Gearbox Admires Portal Philosophy
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."
Of course Gearbox is giving props to Valve: they made Opposing Force and Blueshift.
How come no-one seems to talk about those games anymore? I ate them up like vanilla snackpacks.
Anyone remember that weird futuristic Western expansion pack for Half-life? It was one of the last expansion packs released for it, and it didn't take place in the HL universe. Can't remember it's name for the life of me, and its not on the wikipedia.
"I think Portal might influence me in the future." I try not to be sarcastic when evaluating businessmen's statements, because, well, they have to water down what they say because they're on the clock. But man, this is something else.
Also, I hadn't ruminated before on the crazy smart idea of packaging Team Fortress, Half-Life 2, and Portal together. You got your stuff for your online competitive players, and they get a bonus good FPS and some puzzle business that's kind of interesting I guess. You got stuff for your story-driven players who want to know what the next is, and they get a bonus good puzzle game with ties into the Half-Life storyline and some kind of weird shooty online-only thing that's kind of neat. And you got stuff for your people who love puzzles with innovative ideas, and bundle it with a cool single-player scenario with some really interesting concepts mixed in, and there's also this deathmatchy thing that comes with it that at least has some good ideas and methods.
Fun for the whole family! I guess that should have been more obvious to me before, but I guess I got distrHEY A PUPPY
Gunman Chronicles! Sweeeet.