Gearbox president: 'Borderlands has zero competition'

Borderlands has been a tremendous success for developer Gearbox Software. Which begs the question: "why hasn't it been copied?"

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Borderlands has been a tremendous success for developer Gearbox Software. Which begs the question: "why hasn't it been copied?"

Gearbox president Randy Pitchford has been wondering exactly the same thing. "I'm actually astonished that we're about to launch a sequel and no one's stole it from us," Pitchford said. "We're in an industry where people do nothing but steal from each other. That's kind of interesting."

When the first game launched in 2009, Gearbox had declared it the "fastest selling original IP" of the year. In fact, it went on to sell over two million copies. Those numbers must have invited copycats by now, no? "Not that I want anyone to steal it, or I'm challenging people to steal it," Pitchford added.

The lack of clones and competitors has Pitchford quite pleased, and exemplifies why the studio is so keen not to ever have to compete with the likes of Call of Duty. Using boxing as a metaphor, Pitchford explains how it's easier to avoid competing with the industry heavy hitters. "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."

"If you're the only ones that do something that people find as valuable? You don't have to worry about competition," he told Gamasutra. "Like, Borderlands has zero competition. It doesn't have to worry about that at all."

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 23, 2012 11:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Gearbox president: 'Borderlands has zero competition'.

    Borderlands has been a tremendous success for developer Gearbox Software. Which begs the question: "why hasn't it been copied?"

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      July 23, 2012 11:39 AM

      Dead Island is the competition.

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        July 23, 2012 11:56 AM

        Excellent example and it was a pimp game I still play it today love that game #2 will own too I think.

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          July 23, 2012 1:36 PM

          I wish they never fixed the weapon dupe trick :(

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            July 23, 2012 1:43 PM

            Yeah all well. Have you tried the durability mod it makes the game so enjoyable(perfect practically it was my biggest beef) you can set it to what ever you like so its just right then you can actually craft everything and have money and enjoy the game way way more.

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            July 23, 2012 2:21 PM

            There are so many work benches in the game, I didn't really miss it when it was fixed.

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        July 23, 2012 2:22 PM

        This is what I clicked reply to say. Dead Island is the only game I can think of that it is very mechanically similar to Borderlands. I think I may have actually liked Dead Island more but that's simply related to my personal coop experiences I had with Dead Island. Borderlands is a more technically sound game and better designed and has better controls.

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        July 23, 2012 4:27 PM

        it is not direct competition. only the skillpoint system is truly similair. mission types, melee over guns, graphics, story, enemies... are all very different.

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        July 24, 2012 4:08 AM

        Unfortunately it is linear at some points.

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      July 23, 2012 11:49 AM

      No. Your game being somewhat unique only means it has a edge on its competition, not that there is no competition.

      Every game out there is competition. Going outside is competition.

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        July 23, 2012 1:02 PM

        Meh, the gameplay outside kinda sucks. I don't think it's much competition.

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      July 23, 2012 11:49 AM

      Rage was the competition...and failed miserably.

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        July 23, 2012 12:15 PM

        No coop = not even close to being competition.

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        July 23, 2012 12:22 PM

        What. It's not the same style, despite being in an open world game with buggies.

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        July 23, 2012 12:34 PM

        What? How exactly?

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        July 23, 2012 12:42 PM

        No, they're not even remotely the same game.

        • rms
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          July 23, 2012 1:09 PM

          The pastel desert art style is very similar, but that's all.

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          July 23, 2012 1:39 PM

          While technically true, having put a couple hours into Rage, I find Borderlands satisfies the desert wasteland Mad Max-like FPS gameplay far better for me.

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        July 23, 2012 1:07 PM

        I agree

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          July 23, 2012 11:23 PM

          Thanks. Anyone who can't see how similar they are is just trolling. One of the big things before release was how Rage looked to be a Borderlands clone. Wasteland. Check. Buggies. Check. FPS. Check. Towns. Check. Quests. Check. Hicks. Check. You get my drift. Yea, Borderlands had coop and a ton of other things but that is why Rage failed. The direct comparison to Borderlands is Rage. Dead Island? Huh?

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            July 24, 2012 6:59 AM

            i think Rage was more of a mix between Borderlands and Fallout 3, i actually wanted RAGE to do good, but... well, 20GB and 4~6 hours of game play with no re playability = fail. borderlands is a different game, is is ALL about guns and smashing tons of mobs and bandits where rage is a linear fallout 3 is desert setting and it tries to be much more serious, and fails as well.

            I think when he says there is no competition he means that there is no other game that does the same exact things, think COD and BF3, or D3 and Torchlight 2 or DOTA and LOL.... i think Rage would still be closer to Fallout NV than to Borderlands....

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        July 24, 2012 4:08 AM

        Nope and nope.

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      July 23, 2012 11:56 AM

      Borderlands itself is full of concepts stolen from other games, but that doesn't make it good enough to be influential on its own. What are other devs going to copy from it? Mediocre base shooting mechanics? Poor quest design? Annoying dialogue, vehicles that handle like garbage, and weak enemy AI?

