Borderlands Franchise interview

Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford has popped up for a new interview over at, with the primary topic of conversation being around the past, present, and future of the shooter-looter Borderlands franchise, with a few other industry-related questions thrown in for good measure. A sampling:

Q: When you're operating at the budgetary scale of AAA, any risk is a potential disaster for the company. With fan-feedback of ever-increasing importance, how do you go about persuading an audience in love with an existing universe that they need something new?

Randy Pitchford: I agree that with any big risk comes potential for failure, but I don't think that the potential for failure of AAA budgets has much to do with your question. I believe that not taking a risk is probably the biggest risk of all, though, so betting big just goes with the territory for AAA. We've had some financial disasters as well as incredible financial success in our past. We seem to be batting a thousand when we do original things, so there may be a bias there. It's a very stimulating business!

I'm not sure if you're serious or not about new things. We can love many things that already exist, do we not? And yet all of us might also get excited about new things, correct? I'm not sure how you're relating one's ability to enjoy something that already exists with one's ability to potentially enjoy something new. I mean, I suppose there might be some people out there that will never be interested in any new things, but I don't believe I have ever met anyone like that.

I think the challenge with offering new things is the same as it ever was. Before we launched Borderlands, it felt impossible to get any attention. Now in hindsight it is extremely successful and yet most random non-gamers haven't ever heard of it. It's always a challenge to break through, but it is a thrill to try!


Q: Your recent hire of Paul Sage raised some interesting chatter about the direction of your forthcoming games. Are we going to see you make a move into the MMO space?

Randy Pitchford: There's been chatter? Cool! Paul is very smart. He told me he wanted to move back to Texas and that he really likes Borderlands and he has a lot of great ideas. I think he has a lot to offer video games and I have already learned some things from him and am glad to get the chance to work with him.

As for what it means? It just means that Paul is at Gearbox. We haven't talked publicly about anything we might be doing for the future of Borderlands, but I appreciate how you want to try to read the tea leaves on this stuff.

There is a Borderlands On-Line game in development for Asia - I am very curious to see where that goes.