Lie to Our Fans! Trust me, it works!

Gearbox could not be in a worse position in 2013. After the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines, gamers were pissed. Their reasons were justified, too. Gearbox had pulled a bait and switch with its gameplay videos. The final boxed product of Colonial Marines didn’t even come close to what was shown at E3.

Today, Gearbox is at it again. Randy Pitchford, CEO of the company, took to Twitter to defend the demo they showed for Colonial Marines. In his own words, “To share intent with work-in-progress should be encouraged!” His alternative is to never show a game.

I’m honestly baffled by this. A man who genuinely seemed to enjoy gaming when Duke Nukem Forever was released, I have no idea how Pitchford could even think his actions are redeemable. Gearbox showed off a demo of a game without even noting it was a work in progress. They claimed it was representative of the finished product.

When there are multiple users online uploading videos to YouTube about how your game is a sham, why would you still cling to a lie? Pitchford, sadly, speaks for his entire company, too. I find it impossible to not despise Gearbox even though other employees probably don’t agree with him.

What really grinds my gears is an extended report that Forbes released about the similarities between Borderlands and an MTV short named CodeHunters. Comparing the two games, there are practically like-for-like shots in Gearbox’s brainchild.

gearbox_2

Um, what?!

Now, I’m all for gathering inspiration from another property, but what happened here? This is practically plagiarism. If I were to remake a Hollywood production, I’d be thrown in jail faster than the speed of sound. When Gearbox does it, it just renames the product and suddenly all is forgotten.

It doesn’t help that Borderlands 2 seems tailor-made for DLC. A character that is left out of the game and bonus content not included in the official season pass; how exactly is Gearbox still retaining a fanbase?

I’m really torn about the whole issue. I honestly wanted to try Borderlands 2 as I eventually came around to liking the original. With Gearbox utilizing such scummy business practices, though, should I be supporting the company? Is buying Borderlands 2 in my best interest?

Much like how Microsoft wanted to control its consumers, Gearbox appears content to lie through its teeth and suck our money away. If you can gain enough pre-orders, then polishing off your games doesn’t need to be a top priority.

I’m not going to stand for this anymore. I used to enjoy the classic Gearbox titles like Brothers in Arms and Opposing Force. If Randy doesn’t want to own up about his own false façade, though, then I just won’t allow him to preach anymore.

So, keep on trucking Randy. Say whatever you’d like about your crappy little game. When your business starts to crumble, I’m not going to be the one to rummage through the wreckage and look for your dignity.

gearbox_3

U Mad, Bro?

Written by: Peter Glagowski

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  • Luke Frazier

    Gearbox knows how to make great games when it wants to make them. The original Borderlands was a surprise hit, so every other non-Borderlands 2 project got the short stick. It’s pathetic. Borderlands was sweet, but the trashy way Gearbox business is handled is the reason why I never picked up BL2.

  • Mike Jones

    the colonial marines thing is getting pretty silly of course,but its a little late to back off of it now…as far as borderlands goes,having a cell shaded art style and featuring a bus is hardly plagiarism,i don’t recall anyone in borderlands summoning tornadoes,being imprisoned,or having any of the weapons featured in codehunters….but eh,haters gonna hate

    • DarthDiggler

      It seems this guy read the Forbes article and decided he could do better only the Forbes article wasn’t that great to begin with just a rehash of supposed “controversies” over who inspired the look for Borderlands. They even showcased 2 screenshots of asses that were similar. Like NO ONE in any media has ever predominantly featured a female ass.

      It’s beyond stupid and this isn’t even timely!

  • DarthDiggler

    I am mad bro, because you are not exactly being very even handed with your reporting here and leaving many facts on the table.

    For one the embarrassment that ACM caused GearBox to update the game many times, maybe they didn’t get all the updates on Xbox 360 but on the PS3 the game was much better after the patches than it was before. The aliens didn’t even crawl on the ceiling before the patch. It didn’t perform miracles, but it wasn’t like GearBox didn’t feel a sense of responsibility to their fans.

    In reference to Borderlands and the premium character, Randy Pitchford outlined EXACTLY what the Season Pass would include and they made good on exactly what was promised.

    I have no problem with a game being crafted to handle DLC, it’s far better than the developer trying to shoe horn DLC into a game after the fact. I have no problem with developers trying to make a living. Generally when a game is complete contractors and sent home and employees are given pink slips. DLC helps to stem that tide of employees needing to be shown the door.

    Gamers really need to stop thinking of gaming as something they are entitled to. There are many people who work FAR HARDER than the average gamer where 50 hour work weeks are the norm. I am just sick of this blanket Greed Accusation that any gamer applies to anyone who just wishes to be well paid for their investments in time.

    We pay far less for gaming than we did in the coin-op days and the experiences are MUCH MUCH better.