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        July 23, 2012 11:57 AM

        How about a diabloe-style FPS? Borderlands has that genre all to itself.

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          July 23, 2012 12:11 PM

          It wasn't the first (Hellgate) and probably won't be the last. A team creating a new first person thing may look at games like Borderlands and Hellgate and Dead Island for ideas on what not to do, but the main influence will still go back to Diablo, right? That's what they are going to try to capture. That's what all loot driven games are still striving for.

          No doubt if it happens it will be called a Borderlands ripoff though.

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            July 23, 2012 12:13 PM

            It's the first one that was a hit, so yeah the next to do it right will probably be called a Borderlands clone.

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            July 23, 2012 3:10 PM

            Pitchford should love Borderlands, but know his place.

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          July 23, 2012 12:56 PM

          This is what Pitchford was talking about in the article for those of you who were unsure. Hellgate London was really the only other game doing something similar.

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        July 23, 2012 12:20 PM

        wow i must be a retard, because i really loved that game.

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          July 23, 2012 12:32 PM

          A lot of people did, I played quite a bit of that game too and I wasn't saying it was awful. Just that it's an amalgamation of other game ideas and concepts itself, many of which have been done better elsewhere. There's not much reason to follow and copy what Gearbox is doing when you can go to the same sources that they did and do it differently or better yourself. Randy is trying to prop up their game as something more than it is. Which is smart.

        • Ebu
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          July 23, 2012 12:34 PM

          Your spelling is quite good for a retard, so you have that going for you.

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            July 23, 2012 12:35 PM

            haha

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            July 23, 2012 12:49 PM

            he doesn't understand capital letters, so he's got that against him.

            • Ebu
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              July 23, 2012 1:32 PM

              Yea, I was originally intending to compliment his grammar, but I couldn't do so in good conscience. :(

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          July 23, 2012 12:57 PM

          I don't think he's saying that you're a retard to like it, but that it's the sum of some mediocre parts

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          July 24, 2012 7:27 AM

          hellgate london was an AWESOME game!

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        July 23, 2012 1:05 PM

        I agree with all the points you made but I still thought it was fun as hell. I think the bazillion guns thing did it for me.

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        July 23, 2012 1:23 PM

        Even solo I had a good time with the game. It had a frantic shooter/RPG mix that was nice.

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      July 23, 2012 12:18 PM

      found the game to be boring in sp. will probably try splitscreen co-op when it comes out on xbox

      • Ebu
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        July 23, 2012 12:35 PM

        It was just as boring multi.

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          July 23, 2012 12:36 PM

          shack hype is still strong with this one despite such polarizing reviews by shackers

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            July 24, 2012 5:24 AM

            It's a blast in co-op, especially with 4 players using each character.

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        July 23, 2012 1:02 PM

        i paid $5 for it and didn't get my moneys worth :|

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        July 24, 2012 4:44 AM

        I was bored playing it co-op as well. It was a string of fetch quests and felt tedious after a while. It's not that it was bad, but there are a lot of other games I'd rather spend my time on.

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      July 23, 2012 12:57 PM

      Dead Island was pretty similar gameplay-wise, with the main difference being a focus on melee instead of guns. Both also fairly flawed games that were a ludicrous amount of fun to play with buddies.

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      July 23, 2012 1:01 PM

      I'm sorry but I just couldn't get into the game and thought it was terrible. I know i'm the minority but still. My opinion. I just didnt care for the art style or gameplay at all.

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        July 24, 2012 7:31 AM

        well there is nothing wrong with that mate, we are all different we all like different things, for example i only played 1 assassin's creed game and it didn't even finish it and never bought any other sequels while there are millions of people love that game...
        Cheers!

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      July 23, 2012 1:14 PM

      [deleted]

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        July 23, 2012 1:16 PM

        shoulda bought it when it was like $2.50 during the sale man ¯\(o_º)/¯

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        July 23, 2012 2:12 PM

        same here. i'm a sucker for ANY desert wasteland games but borderlands just wasn't fun to me at all.

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      July 23, 2012 1:18 PM

      a very strange PR tactic to use. setting the bar quite high.

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        July 24, 2012 7:33 AM

        well what he is saying is that he doesnt need to set any bars anywhere :) he has no competition, people that want diablo stile FPS have no other choice...

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      July 23, 2012 1:47 PM

      I really thought this game was a lot like Rage. I know Rage was in development way before. But I played Borderlands and Rage and I beat the crap out of both of them and they both look, breath and feel the same to me. Even the ending of both the games pissed me off. Borderlands for sucking and Rage's for coming to damn fast. (Am I the only one that saved the BFG because they thought that there was still like another 2 or 3 levels to go?)

      Regardless of what people say. I think Rage/Borderlands are the same games. They just have different people telling the story.

