Careercow Randy Pitchford / DuvalMagic - Gearbox's magical fuck-up of a CEO, lost a USB drive full of porn.

Bob Page

Electronic Old Gendo Ikari
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
The Torgue one is extremely dumb considering the quest in the Pre-sequel where Moon buggy chick tells him she’s a lesbian, and Torgue was disappointed at being friendzoned. There was some nonsense afterward but to make the jump that he’s gay?
Possibly Anthony projecting himself on Mr. Torque.
 

Odie Esty

kiwifarms.net
Man, Randy sure is an idiot. I'm 100% convinced Borderland's success was pure luck.
Borderlands (and more importantly it's sequel) are a really interesting title. They're actually pretty unique as far as shooters go. At the time there was nothing that had the diablo esque loot mechanics in a shooter skin (diablo was in the midst of a long hiatus itself) and it emphasized the shooter aspect far more than the RPG stuff while still offering a lot of variation in builds. Even know the closest thing to borderlands is destiny which still delivers it's loot and combat in a drastically different way. Borderlands is also unique by not really limiting your choices in terms of guns. Pick the right character, and you can go the entire game with a single weapon type you really love. Not many shooters let you run the entire title with a sniper rifle or a rocket launcher, and none of them have as much content as Borderlands 2 has.

I recently spent the last few weeks running through a handful of really beloved shooters. the original half-life, system shock 2, bioshock and infinite, and when I booted up Borderlands 2 I was amazed to find that it had the most satisfying shooting of any of them. Those games have entrancing worlds and amazing atmosphere, but the shooting in most is flimsy at best. Running zer0 in Borderlands 2 was consistently satisfying, and I say that as someone who doesn't really love snipers. Enemy design in Borderlands 2 is also exactly what it should be. In a shooter you have to be able to understand an enemy's role in combat at a glance, and borderlands manages to convey that almost as well as halo and Doom do. story is whatever (a lot of it isn't as grating as I remember but it's not stellar) but it's a consistently satisfying shooter that gives you a huge amount of content to burn through and sometimes that's all you want. Of the shooters I mentioned, it's probably the closest to Doom '16 which I increasingly believe to be the greatest shooter ever made.

There's real talent and gold at Gearbox, but they're the guys in the trenches. people like Randy and Birch taint their work and it's a massive shame. Gearbox's crew made the best half-life game (opposing force) they made a great tony hawk (Pro skater 3) a fantastic Halo Port and a lengthy beloved shooter series before starting up borderlands, which are great games. Randy almost certainly has nothing to do with the quality of their games, a glorified middle man. If anything, he has kept that team from attaining the heights they could be. Had he put the team on Colonial Marines and pushed back borderlands they probably would've made a beloved little aliens game, maybe one even better than the AVP titles. Instead he stole that money to fund it's development, probably to finance the late stage overhaul he decided to put the game through. If Gearbox liquidates it'll probably be for the best because 2K will just scoop up that staff and put them onto a more competent team. Maybe the bioshock one. Hell, judging by the state of battleborn, they may have left long ago.
 

Next Task

kiwifarms.net
Just to clarify something - not even the lawsuit against him says Pitchford had underage porn, though by calling it 'underage' porn they're certainly trying to imply it. By his own admission it was jailbait porn - and therefore creepy enough - but it doesn't make him a pedo. Just like making bad, edgy jokes doesn't make James Gunn a pedo.

This isn't to defend him, because I'm sure he's terrible. I just would prefer if 'pedo' didn't become another 'Nazi' - a term for someone horrible that becomes diluted beyond usefulness due to applying it to everyone even remotely like it.
 

Lou Wrong

Butthurt about Buddyloids
kiwifarms.net
Borderlands (and more importantly it's sequel) are a really interesting title. They're actually pretty unique as far as shooters go. At the time there was nothing that had the diablo esque loot mechanics in a shooter skin (diablo was in the midst of a long hiatus itself) and it emphasized the shooter aspect far more than the RPG stuff while still offering a lot of variation in builds. Even know the closest thing to borderlands is destiny which still delivers it's loot and combat in a drastically different way. Borderlands is also unique by not really limiting your choices in terms of guns. Pick the right character, and you can go the entire game with a single weapon type you really love. Not many shooters let you run the entire title with a sniper rifle or a rocket launcher, and none of them have as much content as Borderlands 2 has.

