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Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford candidly talks Aliens: Colonial Marines’ “graphical downgrade”

by Joey Davidson | July 24, 2015July 24, 2015 10:40 am PDT

Randy Pitchford, the CEO of Gearbox and the man who receives a whole lot of hate for, whether justly or not, hyping Aliens: Colonial Marines before launch, has granted Eurogamer a lot of time to chat about whatever they want. The result is a compelling interview that teases out a lot of what went on with Colonial Marines, Pitchford as an excited developer and the odd marketing behind the game.

You should read the interview if you’re at all interested in the microcosm that is the gaming industry or the track record of Aliens: Colonial Marines. I went ahead and grabbed a few great segments for your consideration here.

Here’s one of my favorite bits from the chat.

Eurogamer: …I think much of the feeling about Aliens and yourself is based on an idea people feel misled by gameplay footage released before the game came out. I’d love to get your take on that specific point.

Randy Pitchford: It’s hard to deal with without talking with any specific individual. Because I have engaged some people on this, and invariably there are slightly different things. One guy I engaged with was like, well, you know, I just thought it was crap when all these Weyland-Yutani soldiers showed up.

Another person I engaged with it was like, the aliens were really stupid, they just sort of ran at me. I was like, kind of like they did in the movie? They’re bugs. What are you expecting? Smart flanking manoeuvres? It’s kind of weird.

Eurogamer: I’ll make a specific point, which is the graphical quality of the game.

Randy Pitchford: What about the graphical quality of the game? I thought it was great.

Eurogamer: Really?

Randy Pitchford: Yeah. So one decision that was tricky was, there’s platform parity issues, so a PS3 is not as strong as an Xbox 360, which is not as strong as a state of the art PC. So if you play the game on a PC you’re getting the best graphics. And whenever they make trailers, they always use the PC version. But it’s kind of a trick, the fact that PC content is used to market the game when there’s different versions. Pick any game.

What’s weird to me about the interview is that Pitchford’s personality seems to flip back and forth between insanely passionate and excited developer to man on a mission of business. I know the two can absolutely be one in the same, but I don’t think the gaming community at large likes it when business mixes with passion. That, I think, is what makes folks not like Pitchford’s responses to these questions.

One more before we go.

Eurogamer: Are you suggesting this feeling some have of being misled by the footage they saw of the game when they compared it to the game they bought is because of some kind of platform parity?

Randy Pitchford: No, not at all. When people were playing the final game and just thinking about the graphics in general, I think that had an effect for PC gamers, and I think that effect probably affected the zeitgeist.

The actual trailers, the actual promotional material, it’s the same as every video game campaign that’s ever happened, where, okay, here’s a thing that’s kind of quick cuts, okay, here’s something they did with a CG thing… that’s just the publisher selling the game and using the content. As far as I know, all that stuff was straight up. All that stuff was above board. I didn’t make those materials. I didn’t cut them. I don’t know. But the publisher just has the game to work with.

This is premise you’re trying to get at, and this is another conspiracy theory: let’s trick people, and that’s how we’re going to make money on this.

The full interview is much longer, and, like I said, if you find yourself interested in the gaming world and its business, you should read it. Hit the source link below.

Eurogamer

Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...

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