CliffyB Says FPS Campaigns Take up 75% of The Budget

Pinky's Brain

New member
Mar 2, 2011
I play lots of single player games over the weekend, in any given year I might substantially play 2 multiplayer games. Good luck being one of the two, I don't give you great odds.

PS. of which only TF2 is F2P, but after seeing people spend ungodly amounts of money on keys I'm rethinking that. In the end no matter how well they hide it all these games hunt for whales and it's hurting people. It's STILL a scummy way to do business, it might no longer be hip to say it but it's true as it ever was.


New member
Aug 3, 2011
Can it really be 75%? Both the story mode and the multiplayer mode use the same models. Hard to believe that people used to play for the single player and the online multiplayer was just the extra thing you played after. Me, i have zero interest in online gaming. I do like a nice campaign mode and shoot my way through the story. Even if its 6 hours long, as long as i had a fun 6 hours then im happy. I think this concentrating on just multiplayer only deathmatches is just because its easier, cheaper and has alot of DLC selling opportunities.


New member
Apr 26, 2011
Sorry not buying it. First of all there are shared aspects between multyplayer and singleplayer. Mainly the gameplay, engine all the cogs that make the game actually work. Only using 25% of your budget to develope the actual game mechanics doesnt sound really reasuring in terms of quality (especialy since everything else not specificly single player is part of that 25%)

Second of all: If Bioware can construct a content monstrosity like dragon age inquisition or Mass effect and STILL include a somewhat capable multyplayer mode then i fail to see why your single player campaign can be solved in a mere weekend.

So where does that 75% of the budget go exactly? The writing? HAHAHAHAHAHahahaha...heh... no. The engine? Again they often reuse old engines. Animation? That would be something shared with the multyplayer... same for special effects.

Are you telling me that they use 75% of the budget for a handfull of scripted flashy events during the singleplayer campaign and voice acting?

Then its not a problem with single player campaigns.. its a problem with managment and resource allocation. YOU ARE FOCUSING ON THE WRONG THINGS!

Who cares if you have a celebrity voice acting the main villain? No one gives a shit! You could save millions if you didnt hire the latest hollywood darling to voiceact for your game and invest it into a more extensive campaign.. that cant be simply breezed through.

The fact is that for FPSs a large chunk of the budget is used for PR (and yes, PR cost is factored into the total development cost of a game).

And even then: Didnt Far cry kinda proofed that FPS campaigns DONT have to be so short? Sure it was more of an open world game with padding and side activities but it shows that its possible.

Just another developer who lays the blame at everyone elses feet instead of realising that they dont have a fucking clue how to prioritize a budget or what the money is actually spend on and just making shit up on the fly to deflect critisism... remembre folks: Its NEVER the developers fault!

Also as others have noticed: If most money is spend on single player... why are we still paying premium for multyplayer only titles? By definition shouldnt these games be cheaper since they dont eat up so much resources? Or is the dude seriously suggesting that multyplayer only titles have better and more multyplayer content then games with single and multyplayer?

Evolve? Battlefront? Not exactly full of content those games... wonder where the 75% that where freed by not having a single player campaign went to...

Scy Anide

Dec 7, 2013
When did SlappyB become legendary? From Unreal Tournament I guess? I thought Chris Avellone was the dev darling at the moment, and well deservedly. Hopefully Slappy doesn't get upset if his multiplayer-only game doesn't sell to people who prefer singleplayer campaigns or if people move on from his game after playing it for a weekend anyways.


New member
Nov 19, 2009
Scy Anide said:
When did SlappyB become legendary? From Unreal Tournament I guess? I thought Chris Avellone was the dev darling at the moment, and well deservedly. Hopefully Slappy doesn't get upset if his multiplayer-only game doesn't sell to people who prefer singleplayer campaigns or if people move on from his game after playing it for a weekend anyways.
That also confused me; the man is known for two things: Unreal Tournament which was an era ago and Gears of War which just ripped off Resident Evil 4 and made it boring. That is nowhere near enough to classify him as legendary. Now Shigeru Miyamoto, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Alexei Pajitnov, Will Wright, John Carmack, Yasumi Matsuno, and Koji Igarashi are legendary or at least excellent. Cliffy is just a stereotype who made a couple of popular titles that did not age well and became a symbol for problems in the gaming industry after which his career has gone nowhere.


New member
Nov 21, 2007
Irridium said:
Honestly multiplayer only games are fine. Those aren't the problem. We've had them for over a decade. Unreal Tournament, Quake 3, Counter Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fortress... they're not new. But what those games had are bots. Remember those? Bots let us play the game without having to deal with other people. Or they let us play after the games' communities are dead and gone. Bots are great because then the games will still have value when the servers are shut off.

Bring back bots.

In Battlefronts 1 and 2 those story modes were basically just glorified bot matches. And those were fine. Galactic Conquest was just bot matches. And that was amazing. Bring back bots.

