Borderlands is a unique take on shooter RPG hybrids, which means it doesn’t have to compete with rivals – a deliberately established market position, according to Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford.
Speaking at DICE Summit 2013, as reported by GamesIndustry, Pitchford said that forcing gamers to choose between your product and somebody else’s can have negative results.
As consumers only have so much money, time and anergy to invest in entertainment products, they have to make a choice – one platform over another, for example – and because they’ve made a “good” choice, the rejected option becomes a “bad” one, Pitchford said. That’s how we end up in console fanboy comment thread wars. It doesn’t matter how good both choices are – only that, by default, each side has to be the villain for the other.
The Gearbox boss said developers shouldn’t let their games end up in a position like that, and took that mindset into Borderlands.
“We don’t like going head-to-head with good things because we don’t want to be the loser,” he said.
“We blended genres in Borderlands so we were the only choice – we couldn’t be the loser among consumers’ choice. It’s not a Coke or Pepsi decision – it’s a yes or no decision.”