Pitchford: Multiplayer "can't be forced"

randy pitchford

For anyone who has ever been disappointed by a multiplayer mode that felt "tacked on", Gearbox President Randy Pitchford, the head honcho in charge of the Duke Nukem revival, understands. In a recent interview with EDGE, Pitchford discussed his distaste and sympathy for developers who add features to games that he says "can’t be forced."

In particular, Pitchford took aim at multiplayer modes for traditionally campaign-driven series, an addition he sees as purely business.

"Let’s forget about what the actual promise of a game is and whether it’s suited to a narrative or competitive experience," he commented. "Take that off the table for a minute and just think about the concept-free feature list: campaign, co-op, how many players? How many guns? How long is the campaign?

"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."

Dead Space 2 made it onto Pitchford’s list of unnecessary multiplayer perpetrators. Speaking of Visceral’s survival horror series, Pitchford said, "It’s ceiling-limited; it’ll never do 20 million units. The best imaginable is a peak of four or five million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: ‘How do I get a higher ceiling?’ And they look at games that have multiplayer.

"They’re wrong, of course. What they should do instead is say that they’re comfortable with the ceiling, and get as close to the ceiling as possible. Put in whatever investment’s required to focus it on what the promise is all about."

Given his stance, it’s safe to assume that the already announced multiplayer mode for Duke Nukem Forever will be under Pitchford’s watchful eye.  The Duke will make his long-awaited return on June 14 in North America on PC, PlayStation 3, and the Xbox 360.



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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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