    • KingSigy

      Gaming is a choice. We chose to pay more in the coin-op days. I can easily chose to pay more, now, but there isn’t a reason. When two generations ago, games shipped with more content, that’s a problem.

      Gearbox also lied to their customers about Aliens. I don’t care if patches have made the game more stable, it’s still a pile of crap.

      I also never said I was entitled to any DLC. If you would read the article, I mentioned who I felt cheated of content. I’m not entitled to it, but usually a business treats their paying customers better.

      You don’t see Valve leaving anything out of their games. If they do, it’s usually released as a FREE content update patch. Valve doesn’t nickle and dime their customers for everything they are worth.

      I also have a tremendous problem with games being tailored for DLC. Look at the Gears franchise. Every game included something new until the latest, Judgement. That game shipped with hardly any maps and actually removed game modes for the sake of DLC.

      I also want to know how you assume these developers are working harder than me. I pulled two part time jobs and worked upwards of 60 hours a week just to make ends meet. Not only that, I did it for barely $9 an hour. If anything, I’m busting my ass more than they are.

      • DarthDiggler

        Gaming is a choice. We chose to pay more in the coin-op days. I can easily chose to pay more, now, but there isn’t a reason. When two generations ago, games shipped with more content, that’s a problem.

        Asteroids gave you never-ending content for $0.25 if you didn’t die.

        If you equate more content to longer games than you may be correct, but that isn’t a fair comparison.

        Two Generations (PS1 days) ago MOST games did not have – – –

        Real Physics.
        Ragdoll Physics.
        No open world games.
        Motion Capture Studios.
        Emotion Capture Studios.
        Full Voice Acting by a real voice actor.
        Not many online experiences (on consoles).
        Draw distance that is more than a few yards.
        720p/1080p rendering that required many more polys to fill.
        Input options were not as great (the original PS1 controller didn’t even have analogs).

        So comparing games of today with games of two generations ago is not only disingenuous to your argument it is not germane. The level of production required on games now and during the PS1 generation has increased significantly. It’s not uncommon for teams of over 100 people to be working on games that would have require a fraction of that for the PS1.

        If you want to live in yesteryear, pickup a PS1 on the cheap, I bet all the games are less than $5! :) Remember you have choices and it sounds like you are not financially suited to handle this generation of gaming.

        Gearbox also lied to their customers about Aliens. I don’t care if patches have made the game more stable, it’s still a pile of crap.

        What did they lie about? They didn’t come out and say — hey this game isn’t as cool as we first intended it to be. That is something that NO developer has ever admitted. Remember how great Haze was supposed to be? Unfortunately the developers of Haze didn’t have a Borderlands to fall back on.

        The fact is the game after the patches was much better than before. While I never saw the scene from E3, they did feature some areas that played similarly to that.

        I paid $60 for it and had buyers remorse, but I am not going to dilute myself into thinking that anything Gearbox puts out is gold. On the other hand I am not going to make grandiose claims about them being inspired by a CG cartoon. Inspiration comes from anywhere there are only so many ways you can do a dessert wasteland using cell shading.

        So what exactly did they LIE about?

        I also never said I was entitled to any DLC. If you would read the article, I mentioned who I felt cheated of content. I’m not entitled to it, but usually a business treats their paying customers better.

        I read the whole article and it was painful LOL. Let’s analyze that phrase PAYING CUSTOMERS. If you buy a game that LACKS DLC, you got what you paid for. Unless the guy at the store tells you that the game comes with all the DLC you haven’t been cheated 1 bit. I don’t care if that DLC is downloadable or on the Disc. Developers have a right to add value to their product, we can bitch about it too, but let us have a sensible mind about it.

        The problem with bitching about ALL DLC like the gaming community collectively does is it just creates noise so that when a developer does do nefarious DLC no one will be paying attention because you guys are always crying wolf. At this point a developer may likely get away with charging people $3.99 to use the X button. :) I am being absurd to demonstrate a point.

        You don’t see Valve leaving anything out of their games. If they do, it’s usually released as a FREE content update patch. Valve doesn’t nickle and dime their customers for everything they are worth.

        Valve is a niche community compared to PSN and XBL. It’s great and I love the way PS+ was inspired by Valve’s Steam Deals (PS+ is a great value for a budget minded gamer like yourself).

        Valve is also 100% digital, no piracy no used game sales. So they have a lot of leverage with that, but they severely limit their audience (which is why PSN and XBL have more users). How much can you get at GameStop for your Digital Copy of Half Life? Who is nickle and diming now?

        I don’t have anything bad to say about Valve and Steam, but you do realize that just because something is successful for one company that doesn’t mean that everyone else can just replicate it and have the same success (otherwise BlackBerry and Windows Phone would have many more users). Sony offers a very good value proposition with PS+, XBL not as much which is why I do most of my gaming business with the Sony platform.

