CliffyB Says FPS Campaigns Take up 75% of The Budget

Areloch

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Dec 10, 2012
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MiskWisk said:
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.
Sure, but I could easily have nabbed a picture from any of the call of duty games, or battlefield games as well. People tend to go to those for the multiplayer, but they have the same kind of effort put into them for the singleplayer campaign too(for better or for worse).

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.
Ah, but I did point out that assets can be reused. And I'm not underestimating how much re-use occurs. But it's a fact that most multiplayer games that re-use certain single player levels for their combat spaces don't use the entire SP level, instead making a section of it a walled-off arena(CoD does this a lot).

Buildings, foliage, cars, etc can all get a re-use here, but given that large parts of the SP map won't be used in the MP arena space, those unused sections are still SP-only assets and therefore sunk-cost to the campaign.

This goes further for cutscene animations and dialog, campaign-specific dialog chatter, scripted set-pieces and so on.

Lets go with what you were saying about using a game that's 'MP focused' like, say, Modern Warfare 3. The Black Friday level at the start, as far as I can remember, doesn't really see a re-use much at all in the MP. Most of the mission - the various city streets, the office buildings you work through, the stock exchange, the rooftops, the underwater segment, the boat segment. All the exploding ships at the end, the scripted setpieces, the helicopter shootout, the various dialog bits occuring, etc.

Heck, even the loading screens are custom animations that provide a tidbit more story or faux briefing for that particular campaign level.

None of that sees re-use in the MP at all. And as was pointed out by others, actors are expensive, so any dialog or motion-capture animations done by them exclusively used in campaign sequences are big sunk costs for the campaign that won't ever get utilized by the MP.

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.
See, now THAT is a different issue. However it's also really, really important too. That's more of a "We only spent 10 million on the game rather than 70 million" situation. I agree, one would think that the price tag would decrease, but 'maximized profits' and all that fun fun publisher shenanigans.

$60 is the assumed price tag for a AAA game(or whatever the average cost is for your country of choice), so they don't really have any reason to NOT charge that. It just means they make back way more cash than if they went all-in on a full singleplayer campaign. That's honestly probably why MP-only games got so popular in the AAA space, even if it meant the rate of consumption slows.

Beat a campaign over a weekend, you're ready to buy and consume another game. But if you really like CoD's MP, you'll play that all year. MP-only games may have a slower rate of consumption, but they offset the potential loss in consumer spending by the higher price-tag to how much unique content is in the game. I mean, which is better to you? Make 100 million bucks after spending 70 million(30m profit) or make 100 million after spending 10(90m profit).

Disagreeable as it may be, not hard to see why the price tag doesn't budge.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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I've no trouble believing it. Most of the mo-cap, voice acting, writing, scripting and general programming will go into the campaign. All the really expensive things are mostly seen in single player (mo-cap and celebrity voice actors) and single player requires more people to work on it since it involves heavy scripting, plotting and all the other stuff you need when you want actors to run around doing pre-determined things. In contrast multiplayer can be done with a far smaller team, since a lot of the workload with single player can be dropped (do you even need AI programmers, three celebrity voice actors, half a dozen mo-cap actors and the writing team for MP? Unlikely) and much of the work is about completing assets (weapon models, maps, player models etc.) and moving on to another bunch of assets.

All that budget doesn't necessarily make the single player good, but considering what goes into it it is bound to be expensive.
 

Flathole

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Aren't many assets shared by both? Like, I dunno... the game's engine? Graphical models, environments, items, core mechanics etc... seems like you could say 75% or 25% for the exact same game.

Either way, I'm not paying $60 for a lazy 5-hour campaign (with 3 hours of cutscenes).

Remember Starcraft: Brood War? It dominated the MP scene for years, and the multiplayer was simply the established gameplay, often in locations from the campaigns, or player-made maps.
 

