In a game industry full of sequels and spin-offs, sometimes it's nice to see a brand-new franchise that takes things in a new direction. Gearbox's Borderlands delivered by not only giving the loot grinding, stat adjustments and build customization of a great RPG, but also gave it fast, ruthless FPS action that required you to have reflexes and skill to match your RPG mindset. Changing the game's look from a generic "serious" actioner:
to a slick, comic-book-styled take-no-prisoners comedy was probably the best part of an already solid game.
In an interview with gaming business site Gamasutra, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford talked about how originality can be a dangerous thing, and how the game industry is full of unchecked plagiarism.
"I'm actually astonished that we're about to launch a sequel and no one's stole it from us. 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.
"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, 'Shit, we don't want to tell people our secret because then they're all gonna copy it because it's so good.'"
He's on to something, honestly, because ever since Gears of War "borrowed" the cover-based gameplay of Namco's kill.Switch and combined it with Resident Evil 4's right-justified camera, there have been countless followers, from Uncharted to Dead Space to, well... pretty much every game that does third-person shooting nowadays. And that's just one mechanic!
Details are important in building a nuanced, fleshed-out character
What do you think? Are most of the great ideas taken and game developers are just "liberally borrowing" from each other? Or is Pitchford just not looking in the right places?