Pitchford: Publishers Are "Wrongly Forcing" Multiplayer on Developers
Written Tuesday, April 05, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Gearbox president Randy Pitchford has told Edge that a focus on feature lists "takes the ability to make good decisions out of the picture," when looking at publishers forcing developers to squeeze multiplayer into games that don't necessarily suit it, in a misguided attempt to 'keep pace' with titles like Call of Duty.
"Let's forget about what the actual promise of a game is and whether it's suited to a narrative or competitive experience," said Pitchford. "Take that off the table for a minute and just think about the concept-free feature list: campaign, co-op, how many players? How many guns? How long is the campaign?
"When you boil it down to that, you take the ability to make good decisions out of the picture. And the reason they do it is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer."
While Gearbox's upcoming Duke Nukem Forever might be suited to multiplayer, Pitchford cites the likes of Dead Space 2 as a prime example of a game that doesn't require a multiplayer component. "It’s ceiling-limited; it’ll never do 20 million units," he said. "The best imaginable is a peak of four or five million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: ‘How do I get a higher ceiling?’ And they look at games that have multiplayer.
"They’re wrong, of course. What they should do instead is say that they’re comfortable with the ceiling, and get as close to the ceiling as possible. Put in whatever investment’s required to focus it on what the promise is all about."
The full interview with Randy Pitchford will be in the latest issue of Edge. Duke Nukem Forever is out on June 10th worldwide and June 14th in North America.