk about that completely trite Overwatch comparison? Really? Overwatch is for the kids, but what they'll really want to play is their older brother's game that's basically "Overwatch with blood and swearing"? Gamers aren't all teenagers anymore, Cliffy. Cussing and gore will only get you so far if the game itself isn't fun to play. Also, I think it's time we get over this Chromophobia that the gaming industry seems to suffer from. Don't get me wrong, the grimdark phase was fun and all (if a bit bland to look at), but I think we're starting to discover that a little color in games can be a good thing. So have fun selling your shooter on it's blood and grit, but we'll see what sells once the chips are down.

Ah but what do I expect? It wouldn't be a CliffyB interview if he wasn't saying something stupid. Is he still trying to backpedal on calling all PC gamers pirates, or has he sulked back to his console loyalties?
 

sXeth

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Well, if we take his basic math. MP = 1/4. SP = 3/4. So an MP only shooter should have 4 times the content for MP that a one so burdened with a campaign does. Yeah, that doesn't really pan out with the examples at large. I'm not debating that the camaign probably could be that expensive all-told (voice acting, motion captures, some of the alternate physics/gameplay they pop in at times, extra textures/modelling/soundtrack, etc), but if thats your justification for MP-only, you need to do a hell of a lot better at the MP component then most have so far.
 

Totenkreuz

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Well it depends on the context. If you want to check why it takes so much time and money for developers to create a singleplayer experience then you need not look further than the end credits, just count the number of people working there and you'll see why. Check the voice actors, the audio studios, alocations etc.

It can take weeks for something minor to be approved, like, for example, the lightning in a room. You need to send requests to alot of people and they have to reply and even sometimes have meetings about it and for every hours of 'slow' work, people need to be payed.

Cheers.
 

josemlopes

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I believe it but simply because they are usually bloated with useless shit like famous actors and "epic" set pieces.

Something like what Rainbow Six Siege offers for solo is more then enough for me, it has a lot of variety and replay value while taking place in the same locations, I even still think that the Terrorist Hunt mode in the Vegas games were better then the campaign as they too had more replay value.

The older R6 games had campaigns that simply had specific objectives but still avoided what would be more limiting for the player (open this door to trigger a cutscene to then be forced to hold a position while some building explodes in the distance for example, something the Vegas games did)


Its why Hitman Absolution was shit and Blood Money was great.
 

EternallyBored

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Jun 17, 2013
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Eh, I don't doubt Cliffy's assessment, as Aardvark already pointed out, the level of content between a AAA campaign and developing a multiplayer mode is leagues different, and its understandable that developers that want to make a multiplayer shooter would want to save money by cutting a feature that most players of online shooters like CoD and Battlefield don't bother playing.

The problem comes in when it becomes hard to see how those multiplayer only games give us any more than games with multiplayer mode and campaigns. Titanfall launched with 3 mechs, 0 customization at launch, a small number of weapons and abilities, and unimpressive post-launch support. Evolve launched at full price and then expected us to pay even more for more monsters and customization. Battlefront launched with a disappointing number of maps, samey weapons, lame customization, and frankly just far too few gameplay modes.

When you cut the campaign out, you need to show us what we are getting in exchange, it seems like shooters that cut their singleplayer out give us little in exchange for apparently freeing up such a massive amount of its budget. A multiplayer game with 75% more budget for its multiplayer mode should at the very least come with more maps than the average Battlefield game, more customization than CoD, and either the amount of gameplay modes or even outright rule customization like the Halo games. If you can't even match the variety offered by series that have content rich multiplayer AND a single-player campaign, then why should I waste money on your game when I can apparently get equivalent multiplayer content and a single player campaign for the same price.

That's not to say these multiplayer only games are bad, I quite like Titanfall, and Rainbow 6: siege was fun when I played it at a friend's house, even Battlefront was fun for a time, but all those games lost my interest quickly as it just didn't feel like I was getting enough variety to keep playing for months on end, and a multiplayer game only lasts as long as its player base can stay actively playing every day.


