"In a nutshell, we're nowhere," said Pitchford to GameSpot. "We have passionate game makers that would love to do it. We've got filmmakers that think it's a great idea that would love to see it done. We have publishing partners that would love to publish it. But we have no time. That's the limiting factor."
Gearbox's Heat was announced in 2006, a collaboration between the developer and Regency Enterprises. Gearbox met with Heat director Michael Mann, and some early design work was done, but the game ultimately got lost in the developer's recent expansion, with Pitchford adding the company "grew a little too fast."
Pitchford now says the project is on "indefinite hold." However, unlike some properties that sit unused for years, languishing as captives of a greedy publisher, Pitchford says Heat will not meet a similar fate.
"Because of the situation, we're not keeping the IP locked down anymore," he said. "So if somebody else were in a spot where they could do it, and everybody was comfortable with that, then conceivably that could happen."
As for what Gearbox's version of the game would have been, the game "never got to a point where we made the decisions to lock it down a particular path," according to Pitchford, though in addition to Mann, many of the important parties were on board.
"Again, no deals were done, but we had a lot of confidence that, from my understanding, Pacino was into it and that Val would do it," he said. "De Niro wanted to, but there needed to be some more conversations with him. He's not a gamer himself. Michael told me he had dinner with those guys a couple of times to talk about it, and he believed it was all going to be fine."