Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, discusses Epic’s version of Gears of War 4, claiming that the game would have had a massive budget of around $100 million.
While fans are excited for The Coalition’s Gears of War 4, which will release later this year, original series developer Epic Games once had its own version of Gears of War 4 in development as well. However, Epic sold the rights to Gears of War to Microsoft, and decided to change its business model drastically, and we now know part of that was due to the ballooning budget to develop new Gears of War games.
According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, Epic’s version of Gears of War 4 would have cost $100 million to develop. To put this into perspective, the original Gears of War cost $12 million to develop, and brought in an impressive $100 million in revenue. Fast forward to Gears of War 3, and the budget to create that game was estimated to be anywhere between $48 and $60 million.
The increasing budget for games in the Gears of War series meant that profits for each subsequent release were dipping. Epic Games realized that this business model was not sustainable, which resulted in the company changing course in recent years. Epic has turned away from its roots of developing traditional AAA game releases, instead focusing on Unreal Engine 4, and an upcoming free-to-play MOBA called Paragon.
Perhaps this is why The Coalition’s Gears of War 4 is aiming to be a smaller-scale experience when compared to the later games in the series. Gears of War 4 is going back to 2-player co-op, and the story is set to be more intimate than Gears of War 2 or 3. This approach, wherein The Coalition is affectively narrowing the scope of Gears of War 4, should help the developer save some cash in the long run, and could make the series more profitable than has been possible with recent entries.
Another way Gears of War 4 could turn a profit is by releasing the game on more platforms. The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson is open to Gears of War 4 coming to PC, and if it does, it could be a way for the next game in the series to make even more money. Having said that, it’s not clear if Microsoft would be willing to give up the exclusivity of what is arguably the Xbox One’s biggest 2016 release.
While we don’t know what the budget is for The Coalition’s Gears of War 4, it’s interesting to learn what budget Epic Games had planned for the game. By Epic’s own admission, that kind of budget could have bankrupted the company if Gears of War 4 wasn’t a huge success, and so it was probably a smart move to let a developer with another vision handle the IP instead. While we will never get to play Epic’s version of Gears of War 4, The Coalition’s Gears of War 4 is looking great so far, smaller budget notwithstanding.
Gears of War 4 from The Coalition will be released on October 11th, exclusively for Xbox One.