Gearbox CEO decries games with ill-fitting multiplayer

— 9:13 AM on April 6, 2011

Ever get the feeling today's games try to be jacks of all trades, all too often shoehorning in multiplayer components that don't really fit? Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford seems to feel that way, judging by an interview he recently gave to the folks at Edge Magazine.

The way Pitchford sees it, the blame lies with game publishers, who are more interested in ticking off bullet points—"campaign, co-op, how many players? How many guns? How long is the campaign?"—than delivering something cohesive. That approach has its problems:

When you boil it down to that, you take the ability to make good decisions out of the picture. And the reason they do it is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer. You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can't be forced. That's the problem.

Edge says Pitchford pointed to Dead Space 2 as an example. I haven't had a chance to play that game, but from what I can tell, it blends a survival horror single-player campaign with objective-centric, team-based multiplayer.

Of course, it's all about appealing to as many types of potential gamers as possible. I still wish publishers had the courage to back more immersive, single-player-only games, though, even if they don't have the potential to gross as much. I've had far more fun playing titles like Mirror's Edge and Portal than shooting my way through endless clones of Call of Duty's multiplayer.

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