Friday, January 18, 2013
Plano video game developer Gearbox chose not to make Call of Duty
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said he would have to play by too many rules, according to a German publication.
PLANO Gearbox’s smash hit Borderlands games, developed in Plano, have sold very well. But few things approach the ridiculous numbers that yearly Call of Duty releases pull in every holiday season. While not exactly a series known for its originality, CoD is a powerhouse when it comes to dollars made.
So if your video game studio has an opportunity to make the next Call of Duty game, do you say “no”?
“I don’t think there’s anything to accomplish there,” Pitchford told the publication, as-translated. “I think if I was only in it for the money I would’ve done that.[...] I think to do Call of Duty right you need to do what needs to be done and there are a lot of people who can do that. For us it wouldn’t add to our credibility, it wouldn’t move us forward. There would be no significant challenge that would be gratifying to overcome.”
That’s not meant as a jab at the popular shooter series, the games in which Pitchford himself said are “really good.” Rather, he wasn’t excited by the idea that there wasn’t much room for Gearbox’s unique stamp on the game. “For me, there are two scenarios in which a project makes sense for Gearbox,” he said. “First, if there would have been the game without us ever. Or two, when we can contribute to an existing brand something new, a kind of unique perspective and a new approach.” Evidently he didn’t see that second scenario with Call of Duty, as “you have to play by the rules of the series.”
On one hand, you could say this is a shame, because Gearbox is full of creative people who probably could have shaken up the Call of Duty franchise in interesting ways (though doing so would risk the wrath of many who buy the newest CoD games every year, expecting the same sort of experience). On the other, it means Gearbox can continue doing the stuff they already do really well, on their own terms. And heck, if they really want to make a real-world war shooter, they have their own Brothers in Arms series they can work in.
In any case, props to Pitchford and Co. for turning down what would potentially be a guaranteed bestseller in favor of doing work that excites them.
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