Gearbox Wonders Why People Aren't Ripping Off Borderlands

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Gearbox Wonders Why People Aren't Ripping Off Borderlands

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"We're in an industry where people do nothing but steal from each other," says Gearbox boss, Randy Pitchford.

Gearbox's Borderlands was a tremendous success. It was well received by critics, and it clocked up over 2 million sales, an impressive figure for a new IP. But, despite nearly three years on the market, it's still the only title filling its particular shooter/RPG niche, at least until Borderlands 2 arrives later this year. Gearbox CEO, Randy Pitchford, is wondering where all the imitators are at.

"I'm actually astonished that we're about to launch a sequel and no one's stole it from us," he told Gamasutra. "The formula's right there. No one's stolen it yet. That's weird. We're in an industry where people do nothing but steal from each other. That's kind of interesting, isn't it? Not that I want anyone to steal it, or I'm challenging people to steal it."

While many developers seem intent on fighting for the Call of Duty crown, Pitchford questions why developers don't just avoid the competition by trying new things.

"Why let our brains get beat in and put so much energy, when we're not even sure we can beat the best boxer? We can create new sports, or we can win some other sport," he said. "If you're the only ones that do something that people find as valuable? You don't have to worry about competition. Like, Borderlands has zero competition. It doesn't have to worry about that at all."

Of course, that kind of lightning-in-a-bottle idea presents a problem when it comes to marketing. Announce your product too early, and you run the risk of opportunistic imitators beating you to the market. Announce it too late, and you won't have an audience when it comes out.

"When talking about Borderlands 1, it was really confusing, because on one hand we gotta scream from the highest mountain to get attention because it's a new IP," Pitchford added. "On the other hand, it's like, "shit, we don't want to tell people our secret because then they're all gonna copy it because it's so good."

We'll get to see if Borderlands 2 winds up as successful as its predecessor when it's released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on September 18th.

Source: Gamasutra

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I find it funny how the industry is littered with so many clones and copies that a developer is actually surprised they didn't get their idea stolen by a rival trying to make a quick buck

In b4 "Borderlands ripped off Diablo/Mass Effect/Dragon Age...

But honestly, your game is fun. And according to Activision, Blizzard, and EA, fun doesn't sell. So there's your answer.

Because your game would actually require effort to copy. Activision farts out a new CoD every year because it is so easy to make.

Considering that Borderlands is Diablo with guns, I'd say there's not a lot original to rip off.

Buretsu:
Considering that Borderlands is Diablo with guns, I'd say there's not a lot original to rip off.

What, besides its distinctive visual style, clever writing and wickedly dark sense of humor?

NameIsRobertPaulson:
In b4 "Borderlands ripped off Diablo/Mass Effect/Dragon Age...

But honestly, your game is fun. And according to Activision, Blizzard, and EA, fun doesn't sell. So there's your answer.

It doesn't really rip-off Mass Effect or Dragon Age in any way shape or form. o.O That said though, you did call it about 2 posts in advance. ;P

Anyway, I'd normally just chalk this up to some developer feeling like patting himself on the back, but I think in this case he's allowed to. Borderlands WAS a big success, but despite that we haven't seen anyone else try and do the whole FPS/RPG thing. It's like a big financial success somehow slipped under the radar of every no-risk stalk investor in the market. Which is kind of a shame, because sometimes those "Me Too" games can be really good (sometimes), and it'd have been interesting to see if any new ideas came out of it despite being a bunch of copycats.

It's a first person shooter with RP elements thrown in, not a new idea or concept.

I wonder too, Borderlands is really the only game I can think of that combines the Diablo style into a full blown shooter that actually feels like a shooter, instead of an RPG with guns in first person perspective (I'm looking at you, Fallout).

Still, the game was/is seriously fun and I'll may keep playing it even after BDS2 comes out, so yeah, the guy has all the rights to brag about the game.

That's easy: It's because Cage the Elephant hasn't written another big hit yet.

I really loved Borderlands to be quite honest. It was funny, beautifully cell-shaded (love it when games do that), and was great to play with friends. The fact it was cell-shaded was really surprising to me because not many games seem to do that; only couple of ones that pop in my head are Wind Waker and Crackdown 1 and 2. Any others please tell me. Anyway, while the story really wasn't that good it really made up for it with it's other charms which I find other companies that just rehash the same game or the same elements in the games to get boring for me really fast. Really excited for Borderlands 2 and I really hope it is as successful as Borderlands was.

