Gearbox Admires Portal Philosophy

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Gearbox Software’s Chief Executive Officer espouses the Portal way of developing and designing original games.

Randy Pitchford, the Gearbox head and outspoken supporter of new game development technologies, explained to GamesIndustry.biz how Valve’s Portal succeeded as a simple game.

“What I like most about Portal was that it’s a quick sample of a game. To me what that suggests is, that can be a business. That we can invest in creating these kinds of things, include them in bigger products, and there are people that will love those in their own right, even if it’s only a two-hour experience.

“I think that Portal might influence me in the future. There are brilliant things we’re doing with Brother in Arms: Hell’s Highway, amazing things technologically, but we also have to confine ourselves to the authenticity of the subject.”

Pitchford thinks that part of Portal‘s success stems from its inclusion in the Orange Box. “Xbox Live is neat, but why not include something of that scale in with your game? That’s neat added value. If it can affect the purchase decision of the customer, you can rationalise what it costs to develop. I would love to do because it’s fun and a great opportunity to play with gameplay elements that might be a little bit outside the scope of your core game.”

He worked with similar technology when Pitchford served at 3D Realms while they developed Prey. “I worked on Prey in its first incarnation. And what Valve did with Portal was part of the concept of what we originally imagined with portals, and those were the puzzles that we hoped were part of the gameplay. I didn’t see a lot of that come through in the final version of Prey.”

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