I love Titanfall, but nobody plays it anymore so I can't enjoy it. If it had bots that emulated players I could still play it and have fun.

This is what I'm hoping for in Titanfall 2. There are still some active player groups in the PC version, but it's full of rampant hacking and pub stomps. The only non-PvP option is the Frontier Defense mode, which can technically be played solo.

It's not as fun solo, and it doesn't quite provide the same experience as the core PvP modes, but it's at least something.

Charcharo said:
Old School Shooter Campaigns were very well designed... but not THAT long...

RTCW? Can go through it in 3 hours, first time play - around 10 I guess.
Half Life 2? 12-13-14 hours? Sounds about right.

People should stop complaining here.
Start complaining about bots and modding. That is probably the big reason why you think MP-only games of today are not worth the full price.
Also QFT.


Formely Gone Gonzo
Apr 14, 2020
Are they so costly? I would have never guessed, taking into account how bad most of them ended up. But that wasn't surprising; as it seemed like every FPS tried really hard to be CoD-clones (all spectacle, but not meat). If you make campaigns that feel tacked-on and mediocre, players won't linger too long in them.

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?!
Long time ago, reports indicated that most players didn't finished long campaigns. The success of CoD:MW2 (and its short campaign), made lots of people in the industry believe that less content and more spectacle was better. And that's how spunkgargleweewees like Battlefield 3 and Medal of Honor: Warfighter campaigns came to be.

XenoScifi said:
If 75% of a budget goes into single player campaigns and you cut that to make an online shooter. Then why are we still paying full price for a game that is only a 1/4 of the budget of a "full" game?
Yeah. That confuses me too. But as long as suckers keep paying that price, they'll keep going like that.


PS Thanks
May 29, 2009
If the game is worth replaying, it's okay if players will blow through it in a weekend. I've replayed both Portal games and Half-Life 2 countless times. I've replayed precisely zero Call of Duty campaigns. You've gotta have good writing and/or enough player freedom that replays feel different if you want people coming back, and most single player campaigns in games fail miserably at these. When even Halo 4 has better writing and is more open than the majority of the genre, something is very wrong.

I understand wanting to cut back on campaigns, but first it might be worth actually designing them with the intention of making something good and memorable, rather than just showing off your fancy setpieces. Hell, Half-Life 2 was loaded with setpiece porn, but even that had the sense to wrap it with interesting characters and an engaging story.

P.S. Thansk

Li Mu

New member
Oct 17, 2011
TsunamiWombat said:
Shock and horror, the game part of the game takes up 75% of the budget.

Maybe if you put more game in and less overblown moronic set pieces that were expensive and time consuming to make?

PS: Also, Cliffy B? Really? What is this 2006? Shouldn't he be off being irrelevant somewhere?

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?!

Both quoted for the truth.

Perhaps they should try making games which don't take 3 hours to complete! I know games are more expensive to make than ever before, but remember when games used to take us weeks to get through?


New member
Mar 28, 2010
Seems a little misrepresented as I'm sure assets developed for the single player are recycled as much as possible for the multiplayer to avoid doing the same work multiple times.


New member
Jul 23, 2009
Great, so if the single player campaign eats up 75% of the budget, then if you leave the single campaign out and just have multiplayer, you'll take 75% off the price of buying it, right?




New member
Mar 31, 2010
As Jim Fucking Sterling Son said: then you better damn well make sure there is substantially more to the multiplayer in return.

So far, I haven't really seen a single multiplayer-only shooter that does that. Except for the MMO's.


New member
Jun 14, 2011
Don't you guys get it? In a multiplayer only game, 100% of the budget goes to the multiplayer mode.


New member
Dec 28, 2012
So fully-priced AAA multiplayer-only games should have 4 times the content of multiplayer sections in games with a single-player campaign.

Ok, that's the standard I'll be using from now then.


Robots will replace your job
May 28, 2011
I think Mr. Bleszinski has misspoken. In modern AAA games 75% of the budget goes to marketing, not singleplayer.

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?
Well voice actors are very expensive. the MINIMUM charge for a voice actor in an union (read: everyone with a name) is 100 dollars an hour. thats the minimum, often they are paid 200 or even 300 an hour. The "big names" go double that. Considering how much voice acting dialogue there are in games nowadays, that can easily span quite a sum of money and thats just the actors themselves, without taking into account renting studios, editing, effects, ect.


New member
Aug 6, 2009
What do you expect when you create a 10 hour sightseeing tour? I seriously doubt some of the most famous arena shooters in the business spent that much on story, but their stories were great.


New member
Dec 25, 2010
Seth Carter said:
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.

BUT, Cliff knows MP shooters better than anyone. Except maybe Epic themselves of course. If I trust anyone to make a good MP shooter, it's him as well as Epic.

Although... UT4 is looking better and better and better these days. He's got some serious competition.