It *has* been ripped off. RAGE was a Borderlands wannabe in almost every way, even down to having a horrible ending. Now, I'm not 100% sure if Rage was in production when Borderlands came out, but the similarities are pretty striking.

On another note, Borderlands' playstyle pretty much ripped off that of Hellgate London, or at least regarding the loot drops and party-play.

Way to be original on that point :P

That aside, Borderlands has an amazing atmosphere and setting. Let's hope that they don't repeat the utterly stupid ending of the original installment, that was seriously bad.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
In b4 "Borderlands ripped off Diablo/Mass Effect/Dragon Age...

...what?

...

I seriously can't come up with any reason why you would think the last two were even remotely good examples.

Hurray for double posting.

Neronium:
The fact it was cell-shaded was really surprising to me because not many games seem to do that; only couple of ones that pop in my head are Wind Waker and Crackdown 1 and 2. Any others please tell me.

XIII comes to mind, I think it was the first "properly" cell-shaded game. It was one of their selling points apart from being comic-styled, in the way that when you killed people in a certain way, there'd spring up a sort of comic strip, with the kill in 3 frames. Also some of the story progressed in the same style.
Please note that this is a pretty old game, the textures are fairly bad, even for its time because it relied heavily on single color polygons.

ITs not Call of Duty. So thats not really a minus, its a big, fucking plus.

Smilomaniac:
snip

Thanks, I'll check that out. Again sucker for cell-shading really and I've heard good things about XIII.

Suddenly, Borderlands clones, hundreds of them.

Smilomaniac:
It *has* been ripped off. RAGE was a Borderlands wannabe in almost every way, even down to having a horrible ending. Now, I'm not 100% sure if Rage was in production when Borderlands came out, but the similarities are pretty striking.

On another note, Borderlands' playstyle pretty much ripped off that of Hellgate London, or at least regarding the loot drops and party-play.

Way to be original on that point :P

That aside, Borderlands has an amazing atmosphere and setting. Let's hope that they don't repeat the utterly stupid ending of the original installment, that was seriously bad.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
In b4 "Borderlands ripped off Diablo/Mass Effect/Dragon Age...

...what?

...

I seriously can't come up with any reason why you would think the last two were even remotely good examples.

Mass Effect was a shooting RPG where you spend a lot of time upgrading weapons. It's close enough for someone to make a stupid comparison.

That's because the Borderlands 2 trailer had all the wub wubs.

Nobody can copy it if all the wub wubs have been taken.

Well Borderlands ripped it's entire atmosphere from Fallout, right down to the 50's style billboards and little mascot.

Though unlike the Vault boy, Clap Trap lacks the funny dark humor and feels more like "LAWL SO RANDUM".

I gotta ask, what is there to rip off in the first place?
Did Borderlands even bring anything new to the table?

orangeapples:
Because your game would actually require effort to copy. Activision farts out a new CoD every year because it is so easy to make.

While that may be true on some level, it's also true that many others have tried to make copies of CoD and have failed miserably either in sales or quality or both. It can't be that easy.

If it had been a bigger hit it would indeed have been copied. I personally found the game to be pretty boring and to this day haven't bothered to finish it because of that. Even the cell shading was hardly new. It just wasn't used often. It's a niche game in a genre (shooter RPGs) that other games, *coughfalloutcough* seem to pull off better.

Wasn't Bulletstorm (had to force my brain to remember the name of the game) supposed to be the arcady humorous pseudo rip off of Borderlands? I didn't play it, and don't know anyone that did, but it had Steve Blum and lots of cursing I think.

Honestly though, I can't really think of a game that has ALL the elements that Borderlands has at the same time. I can list funny games with cartoonish cellshaded violence (No More Heros), games that are shooters but have skill trees/level ups (Deus Ex/Fallout), and games with lots of randomly generated loot (Diablo), but only one I know of that has all that and Moxxi's bewbs...I mean loveable Clap Trap -_-;

And they hold the world record, which the sequel is shattering, of the most guns in any game ever. If you just add in all the mods, shields, etc. of which there is waaaay more new kinds in BL2 they are pretty well blowing the loot benchmark away.

