Borderlands has 'zero competition' says Gearbox

CEO Randy Pitchford "astonished" that no developer has released a similar game in an industry that "does nothing but steal from each other."

The original 2009 Borderlands was a hit. It won warm reviews and was commercially viable at sales of over 2 million. Despite this critical and commercial success, no significant imitators have come to market, just two months before a full-blown sequel arrives in September. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford told Gamasutra he can't wrap his head around the fact that the Borderlands formula has not been copied.

Maybe Borderlands will have a proper imitator by the time the third one comes around.

"I'm actually astonished that we're about to launch a sequel and no one's stole it from us," he said. "The formula's right there. No one's stolen it yet. That's weird. We're in an industry where people do nothing but steal from each other. That's kind of interesting, isn't it? Not that I want anyone to steal it, or I'm challenging people to steal it."

Pitchford said Gearbox's approach was to avoid the competition entirely, and it was never the company's intent to go head-to-head with the likes of Battlefield or Call of Duty. Using boxing as an analogy, Pitchford said differentiating from the industry leaders allowed Borderlands to have success.

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

Lastly, Pitchford recalled the marketing push for the original Borderlands. He said it was challenging to wrestle with communicating what he felt made the game great, while also not spilling design details and opening the gates for copycats.

"When talking about Borderlands 1, it was really confusing, because on one hand we gotta scream from the highest mountain to get attention because it's a new IP. On the other hand, it's like, "s***, we don't want to tell people our secret because then they're all gonna copy it because it's so good," he said.

Development recently wrapped on Borderlands 2, with Gearbox now working on postlaunch support for the game, including the mechromancer class. The game is due out for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on September 18. A recent game guide writer's playthrough of the title took 58 hours, with Gearbox calling the game a "hobby." For more on Borderlands 2, check out GameSpot's latest preview.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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interrasteral7
interrasteral7

I wished more games were release on July and August instead of November and December, because July and August is Summer Vacation for students at school.

DARREN636
DARREN636

i purchased this game at launch, tried to like it, tried to like it in co-op, thought it was ok for a while, then began to hate it. endlessly respawning enemies? no thanks. leveling up it seems, is not my cup of tea. hope they do well with the sequel though.

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Sorry, Borderlands is a hodge podge of different styles, there are numerous games like it, just because there aren't many games that look like it, doesn't make it an original. 

BusterKirk
BusterKirk

No similar games have come out? Rage?

leeko_link
leeko_link

No copycats huh. Well you only made one game and it sold over 2 million, why would anyone want to copy that when they could copy a franchise that have had success for so long and could sell over 500 million. Unless Borderlands 2 could sold over 10 million, copycats aren't gonna care.

houshidar
houshidar

Im probably on my own on this one but inexplicably this game is popular for some reason. To me after 6-8 hours playing (co-op not even single player) the game was so boring it was just rinse and repeat so utterly boring I took it out and never played it again. Its just shoot stuff, get more guns so I can shoot more stuff. Never have I played anything as mind numbingly dull and simplistic as this. Formula? lol its the most basic formula I have seen, technically call of duty and battlefield also have the "shoot stuff (people) to get more stuff  (new guns) to shoot more people". Its idiotic its boring and frankly I dont think its a thinking mans game, it will turn your brain to mush...

Tiago_Matos
Tiago_Matos

doesnt have competition????? is fallout a ghost then??? Fallout (both new vegas and 3) are role play with shooter elements... dear gearbox, stop making look like your game is unique. by the way, then i say that borderlands stole elements from fallout 3. shut the hell up and quit saying ur game is the best. it is a good game but DOES NOT surpasses Fallout in any way. good day.

xKLIPSx
xKLIPSx

if there is another batman game coming out this year that will smash this game to get game of the year

 

csward
csward

I personally wasn't too impressed with Boderlands. That said, the sales speak for themselves. What he fails to realize that shooters are the most over-saturated genre out there right now and have been for at least 10 years. On top of that, people in the industry are afraid to take risks, so developing a Boderlands clone would be a simple formula, but maybe they figure the money won't be there.

 

I mean, I know this guy likes the smell of his own farts and all, but Borderlands isn't Streetfighter 2 or Goldeneye 007. It's not a cultural phenomenon. 

Colekern
Colekern

I think what he means is that no one has made something to wipe out Borderlands. 

Dead Island may be similar, but I don't think it was designed to copy Borderlands.

MachShot
MachShot

The Gearbox CEO didn't say they created a new idea or created a genre breakthrough. Read the article and don't put words in his mouth. He stated exactly: "The formula's right there." (read: formula)

 

Can't r-r-r-r-read? Or too s-s-s-s-stoopid, son?

llmercll
llmercll

Dead island is similar to Borderlands, but with more emphasis on melee.

kuda001
kuda001

They are numerous similar games like Borderlands but on PC, consoles usually go for FPS in the vein of CoD or Battlefield.

gamingfrendly
gamingfrendly

having a boring day? no fun no laughs? come check out some game spot comment sections/boards

gokuofheaven
gokuofheaven

...because they're too busy making the next couple of Call of Duty titles.

