Producing video games isn’t cheap and first-person shooters are no exception. A quick scan of Wikipedia’s most expensive video games to develop list, which you can see here, has two FSP shooters in the top five. But how are the costs broken down? How much does a FPS single player campaign cost, for example? According to Cliff Bleszinski, the founder of Boss Key Productions, a FPS single player campaign costs upwards of 75 per cent of the allotted budget.
In an interview with PC Gamer, the former Epic Games designer spoke candidly about the nature of developing a campaign in the genre, which for many is viewed as a disposable appetizer for the multiplayer section.
“Campaigns cost the most money. They usually cost 75% of the budget, and you burn through the campaign in a weekend, and then you guys go to multiplayer.”
Although surprising, this figure does make a lot of sense when you factor in paying for the voice actors, writers and animating the cutscenes. But still, it is strange that something superfluous in the grand scheme of things, i.e. the half-baked single player campaign most FPS games feature, costs so much.
Later in the piece, the developer — who is currently spearheading free-to-play shooter LawBreakers — offered an assessment of shooter campaigns in the AAA space.
“A shooter campaign is very scripted, linear sequence. Everyone gets it: you’re either doing that – a two-day campaign – or an Assassin’s Creed, Skyrim or Fallout, where it’s this ridiculously large world that’s open-ended, that takes forever to make and costs a load of money. This is order for your average console gamer to avoid the trade-in mentality of the $60 disc-based game.”
Suddenly, it’s not so surprising why Star Wars Battlefront didn’t include a single player campaign.
Do you believe single-player campaigns for FPS games are worth upwards of 75 percent of the budget or is the developer embellishing for dramatic effect? Would you be alright if more FPS games skipped the making of a single player campaign if multiplayer is ultimately the main draw of the game?