Glixel interview with Randy P

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“So how was your return on investment for Battleborn been so far?
I can’t talk about it because we have a publishing partner and they’re publicly traded and so that’s kind of off limits for me, but we’re okay. I’m not freaking out. We’re fine.”

Well 2K openly talked about how they were disappointed by Battleborn in a recent article. To me the current article reads like Randy is “handling” this obviously very delicate question. “Were fine.” doesn’t exactly say Battleborn is going well or “doing fine” as you say just that Gearbox itself is doing “fine” and really that is likely down to the fact they are working on BL3 which could go a long way to mitigating the disaster of Battleborn. Borderlands 3 will make a bucketload of money and this will help to smooth over the very poor player numbers for Battleborn from launch and since.

Interesting read. I think this is spot on:

Bolded the relevant bit.

Edit: Just finished the whole article, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to come out of the GBX Quebec studio! This is going to be an interesting year…

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The 2K comments a while back were pretty much a PR stunt aimed squarely at their own investors (since they’re publicly traded and need to pay attention to share price).

Randy’s responses to pointed questions following the one you cite are more interesting than the one you homed in on. For example the following (if accurate) gives a very different perspective:

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I’m loathe to think that game developers/publishers, who see how things played out between Overwatch and Battleborn, will become more risk-averse to new and original game ideas.

It’s corporate speak, why would he diss or hint at any bad relationship between them. What advantage would that serve? He did what CEO’s do, sound positive and excited about everything, yet say nothing of substance. Not hating on that, that’s his job to do these kinds of fluff pieces…

I’d agree, except that such an interpretation of that particular bit would be out of keeping with the rest of the interview. So then I’m more inclined to take the comments at face value.

Either way, Randy P. is a pretty unconventional CEO!

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Always on the short list of people I admire. Randy Pitchford. Elon Musk. Trent Reznor.

Unconventional. Push the envelope. Influence. None of them are perfect of course. Some missteps along the way for any man. The question is, how many many wrong steps have they taken and how many of those can you not agree with. Can you respect them and their ideas? Can you trust them to some degree? This could go down a different direction I’m avoiding on this forum, so I’ll stop here.

I suspect Battleborn is doing better than I heard but merely not as well they hoped. I think Borderlands 3 will do great. And I am pretty sure they still make money on BL1, 2 and TPS.

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Well, looks like the BL3 that you expect may be a fair bit different to the BL3 that’s actually coming.

Battleborn was quite different and it did not work out well at all. If Borderlands 3 is quite different it could mark the end of Gearbox. They have nothing else to rely on.

Two failed games do not a dead developer make.

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For AAA games it is more than likely, I don’t think they would get a handout for another big venture if BL3 also failed. They are living on the profits from older Borderlands games. This will dwindle over time. Also A:CM and DNF were also financial failures. So far they are largely a one trick pony franchise-wise.

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By which metric? If Overwatch had been 6 months to a year later, would Battleborn still have been classed as “did not work out well”? Taken on it’s own merits, and absent any competition, I think it would have done far, far better in terms of market share and player base. It’s still a darned good game in my book.

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In your book, but you are a dedicated GBX fan. There are other F2P hero shooters that are doing better at the moment besides OW. I think GBX is trying to avoid being a one trick pony by opening a publishing arm, but they’ve got a lot riding on BL3.

Battleborn did not even hit the top 100 steam games by revenue last year. That is a pretty good metric right there. Battleborn cost as much as BL & BL2 combined (sans DLC) and to not even place in the top 100 is quite signicant indicator of a AAA failure. I think games like European Tractor Simulator (or something like that) even made the list. If a game is great, people will know and it will start strong and stay strong. The majority of the people who supported the game from day one left quickly or had vastly reduced play times with the game. Also if you are in the business of designing games to be released with no competition then you wont be in the business for too long as this rarely happens and you should never gamble on it. Your game is any good then it should stand up on its own in a field of choice. Trouble with Battleborn is it looks easy to play but in fact many have said it is just to hard and frustrating, especially when not well balanced.

Battleborn is also slow with a long TTK and samey generic PvE enemies and bosses, I can see why people would want a faster experience with more kills if they only have time for a few hours of PvP a night.

It is also a bad mix of PVP and PVE. I think it should have remained strong to its core of PVP and build more around that dynamic and focused on more maps, better bosses and developed quicker and slower style matches to provide more variety. As a PVE player I have no interest in a game that is only half PVE, I don’t want to pay for a game I am only going to play half of.

At this point, I don’t see bl3 succeeding, at least while Pitchford’s CEO. With how bad the media and public perceive him and the whole mess with ACM, BL3 will probably sell poorly.

I think it will succeed despite whatever Randy P’s involvement is. There is some real genuine talent at Gearbox and I am sure they will continue Borderlands 3 along the same vein as Borderlands 2 did from the original Borderlands. If they decide to do microtransactions then this the only thing that will probably kill it cold.

With 2k in charge, micro transactions are guaranteed. It’s just the way games are now.