Gearbox CEO talks next-gen

Randy Pitchford confirms Texas studio has a "few things going" for future platforms, says "more power is always better."

Next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony remain unannounced and mysterious, but that hasn't stopped Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford from addressing them. Speaking to Gamasutra in a new interview, the executive confirmed the studio has projects ongoing for future-generation platforms.

Pitchford says Gearbox is gearing up for next-gen.

"We've got a few things going on right now that we haven't talked about but that will appear later," Pitchford said.

Elaborating further, Pitchford explained that he is enthusiastic for the next wave of consoles to arrive for a multitude of reasons.

"I'm always excited by movement forward," he said.. "Some of that comes from iteration with our software, and some of it comes from iteration with hardware, and some of it comes from invention...each new step kind of gives us new tools and new capabilities that always makes the entertainment better, if we use it right."

It has been suggested that the next wave of consoles will offer significantly increased power over current-generation platforms, with Remedy last week calling such advancements a "quantum leap." Pitchford alluded to the increased power capabilities of future platforms, saying, "More power is always better. There's always things we can do that we cannot do today that we can do with more power."

Lastly, Pitchford said he is wary of "temporary gimmicks" in the next generation of platforms.

"Different people make different stabs. Some of these stabs folks make become standards," he said. "I don’t like getting behind gimmicks. I tend to like the things that feel like they can become standards, or steps towards standards."

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135 comments
troy144
troy144

Gearbox also known for Aliens Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever, don't get too excited.

madgame23
madgame23

The thing I notice with consoles is that they make early games low tech and then improve the graphical fidelity and game engines gradually so that we think developers are improving their useage of the system. If consoles are created from PC tech with dumbdown specs, then the developers can max out the games they make from the very beginning. Makes you think huh?

wyan_
wyan_

I always like Pitchford's positive attitude, especially when the trending attitude for next gen is to be negative or even totally apathetic like David Jaffe.

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

Was Xbox 360 a Quantum leap forward from Xbox 1?  Is it going to be the same leap for the 720 & PS4?

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I wonder if that last part was a dig at Kinect or motion-gaming in general.

hojo80
hojo80

When I read this I can't help but think "Randy your development studio got its start making poorly done PC ports except maybe Halo Combat Evolved. Moved onto some pretty mediocre Brothers in Arms games. And you're one original concept, Borderlands, although works is so flimsy if you take one feature out it becomes generic making it quite possibly the least original original idea ever. What possible innovation could your studio make with more horse power?"

monoalvarez
monoalvarez

"I'm always excited by movement forward". I have never seen this guy not excited. I mean, he was even excited about Duke Nukem: Forever...That said, I'm really looking forward to Borderlands 2. Bring it on, Mr. Pitchford! :)

franzito
franzito

I wonder if devs and publishers talked about next-gen when they were in SNES and Genesis era... why next-gen is so important now!? Why suddenly we're under the impression this next-gen is going to be revolutionary..??

Mr_Bodywave
Mr_Bodywave

Gimmicks like a tablet hooked to a console?

dorianyates
dorianyates

My wish is:

 

Do a console like a PC for TV where players of PC can play with players on console. Do it for the modders, do it for the developers, do it for the players. I hope Valve comes with a console soon, that comunicates with Steam. That would be the future of console, there is no reason to not integrate all the stuff and make developers life easy to produce games.

the_requiem
the_requiem

My only wishlist for a new gen console:

 

It should have the power to make a truly open world sim possible. Imagine Skyrim, only with every single NPC being an AI smart enough to live their life. I mean, if you were to follow a single NPC throughout you will get to see them living their lives.Their lives affected by their interactions with you, other NPCs as well as changes made to environment by you.

 

In shooters, AI that learns and adapts to your tactics.

 

Basically I want AI that can learn and go beyond what devs scripted. I can do with same graphics as current-gen. Give me an AI chip rather than physics or graphics chip.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

This is in no way shape or form a dig on PC games or gaming in general, just an observation. The "best" PC games still have to be able to work on many variations of PC configs, and some of those configs are actually less powerful than (current) consoles. Some of you have already stated this, but it's something that needs to be repeated. This stupid argument about consoles holding back PC's is like saying using the bus is holding back light rails or other forms of faster transportation. Developers of PC games are totally free to focus on PC only if they choose to do so.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

I'm excited for next-gen consoles. Yes, PC hardware power will quickly surpass that of the PS4 and 720, but developers will learn to optimize and fully utilize the potential of the standardized consoles in a way that never happens with PC hardware.

 

PC gaming hardware is so fragmented, and has so much variation, that it might be 5 or 10 years before your HD 7970 or GTX 690 card is used to its full potential.

SolidTy
SolidTy

Quite revealing on how he feels :

 

"Pitchford alluded to the increased power capabilities of future platforms, saying, "More power is always better. There's always things we can do that we cannot do today that we can do with more power."

