Randy Pitchford has said the success of Borderlands enabled the firm to work on the Aliens franchise for SEGA, and while the licence may belong to a company other than Gearbox, it develops the titles as if it were the studio’s own IP.
Speaking in an interview with CVG, the Gearbox boss said the studio works on IPs other than its own out of the love and respect for the contents.
“In some respects our success with Borderlands allows us to work in the Aliens space and really commit to it,” said Pitchford. “When we work with other people’s stuff we don’t really think about it like a licence deal – we’re always going to do our game. I mean, we got involved in the Half-Life stuff because Half-Life wasn’t enough; we wanted to spend more time in that space, and we had ideas of angles we felt were worthy to explore.
“When we did Halo for PC we did it because there wasn’t going to be a Halo on PC, but after playing it on Xbox and knowing how great the multiplayer game was on a LAN I wanted desperately to play that game over the internet. We built a networking infrastructure that allowed it to be played online for the very first time. That was a really fun, difficult and interesting challenge and it was super gratifying to be responsible for doing that.”
Pitchford is also a member of the games as art camp, and believes that if a game is considered as such, they “can handle any” subject no matter how provocative. Case in point: the Lara Croft “rape” debacle from E3 2012.
“I’m going to get cynical and reference the Lara Croft thing,” Pitchford said. “I haven’t even seen the scenes that are contentious, but I do know this – I’m thinking about it, and more people are talking about Tomb Raider. I’m thinking about it more and talking about it more than I have since the first one. So who’s really winning there? Are they changing their game because of the feedback? Who’s really winning?
“If [games are] art, they’re a reflection of society and they can handle anything. I don’t believe there are thought crimes – if videogames are a form of thought and expression, then anything goes.”
Gearbox will release Borderlands 2 on September 18 in the US and on September 21 in the UK for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.