It's that one guy
Dec 10, 2012
How can a single player campaign cost so much?

Easy, because there's a LOT of unique assets that go into a campaign so that it doesn't feel horrendously boring and samey throughout the 4-15 hour experience that are unlikely to be re-used in any multiplayer mode tacked on.

Lets use an example so we have a good reference point like, say, The Last of Us.

In that shot we can see Joel, several big buildings, various models of cars a few different types of foliage, the road, the wall and fence, some debris.

So what exactly goes into making each of those?

Well, for character models, they're usually sculpted in a modelling program in super high resolution:

That's a timelapse of someone modelling a high resolution model of the Juggernaut. The upperbody. Even at a accelerated rate for the video, just the upper body is an hour of watching be created(It took the dude a month of free time). So figuring design changes and various other things, we can figure a professional could take a few days to hammer out a high resolution model for a single character.

So what happens next? Well, then they need to do ANOTHER model that's a lower resolution so that the game can actually run at an acceptable speed. It's lower resolution, but now we've created two models, both of which take time.

After that, the low poly model is 'unwrapped', in that it's 3d topography is split down until it cleanly lays on a flat 2d surface for texturing purposes. Once that's done, they'll "bake" the high resolution model onto the low resolution model to get what's called the normal map. This lets the low poly game model have the same detail level as the high resolution mesh without the ludicrous polycount.

From there, a texture artist will draw the color texture, and then a specularity texture will be made, which defines what parts of the model are shiney and how shiney.

Pretty much every single 3d asset you see in the above scene went through at least this much work. Every bush, every building, each chunk of debris. Every car. The wall. The lightpost.

Characters, however, also need to be rigged for animation. Someone has to add in a skeleton to the model, and tell each vertex in the game model what bones it uses for animation. Then you have to record animations for the characters. The more fluid the character animation, the greater number of animation clips that need to be recorded. Games like assassin's creed have several hundred and I believe Max Payne 3 had nearly a thousand so that they could blend between them on the fly to get that smooth motion.

Each character animation clip in a AAA studio is motion captured, using an actor performing the motion, often several takes. This then has to be cleaned up and processed by an animator for actual use in the game.

Stuff like foliage also requires additional processing so it can do stuff like sway in the wind.

So now think about when you played through the story of The Last of Us.

How many buildings were there? How many different cars. How many different trees and bushes? Unique signs and billboards? Highway models, blockades. Building interiors with furniture. How many unique character models were there? How many different fungus zombie models? How many unique bandit models were there?

Each and every one of those went through most all the steps listed above. Also consider that an artist needs to create the smoke particle effects, clouds in the skybox, a sound engineer needs to create and process gunshots, footsteps, impacts, dialog.

Then for the cutscenes, they hired actors to levy a powerful emotional performance. They did a full acting routine comparable to some movies for all the cutscenes, and then animators had to clean up and process all those animations too, and sound guys to clean and process the actor's dialog.

Then there's the supporting crews like the guys that go out to record sounds, take pictures of surfaces to help with texture creation, guys working the motion capture equipment and directing the actors.

Sure, character models will get re-used, as will weapons and basic sound effects. A good number of assets too, but all the work for cutscenes, unique characters based in the story, dialog that is only played during the campaign, unique enemies, locales that AREN'T re-used in the multiplayer maps, etc. All of that is sunk cost just for the campaign.

It's astoundingly easy to imagine how they burn through all that cash when it takes that much work to create a single animated model, let alone the hundreds or thousands of unique assets you see across the course of the game, and thinking of the hundreds of people that dedicate tens of thousands of man-hours to produce those assets, all of which takes time.

If a developer did it right, you'll never really think about all this because it just feels 'real', but if you really stop to consider all the work that goes into making even the most basic AAA level that you blow through in 20 minutes, it's pretty surreal.

Meinos Kaen

New member
Jun 17, 2009
... Wait, what? I mean seriously, what? Most of the time campaigns in shooters suck royally. Where exactly does that 75%? Into shades of brown?


New member
Mar 17, 2012
Areloch said:
I'm sure someone will come along and argue with you in more depth but I have a couple of points to make.

1. Your argument is to use a game that was primarily a single player experience. Of course a lot of effort will be done on the campaign.

2. Assets are re-used. Devs make things for single player then pull the assets over to the multiplayer. While the argument can be made that it still means the budget is mostly spent on the single player, a proper understanding of accounting practices would require the value of those assets to be apportioned appropriately between single-player and multiplayer departments or however the budgets are apportioned.

3. You are seriously under-estimating the amount of re-use assets will get. I will accept the argument in the case of The Last Of Us (however, see point 1) but the stuff Cliffy B is famous for is another matter.

4. Assuming this is all completely accurate, there is still one glaring flaw. If 75% of the budget goes to single-player, removing the single-player should see either a massive increase in the quality of the multiplayer or a massive decrease in the games price tag. We have seen neither.