Lastly, Pitchford said he is wary of "temporary gimmicks" in the next generation of platforms."

 

It speaks volumes with the right Rosetta Stone... :P

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

*imagines Borderlands 3 with the graphics from how Borderlands was originally suppose to look like* *drools*

NTM23
NTM23

A true sequel to Brother's In Arms would be nice. 

push88
push88

There is NO WAY on God's green earth that I will spend MORE money on another 2 consoles from Sony and Microsoft.  I've poured so much money into these companies; their exclusives aren't nearly enough to keep me invested.  I'd rather save and get a PC instead.  It's going to look better anyway and most games I really want to play are available on the PC's nowadays. 

anvilone
anvilone moderator

I appreciate Pitchford's enthusiasm, but I'm not holding my breath for the next gen. If they can't figure out how to make the hardware adaptable or upgradeable over time, then consoles will be perpetually inferior to PC platforms. We may be excited when they come out next year (or whenever) but we'll be having the same frustrating conversation about their inferiority again two or three years after that.

inebriantia
inebriantia

 @madgame23

 Well, yeah that's why most serious gamers hate consoles. PC really is the best when it comes to gaming, but unfortunetly PC gaming is much harder, and more complicated, so not everyone can do it. So we get dumbed down consoles, and rip-off games. That's the price we pay for the ease of use consoles that we enjoy.

 

I game on consoles btw, so I'm not some PC fanboy, I just know that PC gaming is better, and that with the ease of use consoles we get ripped off and dumbed down games.

mos2000
mos2000

 @hojo80 I respect your opinion, but totally disagree.  I guess you mean the only innovation in Borderlands is the weapon system - which can be argued, but it's the combination of little things that other devs make seem like is soooo hard to implement that in combination with such make the game great: Seamless campaign co-op, Long game legnth, non-stop action, excellent looting system, replayability ALONG WITH the weapons generator. If you add all that together, that is pretty innovative for one game to imbed all of this and do it very well/above. Name another game that has had the masses still playing years later without the use of competitive multiplayer as a gimmick.... you'll barely need one hand...

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @the_requiem thats always been the dream hey, hopefully we can see a big step forward in that direction with next gen

rarson
rarson

 @FallenOneX 

 

If your PC is less powerful than the current consoles, then it's REALLY time to get a new PC. I built a PC on a budget 5 years ago and it was still drastically more powerful than the current consoles.

BestJinjo
BestJinjo

 @FallenOneX You are missing the point of development costs bud. Think about it, you cannot develop a DX11 game with full-blown graphics and then port that to 3 outdated consoles. To do the porting to outdated consoles then requires vast amounts of re-programming and optimization. Most developers cannot afford that or for profitability reasons choose not to do it. The opposite happens then: games are made with DX9/DX10 engines with very little of next generation DX11 graphical effects and then ported to the PC in shoddy form (Crysis 2). Then we may get a high resolution texture pack or DX11 features at a later date. Also, what you don't get is with more graphical and processing power, developers have more freedom and can create vastly superior AI and better looking games. Right now, that would alienate 90% of the market (i.e. consoles), since such games won't run at all on PS3/Wii/360. Therefore, consoles ARE holding back not just PC gaming but gaming in general. 

rarson
rarson

 @Spartan_418 

 

PC hardware isn't half as fragmented or varied as it was 10 years ago.

 

The PC has more OS overhead, because it's a much more useful device. And with system and software updates now the norm for consoles (which take ridiculously long, especially on Sony hardware), it's becoming very hard to justify purchasing a console.

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

 @Spartan_418 I think the main problem with that is that half the games released on the pc are ports of console stuff, or they want simultaneous releases for all systems. Because of that half the pc stuff is limited to in the range of console releases. It's very rare with stuff like battlefield 3 that has stuff really optimized for pc. The pc only stuff is also often not really hardware advanced. Usually it's mmo's or strategy that's at it's core not a really hardware driven genre, so they make it playable on the widest array of systems, limiting it's use of the tech. We'll honestly see a big jump in PC game quality once the next gen consoles come out, simply because of this connection. PC's are always gonna be just ahead of consoles, but within sight, regardless of how much more advanced they are. 

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @SolidTy

 Yeah - and since he didn't elaborate, we get to pick our own stone and make him say whatever we want!  So, do we want to have him say something good or something bad?

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @SavoyPrime I dunno, I think the art style borderlands has now is fantastic, its really what sets it apart from many other shooters, I don't know if I'd like a photo-realistic borderlands.

rarson
rarson

 @push88 

The thing is, if you already have enough money for a new console, you pretty much already have enough money for a new PC. You could probably slap something together for about $450 that would easily crush the hardware that Sony and Microsoft will be releasing another year from now. And with Steam, PC gaming is becoming almost as convenient as console gaming. And actually, with console updates plaguing the current consoles, I'd say it might be becoming MORE convenient.

