Oculus Nearly Matched The Original ‘Gears of War’ Budget To Fund Epic’s ‘Robo Recall’

by Joe Durbin • December 12th, 2016

Oculus is one of the most prolific stimulators of virtual reality content in the industry today. The Facebook-owned company has been funding VR games and projects for years now through Oculus Studios. In October, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally put some numbers onto these ongoing efforts when he revealed that his company had spent $250 million on VR content with a plan to spend at least that much over again in the coming years. These are impressive numbers but it has still never been clear how much Oculus and Facebook are spending on each individual project. Tim Sweeney of Epic Games, however, is clearing some of that mystery up in his typical, outspoken fashion.

During an interview with the programming icon at last week’s VRX conference in San Francisco, Sweeney spoke briefly concerning Epic’s upcoming VR title Robo Recall and the unique nature of its development as an Oculus-funded, Rift exclusive experience.

“In 2006, a world class Triple A game cost 10-20 million to produce now they’ll cost up to 100 million. It’s become so expensive and so risky that only massive publishers can really afford to put these kinds of games out,” Sweeney said. “Oculus has been willing to fund third party software that’s exclusive to their hardware. That’s a perfectly acceptable way to jump start an industry…For example, Oculus is funding Robo Recall which has a budget that’s close to the budget of the entire first Gears of War game.” 

Gears of War is the first entry in what has become a massively successful, exclusive franchise for Micrsofot’s Xbox video game console. The game released in 2007 and that same year an interview with Epic vice president Mark Rein was published by Wired. In that interview Rein states clearly that the budget for Gears 1 was “somewhere between nine and ten million dollars.”

Connecting these dots gives us our best look yet at the types of investments Oculus is making in individual VR content. The fact that Oculus is out there making plays in that range is a hugely important thing for early-stage creators. Game development is risky and without this sort of financing from Oculus Studios, or the newly minted Vive Studios, there would be far fewer reasons to consider getting a headset.

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  • lemon lemonated

    Meanwhile Vive Studios releases a Pong clone and Valve has no news for Vive owners.. :-/

    • RationalThought

      And…..Oculus as a company gets hated for wanting exclusivity for their $$$. As long as it’s original titles I have no problem but when it’s star wars , assassin’s creed or known quantities I think the exclusivity thing sucks but is their choice. I think short timed exclusive (3-months) with heavy Oculus branding when opened to other platform’s is the way to go if they have to go that route.

      • RoJoyInc

        Once developed they will have to eventually filter to vive. So we likely will Benitez too.

      • As long as ReVive stays operational, this won’t be so bad since especially since OC undid the change they did to counter reVive.

    • Jono

      LOL enjoy your rug scale and constant tracking issues. RIft a year late to the touch party and still cant to proper 360 degree roomscale.

      • joemitz

        ^fanboy/troll

      • William Kirsch

        Think your the only one who can understand that mess of a paragraph.

        We need all players in the VR industry to come together to keep making VR better and better. This is such an amazing technology that needs to be demoed to fully appreciate just how startling amazing it is.

        Would really hate to see VR disappear. Robo Recall is what is needed… all these “experiences” and mediocre shovelware games, if they become to prevalent and a newcomer to VR unwittingly purchases these titles and gets put off… VR could suffer.

        • Need more demos. I see no rift demos…Where are they? See next to none.

      • Burstup

        I have both headsets, Vive and Rift. With 3 sensors the roomscale tracking of the Rift is perfect, and for smaller play spaces (2 x 2 meters) 2 sensors are good enough, too. Stop hating, both headsets are great.

        • Roger Bentley

          You sir get my invite. I wish people would enjoy VR as a whole instead of division.

        • 3 Sensors…Geeze.

      • Abc

        Sounds like someone is insecure about their HMD purchase decision. Your post is BS and anyone that has owned both HMDs KNOWS it. I have zero tracking issues in with Rift, and with 3 sensors it’s better than my Vive.

        • UE

          As a rift owner I want to ask you how that works. The vive can get up to around 6.5m square…. I am not seeing myself being able to do that with the rift. I have gotten a 4×4 space so far, which is great and I don’t have room for more than this. But my tests haven’t shown being able to do more when pointing down the hall either.

        • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          I haven’t owned the Vive or ever used it, but I got my Touch controls have the tracking on them has been exceptional. I don’t have the needed space for the Vive which is why it was never under consideration, but I’m not sure exactly how the Vive could actually do a better job of tracking as the Rift is absolutely dead on.

          • Vive as tracking on their controllers as well.

            Also, Vive has an option for standing room setup so you don’t need the space

            Does rift have a function that stops you from tripping over anything?

          • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            The Rift has a “guardian” system where you set the boundaries of the space you’ll be in – it can be any size and shape you want best I can tell. When you’re in game you get this virtual fence, or better a grid, that pops up with like a hot spot marker, so you can see where you’re poking through you preset area at and how much you’re doing so. It works pretty well so long as you set it up properly. The only issue is since I move my Rift around some my desk where I’m sitting, to an area where I have more space which is facing the other direction and down a few feet, I have to move the sensors and your tracking area is based on where the sensors or – so they’re not always accurate if you’re not basically putting it back in the same place. Otherwise it works well. Also I redid my office a bit to give me more space, thus the reason I need to move the sensors when I want room to stand – and it did make a big difference having more space. In the Rift it’s not only standing, you can move around if you got the space for it – also you can use just two sensors to setup 360 coverage. I’m getting a USB extension cable to give that a go and see if it works or not, but I’ve read good things. My space is still limited so I think it might work well – and then when I want to sit at my desk and watch a movie in a huge theater it’s just a matter of turning around one sensor. Love love love the Touch controllers, I can see why people like the Vive so much now.