        I also have a tremendous problem with games being tailored for DLC. Look at the Gears franchise. Every game included something new until the latest, Judgement. That game shipped with hardly any maps and actually removed game modes for the sake of DLC.

        Unless you have internal EPIC documents saying that they cut stuff in the game to add as DLC you are ONLY SPECULATING. Not saying that you are wrong, I am saying that without evidence it’s not a fact. :)

        Now from what I hear Judgement did the worst in sales out of the series. Maybe that was a result of the DLC proposition, but God of War Ascension didn’t fare much better and they didn’t have any DLC lined up from day 1. So that doesn’t exactly provide any support for your point at all. It seems it was just a soft market for games at that time. Hard to get people excited about franchises that were starting to run their course.

        I like DLC, I am playing The Last of Us Multiplayer right now and I can tell you that I wish they had some DLC sooner than later. DLC helps keep the game fresh for me, I am ready for new Multiplayer maps and I already beat the campaign (which was much longer than most campaigns this generation). z

        I don’t mind paying for DLC because it keeps game developers, artists and coders employed.

        I also want to know how you assume these developers are working harder than me.

        Well for one they went to a school where they learned this craft, so they have a time sink before they even sit down at a workstation. 50 hour work weeks are mostly the norm, and given their expertise (for coders) they could be using that knowledge in Defense or some other technology that would likely be more profitable for them. When they have a build deadline often people sleep at the office. Sometimes people can go a week without seeing their homes.

        I pulled two part time jobs and worked upwards of 60 hours a week just to make ends meet. Not only that, I did it for barely $9 an hour. If anything, I’m busting my ass more than they are.

        It sounds like you are not out of college yet. I would suggest that some of these developers had the same route as you prior to finding a career in gaming. Likely before they were in college or while they were in college they were working long hours for little pay too. That is just the nature of the beast when you are talking about entry level positions. Hard work low pay generally. It’s why people aspire to do more.

        The fact that you have enough free time to blog an comment on blogs is a clear signal that you have more time than developers. I know developers. My one developer friend’s gaming backlog is unreal. He hasn’t even finished Uncharted 2. I feel bad that he is so passionate about this industry yet doesn’t get to enjoy the fruits of the industry like you and I. Consider yourself fortunate to have so many options with the time you have.

        • KingSigy

          You know what games don’t need. Pretty much everything you listed. I enjoy indie games more than AAA titles and they don’t have Ragdoll physics or real-time lighting or 720p rendering. They have ingenuity and creativity.

          Also, Gearbox passed off their E3 demo as representative of the final product. It was labeled a work in progress, but Randy kept reassuring fans and bloggers that the finished product would be better. It failed to even come close.

          • DarthDiggler

            You know what games don’t need. Pretty much everything you listed. I enjoy indie games more than AAA titles and they don’t have Ragdoll physics or real-time lighting or 720p rendering. They have ingenuity and creativity.

            There is a vast majority of the gaming audience that does enjoy those things. So while I appreciate your preferences I am glad they aren’t the pen-ultimate template for all gaming. All those technologies can be used in a game that also has ingenuity and creativity. I wasn’t aware the gaming community has deemed you the Vanguard of Gaming Quality and your opinion is gospel.

            Also, Gearbox passed off their E3 demo as representative of the final product. It was labeled a work in progress, but Randy kept reassuring fans and bloggers that the finished product would be better. It failed to even come close.

            Now you are just admitting you don’t understand English and you have little understanding of E3, as well as the industry at large.

            Work in Progress never means 100% representative of the final game! (Seriously think about what you are suggesting) The reason why they have the Work In Progress caveat is because they don’t want people thinking the final game will look and act as it does in its current form. These are usually pre-Alpha, Alpha and on occasion Beta games. Not release candidates or code that is going Gold.

            E3 demos are always running on high end rigs, while the developers shoot for that as reference for how they want the game to look often they make concessions to that reference material.

            Every developer / publisher at one point at time at E3 has published materials showcasing gameplay that ends up on the cutting room floor, it is the nature of the beast in this industry. WHY do you think developers are so secretive during development it’s because of ass-clowns like you beating them over the head with things they couldn’t make work.

            What do you expect from licensed material which has had a checkered history?

          • Josh

            Mate, I have watched that E3 video more than a few times. Nearly bought the game because of it. And oh so glad I didn’t. English is my first launguage, and I can hear Pitchford himself say quite clearly in the E3 demo footage that it is in fact actual gameplay footage that you are seeing. I don’t know how you can continue to defend him with evidence like that.

          • Josh

            Oh, and I am a MASSIVE Alien fan. Prometheus pissed me right off. The “story” was complete s****e in CM and does not at all deserve to be considered canon. Hell, I prefer the story in Alien Ressurection to the drivel in what Gearbox (or should I say Timegate?….) spewed out. A:CM belongs with the Amiga E.T carts in a landfill. And THAT is really saying something as I use my copy of Ressurection as a drink coaster :-D

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