Yuuki

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Battlefront is living proof that the whole "sacrifice singleplayer for better multiplayer" is a load of BULLSHIT, because that game launched with absolutely fuck-all content and features. Absolutely barebones and utterly stripped-down...yet EA had the balls to charge full price for it. It's a hollow shell of a game (albeit very beautiful) and pretty much everyone can agree it's worth $25-30, maybe $40 at a stretch.

But I none of that matters anyway because PS4/XBO owners lapped it up and EA are rolling in money.
 

Pseudonym

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I think Jim Sterling made a good point when he said (I'm paraphrasing from memory here) that he wasn't interested in what a game lacked, but in what it did do. Not having a campaign is fine, but if your multiplayer is lacking as well (by most accounts, evolve is a good example of this) then I'm not interested in your game anymore. It just doesn't have a lot of content and what it has isn't that good. The idea that multiplayer (or singleplayer) only games can be more focussed and have their budget all on one thing is nice, but as we have seen there have been games that had no singleplayer (or no multiplayer) and that still sucked.
 

CaitSeith

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Gundam GP01 said:
Jesus Christ.

If nothing else, let this thread be proof that people on the internet dont read the thread before posting, even when somone explicitly answers their question not only less than 5 posts before theirs, but literally the post immediately before.
Life's to short to read 65 whole posts before giving an opinion.
 

Snotnarok

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Soviet Heavy said:
If that is the case, why are developers pushing for multiplayer only experiences, stating they can reallocate the resources to make multiplayer even better? And then we still get a barebones Battlefront despite it having a huge budget.
That, is apparently because Disney told them they cannot break canon so they're not allowed to mix and match with the new movies. What that has to to with the limited levels, small character customization, simplistic shooting and flying, I Don't know but that's the excuse they gave.

OT:
Isn't this how it's supposed to be? Most of the budget on EVERYONES favorite shooter from the 90's, Golden Eye, the multiplayer was tacked on and not even approved till the last minute.
Some shooters, yes should entirely be just multiplayer because they can build a bigger and better game and focus on longevity and community vs kicking a new one out ...every year...with DLC filling the gaps.

Look at TF2, great game, lots of content to be had, maps, items, weapons etc and it's never been a full price title. It's a great time. Battlefield should probably be only campaign as well. I played 3 single player and it was a joke. It felt more like a ride than playing a game, where you were forced to experience big events but you really didn't feel in control of the character or events.

Single player is great, hell I played some of the recent Call of Duty Black Ops and it was ...surprisingly good fun. But devs focusing on both are going to lose quality on either end it seems.
 

votemarvel

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75% of the budget may be taken by the single player campaign but how many of those assets are recycled for the multiplayer portion of the game?

Animations, levels, weapon design and sound effects....I could go on. Just how much of the multiplayer needs to be created solely for the multiplayer?
 

Tommy1138

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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.
GoldenEye and Perfect Dark probably were no more than 3 hours long from beginning to end as well and those had an awesome campaign on top of amazing multiplayer.

Bilious Green said:
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.
Then don't hire Kevin Spacey then. Heaven knows there are some amazing voice actors out there in both the gaming and animation worlds that could easily do the job and are ten times cheaper. Heck I couldn't tell you who voiced over Niko or Roman Bellic in GTA 4 but they were memorable characters while the Kevin Spacey guy was just Kevin Spacey with what looked like greasy skin.
 

Tommy1138

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Bilious Green said:
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.
Then don't hire Kevin Spacey then. Heaven knows there are some amazing voice actors out there in both the gaming and animation worlds that could easily do the job and are ten times cheaper. Heck I couldn't tell you who voiced over Niko or Roman Bellic in GTA 4 but they were memorable characters while the Kevin Spacey guy was just Kevin Spacey with what looked like greasy skin.
 

Nazulu

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Jun 5, 2008
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Blow over in a weekend? Pffft. Then design it so it's worth coming back to, or make a game with a lot to do that's interesting. Or do we not care about making a special experiences anymore CliffyB? Just make something that can make money back, and then rip people off with micro-transactions or something. I gather that since they seemed concerned in how gamers just get through the campaigns over a couple of days.

Either way this has been screwed up.