Article Response to: Cliff Bleszinski: FPS campaigns often cost "75% of the budget"
Where are FPS Campaigns Going?
Gears of War creator, now CEO of Boss Key Productions, Cliff Bleszinski was at PAX South over the weekend. His new multiplayer FPS, Lawbreakers was not at the event, but he did sit down with PC Gamer to share the latest on the project, and why more FPS are opting out of a single player campaign.
Bleszinski noted that the movement away from single player campaigns is because, "campaigns cost the most money." He goes on to say, "They usually cost 75% of the budget, and you burn through the campaign in a weekend, and then [players] go to multiplayer."
Shifting from FPS Campaigns
Over the past few years, we’ve seen several high profile games forgo a traditional single player experience, instead shoehorning any sense of story driven solo play into disguised multiplayer scenarios.
Games like Star War Battlefront, Rainbow Six: Siege, Evolve, Titanfall and the upcoming Overwatch are some of the more recent examples. Certainly there is a place for multiplayer and single player focused games (the games listed above are great), however much of the gaming community’s concern is around the pricing of these titles.
In many ways, their concerns are justified. In the recent past, retail priced games for $60 ($80 in Australia) would guarantee players access to a full single player experience and a multiplayer suite to keep them busy long after the campaign credits roll. This is no longer the case. While the content of these titles has been adjusted, and in some cases reduced - the price point has remain fixed.
Many factors have contributed to rise of multiplayer only shooters. As Cliff notes, players burn through a campaign in a weekend, then spend near countless hours slaying friends in multiplayer. Considering the large scale set pieces, number of assets, voice acting, writing and everything else involved in creating today’s campaign - it’s no wonder the campaign budgets skyrocket. Combine these costs with a recent shift in gamer mentality and it’s easy to see why developers have tapped into this trend of multiplayer only shooters. They’re cheaper to make, and sell just as well.
In addition, the ability to expand multiplayer experiences through post launch content allows developers to grow and sustain these multiplayer communities long after launch.
Sales of these FPS show that the popularity of the genre, and the replayability multiplayer offers proves just as successful as if they funneled budget into a single player campaign. In that case, it wouldn’t make sense to adjust pricing, because the demand is thriving.
Alternate pricing models are being explored, and we’ve seen some great free-to-play multiplayer shooters do very well, including Planetside 2, Team Fortress and Tribes Ascend. However, it seems the recent success of the $60 multiplayer only FPS’ has cemented it in our gaming lineups. If gamers have an issue, they will vote with their wallets. If they do, in time, their votes will usher in a new wave of how the industry and its game creators maximize their effectiveness and budgets.
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