TheDarkSpot
TheDarkSpot

Well, other developers still don't give a **** about Borderlands, that's why :)

kohle36
kohle36

**Spoiler Alert** The 'secret' is Diablo with guns.

lol Randy

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

yes i dont see any other FPS on the horizon after Borderlands.....

slonekb05
slonekb05

i'l start by saying i love borderlands + DLC, but its not like they made some new breakthrough. 1st person shooting mmo , is not a new idea. They just did it right. cell shade graphics bout the only thing unique to them. so there's nothing to steal.

hadlee73
hadlee73

When I first played Borderlands I just felt it was a Fallout-ripoff with a lack of a decent storyline and co-op added in. It wasn't until later that I discovered what a gem of a game it was. However, the rest of the industry may see Borderlands the same way as I originally did.

mos2000
mos2000

An exodus from lazy development would be required for any viable clone. Randy - you won't be having any competition for a looonnnggg time....

egres122
egres122

And here I always thought Borderlands was Diablo with guns...

Trogeton
Trogeton

you can usually tell how good a game is just out of how long it takes for it's sequel to come out.. borderlands DOESN'T have a competition because it's unique every other game has games that has a resemblance or mocks another one

_Doomsayer_
_Doomsayer_

Uh huh. And Borderlands didn't 'steal' concepts used in Phantasy Star Online. Nope.

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

--The point the CEO was saying--

 

--Over half the comments--

 

 

*Woosh*

EzcapeTheFate
EzcapeTheFate

Borderlands is weak. Battleship is where its at. It puts Boringlands to shame.

Matcam89
Matcam89

Please tell me how an FPS RPG with 4 player Coop is an original idea? The industry copies ideas because there is only so much stuff you can do...Its what you do with the pieces that matter.

Duke_51
Duke_51

It was a fun game, but you pretty much HAVE to play it with friends. Playing by yourself is not nearly as exciting. I think this is where 90% of the fun in this game comes from. Also why did Gamespot get rid of paragraphs? What the hell? That's probably the stupidest decision they've ever made.

beast70
beast70

just as he stole the loot fest ideas from diablo 1 and 2? though at least borderlands has some cool diablo 2 throw backs and easter eggs.

ilantis
ilantis

@xKLIPSx It sure would Timmy, it sure would. *pat *pat

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

 @csward  "what he fails to realize"

 

ummm, i think he realizes that, hes a major player in the game development business... 

Doobsac
Doobsac

 @llmercll Exactly Dead Island copies the exact formula of Borderlands except it had zombies and melee weapons. Even the colors of the weapons from most common to rare are the same. I love both games but I don't see how they didn't notice Dead Island stole a lot of ideas from them.

Komodo_Draken
Komodo_Draken

 @llmercll Dead Island is the only game I can think of that has a gameplay model similar to Borderlands. I found that the combat in Dead Island ended up being too slow considering it was mostly melee weapons. While I enjoyed Dead Island, the action in Borderlands was just more satisfying to me.

larkin-54
larkin-54

 @fanaticsm yeah because thats what was meant by that statement, also because you know all first person shooters are the same, i mean Fallout and Halo are basically the same game right?  And i cant tell bioshock from COD for the life of me. So borderlands being an MMOesque fps with a unique art style and RPG leveling will be indistinguishable from any other shooter released this year..... wait...

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

 @hadlee73 this comment right here is exactly why they have no competition ^^ it is a game that you have to get into so im sure it went over a lot of devs heads because it didnt explode onto the scene or anything. I remember when Borderlands was first hyped in Game Informer magazine years ago. After that, the devs changed the game drastically from the original template and it came out with a lot less fanfare. 

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

 @_Doomsayer_ Ah Dreamcast, you left us way too soon.

 

PSO was totally underrated.  I played the crap outta that game.

larkin-54
larkin-54

 @_Doomsayer_ actually i have a hard time seeing any similarities between PSO and borderlands 

Doobsac
Doobsac

 @Duke_51 Depends on who you play with. If you're playing with a greedy bastard who races to the loot boxes and takes everything then it will make the game less enjoyable.

erix43
erix43

 @Doobsac 

 

If I recall correctly, Dead Island was in the works for years. I am not sure that it borrowed from Borderlands. 

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

 @larkin-54 everyone likes to think their game is unique....as u can see from the comments below.....people are drawing similarities between this game and others as well.... now Pacman.....THATS an original game.....anyone copied that???

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

 @Doobsac yea, there are some d bags who play online.. its kinda shocking given the co op teamwork nature of the game. lotta battlefield/cod players like borderlands too i guess.