Did You Know That Gearbox Turned Down A Call Of Duty Game?
Well, did you? Because it’s true, you know.
In an interview that shocked my system and broke my brain, Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford revealed that the studio was approached to develop a Call of Duty game, as part of the long-running series that has dominated game sales charts ever since that fourth iteration blew the world away (literally) and what’s amazing is, they turned down the offer. Why? Because they saw ‘no real challenge’ in taking the job.
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Now, don’t get me wrong here, I loved Borderlands 2 last year and I would rate it as a serious contender for 2012’s best game, inb4 games as art debate, but even I sat back at such a statement and called ‘hubris’ at such a response. I have a lot of faith in Gearbox when they’re doing what they do best, but ‘no real challenge’ smacks of cockiness on entirely new levels. Poor Treyarch.
Anyway, during the interview Pitchford said that Gearbox only develops a game “when we can contribute to an existing brand something new – a king of unique perspective and a new approach. But this was not the case here.”
Okay mister Pitchford but with all due respect, would you care to explain Duke Nukem: Forever?
In any case, his justifications seem solid when you consider what he said next, which is basically that given how much of money the Call of Duty series makes for Activision, it would not have allowed for much flexibility had his studio accepted the opportunity. They might well have been expected to follow the exact formula used by Infinity Ward and Treyarch instead of trying new things. And I think that’s a fair point.
“You have to play by the rules of the series,” he explained. “You have to do what is expected of a Call of Duty. In this I see but no real challenge for us. It would [not] strengthen our reputation as a studio, it would not be really motivating for our team.”
And there you have it. Amazing, isn’t it? That the world’s most popular gaming franchise (currently) was avoided by a development studio, when offered the opportunity to contribute, because of the negative stigma attached. What do you think about this? Because honestly I can understand where Pitchford is coming from, with such a statement. I do think calling it ‘no real challenge’ smacks of a smugness that I would prefer to not see from my game developers, but he makes a good point in saying that development would be restricted. On that much, I can agree. Thoughts?