      • Roger Bentley

        Rugscale lol seems like there are a lot of rift haters here either they can’t afford thee new premium VR experience or broke and can’t afford it and have nothing better to do. I will enjoy robo recall in jan (for free like) unspoken, dead and buried, and all the others stuff.Now get off the rifts balls and stop jumping into rift articles just to troll. It would be like me going to every vive article and talking shit why would I do that, that would be something a jealous or bitter person would do, because he is bored of playing tech demos and have nothing better to do. Shame is I played onward the other day with touch and I can hear the anti rift flaming from a low life viver that should be happy that more people are getting into the party but in reality he is upset that the party isn’t exclusive any more and we are taking all the girls,beers and shitting in your fondue.

        • Alex

          I’m not sure what’s funnier here: the fact that you say this ridiculous middle school shit and then talk about how you wish there wasn’t division in another post here, or the fact that you think girls would be at all interested in said middle school shit.

      • UE

        I get a 4 x 4 meter environment with cameras I mounted to the wall with $3 action camera mounts (3m sticky on the back) the tracking within this environment is the same as the vive. Same occlusion issues and everything.

        It is marginally worse in the same space as the vive was. Go eat a sour lemon and just go enjoy your headset.

        I mean maybe you have that 6.5 x 6.5 m space to wander around in. I don’t and I feel lucky for the space that I do.

    • dmbfk

      yeah man, you got Palmer’s dick deep down your throat :-/ hey if you get 4 constellation cameras up and running you get tracking nearly as good as the HTC Vive’s :-/

      • Ned Hoon

        Sigh…Im going to guess you also have a PS4 and have just grown your first pube.

        • dmbfk

          And I’m going to guess you have one too many chromosomes. Take your unhealthy interest in how many pubes other readers have back to the dark web. This is a family forum and really not the place to indulge in your filthy teenage grooming whims you dirty pedophile.

        • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          I’d guess dmbfk is the type of fella that walks into the boys room at a middle school with a drill in hand, ready to put holes in the bathroom stalls.

          • Grow up

          • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            It was just a guess.

    • chuan_l

      No Valve will announce start of next year —
      They said as much at Steam Developer Days , nobody listened !

    • Full_Name

      What news do you want?

      And Robo Recall is a wave shooter pretty much…

  • wheeler

    Wait, seriously? $10 million for a wave shooter?

    • Darrell Markie

      it’s more about pushing the tech ..gears was more advertisement for the engine then anything but it ended up selling very well.

    • Ned Hoon

      After playing Bullet Train I cant wait for Robo Recall really looking forward to playing this free title.

  • W000t!

  • Darrell Markie

    what we need to be pissed at is psvr exclusives especially Capcom and Resident Evil 7 for a year.

    • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      If Sony is funding them – then so be it. Then again Sony will most likely drop it’s PSVR support by next summer when sales are lower than expected, it’s what Sony does – just look at the PS Eye, the PS Move, the PS Vita and the PS TV. Sony is a bankrupt company outside of Playstation and they need for everything to be a hit or they move on to the next thing, they don’t have any money for longterm thinking at this point. Also the PSVR being hacked together with off the shelf parts to blow out old inventory… and the lack of any big budget games under development, it tells you everything you need to know about the future of PSVR.

  • jimrp

    If we could just get a programm like Quill, Paintbrush and Medium. That includesall the animation and what nots. It would not cost 10mill. Local 4 group on the off time could make high end. But i guess that would kill the money making part.

  • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    This is why games are “exclusive” to Oculus, they’re the ones actually funding the games – and you do that to sell not only software but hardware. HTC certainly isn’t doing anything like that. Look I love the idea of everyone having access to everything – but this is a business, not a commie open love colony. I’d love if HTC and Steam actually put some money into VR, but they don’t – they just whine about Oculus having it’s own format while not doing much to move the VR industry forward. Then even worse are the Vive fanboys who cry like 9 year olds and have zero understanding of economics.

    • You missed the news here they are…Months ago.

      And started Vive Studios.

      • Muhammad Jihad ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Yeah I missed it but looked it up, not very impressive as they give no funding amounts and the first game announced isn’t very impressive. I’d love if HTC and Steam poured money into VR, but until it happens and we see the results I wouldn’t exactly get too excited. We know the number that Oculus and FB have through around, a quarter billion – based on the Vive announcement and their demo I’d be shocked if they’re spending 1% of amount, and I’m not kidding. I honestly hope so, I wish them no ill will, the better Vive does the better VR does as a whole.

        • It was 100 million.

          Valve also acquired a dev team.

  • Molokow chewbacca

    Really.. why did they do that.
    Did oculus pay for this?

    • random_name

      Yes, Oculus paid for the development of the game to be exclusive on the Oculus store.

      • Molokow chewbacca

        Have you played this? You need a solid 5 square meters.

        • random_name

          I have not. Though I am wanting to.