I mean in Skyrim you might find one of about 20 different kinds of the same 8 types of weapon, possibly with an enchantment. Ditto with armor/rings etc.

And the game just goes on and on and on, and I'm still playing it. My point is that they get away with having almost no incentive to actually loot chests and enter dungeons, compared to BL which can have something awesome literally pop up several times an hour that completely changes your playstyle because you found a sweet new item and wanna use it.

Its a "ooh I found a glass helm of waterbreathing to disenchant" vs. "I just found a shotgun that shoots rockets AND a sniper rifle that shoots acid. Guess I'll retire my alien lightning bolt shooter... ooh shiny!" (\(^3^)/)

Mortuorum:

Buretsu:
Considering that Borderlands is Diablo with guns, I'd say there's not a lot original to rip off.

What, besides its distinctive visual style, clever writing and wickedly dark sense of humor?

Borderlands had humour? Since when?

Wait, let me read that again. Borderlands had writing? Since when?

I wouldn't call cell shading distinctive.

Mortuorum:

Buretsu:
Considering that Borderlands is Diablo with guns, I'd say there's not a lot original to rip off.

What, besides its distinctive visual style, clever writing and wickedly dark sense of humor?

I don't remember Diablo having rocket launchers that fired rockets that also fired smaller rockets.

Daystar Clarion:
That's because the Borderlands 2 trailer had all the wub wubs.

Nobody can copy it if all the wub wubs have been taken.

but, it's only 96.5% wub wub... what about the other 3.5%.... WHAT IS THE OTHER 3.5%!!!

Not everyone in the video game industry rips each other off....

...Just the mobile developers..

It is just another loot-em-up with a camera change, what could people rip off?
Cell Shading? Ok sure, but most other devs can get their graphics to work so they don't need cell shading.
Dull, repetitive gameplay? Plenty of games do that.
Fifty gazillion guns that are more like twenty with tiny variations? Why bother?
Horrible, horrible, PC Port? Plenty of devs were already doing that.

I fail to see anything unique about Borderlands that would warrant copying.

octafish:
It is just another loot-em-up with a camera change, what could people rip off?
Cell Shading? Ok sure, but most other devs can get their graphics to work so they don't need cell shading.
Dull, repetitive gameplay? Plenty of games do that.
Fifty gazillion guns that are more like twenty with tiny variations? Why bother?
Horrible, horrible, PC Port? Plenty of devs were already doing that.

I fail to see anything unique about Borderlands that would warrant copying.

Darn, that's what I was going to say. Well, I was going to type an abridged version, but you put it very nicely.

I always used to wounder the same thing about smash brothers and to this day nobody is doing a fighter like theirs. Even PS all stars is fairly different and that took over a decade to step up as even a remote challenger.

Probably because your game was a boring single player MMO with a boring setting and idea.

But I'm in the minority in that opinion.

Smilomaniac:
It *has* been ripped off. RAGE was a Borderlands wannabe in almost every way, even down to having a horrible ending. Now, I'm not 100% sure if Rage was in production when Borderlands came out, but the similarities are pretty striking.

I'm pretty sure that Rage was in production long before Borderlands was conceived. (What else would id have been doing since Doom 3?) Besides, Rage does not qualify as an RPG, imo.

What is borderlands other than some weird Fallout copy? I do not know

Call of duty:FPS
Borderlands:FPSRPG

Its because making a generic FPS is easier then copying a shooter with RPG elements. Every little 10 year old would be more likely to shoot like a psycho then look for the stats on a gun. Children these day usually hack anything with an RPG element to them, really anything that need them to think harder than "SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT KILL KILL KILL" as far as I can tell. I have a little brother I know. Besides Borderlands has a nice funny theme rather than generic emo depression FPS bull I've seen.

Also I'd rip off borderland if someone offerd me the chance too.

Well you can't say Randy doesn't speak his mind.

Lets hope we don't see a surge of shit copy cat titles.

DVS BSTrD:
That's easy: It's because Cage the Elephant hasn't written another big hit yet.

God damn I loved that opening cutscene. I might just go and start a new character right now.

I would copy the best thing of Borderlands, but I doubt I could get Ashly Burch to voice a character in my game.

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