SO yeah, don't tack on a single-player if you want to make a multiplayer only game, I have no issue with that, but show me what I'm getting to make up for that, if you're showing me the same level or even less content than I would get from the big name shooters out there like Halo, Battlefield, and CoD, where I can get multiplayer and singleplayer for the same price you want for multiplayer only, don't expect everyone to buy into your game, no matter how hard you try to justify the lack of singleplayer.
 

Bindal

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Silentpony said:
Wait you spend 75% of a multimillion dollar budget on a campaign that gamers easily blow through in a weekend?!
Whatever happened to campaigns that take weeks?! Maybe don't make your campaign piss easy and short?!
FPS always tended to be possible to finish in a surprisingly short time, even ages ago. I did just run through Half Life 1 again in about 6 or so hours and are currently at the beginning of the last chapter (not counting the boss) of Opposing Force after about three hours.
Games that take weeks are only those that usually are not very story-heavy or are slow, like XCOM, Civ, SimCity, Rollercoaster Tycoon (which also are, coincidentally, strategy games) and a good selection of open-world-RPGs (and even those don't all take hundreds of hours to finish. I think I finished Gothic 1 in about 12 to 15? Again, short enough to plow through in one weekend)

Zontar said:
Silentpony said:
Whatever happened to campaigns that take weeks?!
Modern Warfare 2 happened. It showed that a 4 hour campaign with cutscenes can sell like nobody's business.
Except not, as pointed out above.
And even before that, the "all mighty, always-perfect" Doom 1 and Doom 2 probably can be finished also in about three to four hours, each.
 
Jan 19, 2016
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Elfgore said:
75%?!?! The fuck are you spending that on? I'm actually completely baffled by this. It certainly can't be the writers, certainly isn't the voice actors, nor the graphics. The hell does it cost so much? Spend it all on hookers and blow?
Kevin Spacey doesn't come cheap.
 

spartandude

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I think he's probably skewing that figure a little bit but I don't doubt that most of the budget (not including marketing) does go to single player. However I think that some of the money he's suggesting is going into making assets for the campaign that also get used in the multiplayer (animations, some voice acting, environment/ texture assets).

But if this is true then it paints a VERY damning picture on some of the multiplayer only games we've had recently which have the same amount of content as the multiplayer section of AAA game with a singleplayer for the same price (some regions such as the UK have seen price increases FYI) and have very aggressive season pass/ dlc plans.
 

Smooth Operator

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That would be why a good campaign also feels 3x more enjoyable then multiplayer, and why I'm not paying $60 for 1/4 the game with these new fancy MP only deals.
I wouldn't really mind devs doing MP only if that game either came at 1/4 the price or the content was mind boggling in scope, but usually they don't even deliver close to the same as full SP+MP games, so you are getting screwed on all fronts.
 

JohnnyDelRay

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I actually can understand what he's saying if he just wants to say it's not economically viable anymore to make a campaign mode for a game, where statistics shows nobody plays it anyway. Fine. Then make a multiplayer only game (Battlefield), put that HUGE amount of leftover money into making the game bigger, more balanced, more polished, and with some longevity, such as being able to play with bots.

But don't try to make statements like that, nobody buys your shitty statements anymore. In a perfect world, your statement would stand, but as it is, there's so much bullshit in it. Multiplayer games are smaller and still charge full price for it, plus DLC and seasons passes.

And yeah, a campaign may last anywhere from 6-14 hours or so nowadays assuming we are talking about FPS games here. But what if that's all people want to play? I've just got done playing Max Payne 3 for the 3rd time around, cannot believe I still have to sign in for ridiculous Rock Star Social Club or whatever fucking bullshit when I have not the slightest interest in the damn multiplayer.
 

infohippie

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So what I'm hearing here is, if devs didn't try to shoehorn multiplayer into everything regardless of whether it's wanted or even a good idea, then single player games could be at least a third better than they are.
 

RealRT

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So the campaign AKA the actual game only takes 75%? What the hell are they spending the rest of the money on?