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @push88 If you were able to use all your older content; games, music, apps etc from this gen to the next gen, I wouldn't mind it, we definitely need more powerful machines, and buying a pc won't solve the problem either, yes you may perhaps prolong purchasing more hardware over a period of time, but all technology gets replaced at the end of the day, and I think the 360 has had a decent life span considering their next console might not release for another 1-2 years. 

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @anvilone Yeah, too true.  Plus, unlike with PC games, console stuff usually isn't very backwards compatible.  I can still run a lot of old PC games without problems, but with my old X-box and PS2 games, if my console ever breaks down and I can't get a replacement, I'm totally out of luck.  

 

Also, I can't play any of my PS2 games on my PS3, and many of my favorite X-box games won't run on my 360.  I have the PS3 slim, which is not backwards compatible.

 

I hope the next gen is upgradeable and/or is fully backwards compatible.  I also hope that next gen doesn't launch too soon.  I am so sick of trying to find space for my old consoles and games.  I can't even imagine having to find storage for my 360 and PS3 in addition to my Dreamcast, PS2 and X-box.  And unlike other gamers, I don't even have any Nintendo consoles or a PS1 lying around.

Shahnil
Shahnil

 @inebriantia  @madgame23  The reason why PC is not as big as consoles is not the will or that it is hard. Its because of piracy, plain and simple.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

 @rarson If the piracy argument is crap, and the PC market is just smaller, then isn't the PC holding back gaming instead of consoles? And of course your 5 year old PC is faster than 7 year old console built using 8 year old tech!

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

 @BestJinjo 

This is a point I'm glad you brought up! Remember when I said "Developers of PC games are totally free to focus on PC only if they choose to do so."

The reason they can't is because PC games get pirated so much more than console games (and I'll be the first to admit, that is also very debatable), they don't get the same revenues back that would if they make the game for consoles. Consoles aren't holding the gaming industry back, people are by making it so hard for PC games to generate the revenue that they deserve.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

 @RedLegZeff Yeah but PC games have to be heavily scalable, so even if a game looks fantastic at the highest settings with an i7 and a 2GB card, it still has to be able to run on an older machine that only has a Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, and a 512mb card.

 

Developers of PC games want as many people as possible to be able to buy and play their games, so they can't afford to only accommodate the last 2 or so years of high-end hardware.

 

Plus when you consider that Windows still takes up a large portion of RAM while a game is running, PC games sort of have a "lowest common denominator" that, in terms of power, isn't too different from a PS3 or 360.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

 @Aletunda Don't get me wrong, I like Borderlands current graphical look. But I feel that with a next-gen console, why not test the graphical limitiations by Gearbox seeing what they could do with the original planned look.

push88
push88

 @rarson Really?!  I was under the impression that a "good" gaming PC was going to cost me at least $1,500 or more.

rarson
rarson

 @Aletunda  

 

Sure, but with a PC, you get to decide when to buy new hardware and how much to spend. With a console, you're only choice is to buy whatever is available, when it's available.

 

Not to mention, I can play just about every single console game ever made (other than current-gen software) along with all the PC games.

push88
push88

 @Aletunda Yeah but backwards compatibility is becoming less and less of an option.

rarson
rarson

 @FallenOneX

 

The piracy argument is crap. Most people who download pirated software weren't planning on buying the software in the first place. Also, Steam has made it easier to purchase games legally than to pirate them. The PC market is simply smaller than the console market.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

 @Aletunda You putting it like that, I see your point. I failed to think about Borderland's humor and quirkiness in relation to the graphical art style. You're right, I'm not sure a realistic-graphics approach would complement that element of the game.

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @SavoyPrime I agree in respect to gearbox seeing what graphical limitations they can reach (and push) with next gen but perhaps try that on a new game, changing Borderlands art style would change a lot of things that makes up the game IMO, the whole quirkyness and humour that's associated within Borderlands could be lost, it may be even be better I'm not saying for sure, but what it is now could potentially be stripped with a photo-realistic art style and it would be less appealing to me.

 

The art style doesn't mean that the visuals won't look amazing, and the art style doesn't limit a games appeal, it strengthens it, I'm just a bit over photo-realistic games, and it sure must get boring for developers to try and make everything look exactly the way it is in reality, for some games yes realistic art styles work, I just don't think it would, and that's probably the reason why they chose to take it in a different direction in the first place.

Aletunda
Aletunda

 @rarson I do agree, I prefer my PC and use it more than my xbox these days, mainly for a lot of games I can't get on xbox. That being said there are still games that I can only play on my xbox, such as gears of war 2,3 the halo series (besides 1 and 2 which took years to get ported to pc), in a perfect world, yeah we would probably just need 1 device to play everything on, but its not the way it works right now.