      Both of FPS RPG's
      Both use cars a lot.(actually, you almost HAVE to use them.)
      Both are open world games set in similar settings. (don't get wrapped around the axle about one being on a different planet and one being Earth. You know what I'm getting at.)

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        July 23, 2012 11:24 PM

        The only competition was Rage, you are correct, sir.

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          July 24, 2012 7:37 AM

          i wouldn't call rage a competition, i mean... i failed hard on it's own, not even in comparation with other fpsrpg

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        July 24, 2012 7:36 AM

        problem with rage was that it was way to short, it was not diablo like (TONS OF LOOT/GUNS) game. also i think it was TOO linear, i mean there is absolutely no reason for rage to be open world, there is just NOTHING to do.... and i am not trying to make it look bad, i really wanted rage to do good, but it failed hard...

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          July 24, 2012 9:48 AM

          "i mean there is absolutely no reason for rage to be open world, there is just NOTHING to do..." I mean completely agree. I don't understand why they tried to bridge the two and become "open but directed". It's like, you can't have both. Open means tons of quests and exploration, there was only freaken 4 hours of gameplay driving back and fourth through the same freaken places over and over again. How is that open in any sense of the word. I am truly disappointed with rage's gameplay.

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      July 23, 2012 1:51 PM

      I thought Borderlands was awesome. It was one of the few games my wife actually got into and we played splitscreen coop all the way through so I'm super excited for Borderlands 2.

      This is in spite of this dude and his interviews. I've lost count of how many times over the past few years where he comes off as kind of a douche.

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      July 23, 2012 2:07 PM

      I didn't even like it enough to play more than an hour or two. the ass FOV and gameplay just wasn't fun. But I missed the coop boat so I bet I would have enjoyed it more that way.

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        July 24, 2012 7:39 AM

        different people like different things, while you spent only 2 hours, most of the fans of this game spent over 100 hours in the game, which doesn't happen to many games unless it is a multiplayer

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      July 23, 2012 2:15 PM

      Does no-one else think Rage was a part way clone?

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        July 23, 2012 2:19 PM

        Lot's of people do, but they had trailers of it out for a year before Borderlands was even announced.

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        July 24, 2012 3:46 AM

        I believe work began on Rage long before Borderlands. It takes ID so long to get a game out the door, and who knows what leaked out during development, but it's hard to tell now if one copied the other, and if so, who did the copying.

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        July 26, 2012 9:31 AM

        The game was only really similar to Rage in some of the design choices. The games had a similar look to them at times... but played totally different. And I don't think the visual design is what they are talking about other people "stealing" I think it's the focus on a large open world with 4 player co-op with a kind of MMO approach and design to the game. That is the magic Borderlands formula and basically what nobody has really copied since the first game.

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      July 23, 2012 2:17 PM

      I'm liking "Dead Island" better than "Borderlands". Granted, I only played Borderlands (co-op) for about a week where both of us got bored rather quickly and never returned. About a week into "Dead Island" we're still loving it. I can't really qualify what the difference is because both games are pretty similar but I think....it...might be the violence.

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        July 23, 2012 2:21 PM

        Gonna cast in another vote in favor of Dead Island over Borderlands. Still haven't gotten the DI DLC but might at some point in the far future after my backlog of video games has resurrected my corpse.

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        July 23, 2012 2:23 PM

        Yep. For sure. I'm not sure why either. Maybe it feels deeper...plus the violence. And there is a story that has a real ending. (oh burn)

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      July 23, 2012 2:32 PM

      n{Firefall}n and others like it. the people who think that it is a good thing to copy are off to make real monies

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      July 23, 2012 3:00 PM

      I would say Rage is a competitor in the "apocalyptic wasteland" genre (which I consider Borderlands to be in also) and is an overall better game.

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      July 23, 2012 3:06 PM

      www.begthequestion.info

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      July 23, 2012 3:14 PM

      And I have zero interest in playing it

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      July 23, 2012 4:32 PM

      i'm on my fifth time through it... so it's definately doing something different, because i don't replay games very often.

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      July 23, 2012 10:04 PM

      Generic jobbing quests, randomly-generated guns that look the same with tiny stat differences, annooooying character (you know the one).

      This is the difference between isometric 3rd-person and 1st-person. That random-gen crap just doesn't work in 1st-person and gives it an unbelievably generic feel.

      It's like Tony Hawk games. I don't care even if you can score 10000000000000000000 "points." It feels generic and empty.

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        July 24, 2012 7:45 AM

        glad you were able to tell us how you feel :) i hope you feel better!

        Now that you are finished we can go back to playing borderlands 1 again, as most of us love it :)

        Cheers!

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      July 23, 2012 10:47 PM

      seeing as no one else is doing diablo-FPS, he's right

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        July 24, 2012 7:45 AM

        agree!

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        July 24, 2012 10:33 AM

        Diablo fps? Try Hellgate London.
        Problem there was it was buggy and crashed like mad.
        But the concept was pretty good.

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      July 27, 2012 1:09 AM

      Torchlight II? What exactly is the genre, wandering around coop adventure?