I recently spent the last few weeks running through a handful of really beloved shooters. the original half-life, system shock 2, bioshock and infinite, and when I booted up Borderlands 2 I was amazed to find that it had the most satisfying shooting of any of them. Those games have entrancing worlds and amazing atmosphere, but the shooting in most is flimsy at best. Running zer0 in Borderlands 2 was consistently satisfying, and I say that as someone who doesn't really love snipers. Enemy design in Borderlands 2 is also exactly what it should be. In a shooter you have to be able to understand an enemy's role in combat at a glance, and borderlands manages to convey that almost as well as halo and Doom do. story is whatever (a lot of it isn't as grating as I remember but it's not stellar) but it's a consistently satisfying shooter that gives you a huge amount of content to burn through and sometimes that's all you want. Of the shooters I mentioned, it's probably the closest to Doom '16 which I increasingly believe to be the greatest shooter ever made.

There's real talent and gold at Gearbox, but they're the guys in the trenches. people like Randy and Birch taint their work and it's a massive shame. Gearbox's crew made the best half-life game (opposing force) they made a great tony hawk (Pro skater 3) a fantastic Halo Port and a lengthy beloved shooter series before starting up borderlands, which are great games. Randy almost certainly has nothing to do with the quality of their games, a glorified middle man. If anything, he has kept that team from attaining the heights they could be. Had he put the team on Colonial Marines and pushed back borderlands they probably would've made a beloved little aliens game, maybe one even better than the AVP titles. Instead he stole that money to fund it's development, probably to finance the late stage overhaul he decided to put the game through. If Gearbox liquidates it'll probably be for the best because 2K will just scoop up that staff and put them onto a more competent team. Maybe the bioshock one. Hell, judging by the state of battleborn, they may have left long ago.
Devil's Advocate: What you are describing is almost never true. The higher ups, along with publisher funding/medling, almost always make or break a game. They pick the gameplay model -which for Borderlands was revolutionary at the time-, set the schedule, create the universe/story, pick the specific gameplay elements and most importantly decide when a game has enough polish to be released. The man in the trenches making art assets or implementing code is easily replaceable but project leads are not. This is why studios often fall apart or at least stop pushing boundaries after their big name leaves.
 

Tanner Glass

kiwifarms.net
I'm going to drop a hot-take and suggest that Borderlands is largely "OK" and certainly trends closer to "Awful" than "Good".

The concept was not revolutionary - they just put the Diablo 2 gameplay loop (increasing power through non-static loot) with an Action RPG skill tree. The combat is not remarkably good (in paricular, at early levels and later levels) and the enemy variety is fine but not actually very deep mechanically with most enemies just standing around with no cover and the scaling is very bad in large parts of the games. It was a co-op game that had no co-op level scaling, meaning that if you wanted to play with friends you basically had to make new characters (as in, a level 20 person and a level 5 person could not really play together in a meaningful way) despite other games having this figured out a full 7 years earlier (at least).

The writing ranges from "pretty bad" to "remarkably bad" and relies on a tremendous over saturation of memes, even for 2009 standards. It frequently reads like a robot was forced to read the newgrounds forums for a year straight and then generate a video game script. Anything that landed initially as a "funny joke" for most people was the first drop of water in a tidal wave of "here comes the same joke forty more times" (Ex- Torgue "explosions" jokes, Tiny Tina does something crazy, Scooter says something inappropriate, Handsome Jack says something nonsensical). Memes that would be funny as a single reference become full on long quests or entire quest chains and as a concept overstay their welcome and aren't clever of fun and the game is a huge end-to-end slog of them. Even when the writing is "serious" it's still god-awful, stale, predictable with the unpredictable parts being even worse.

There are a few touches that likely weren't made by high level execs (like Pitchford) and the main one is the art style - which is pretty cool and likely unintentionally helped to frame the game's "zaniness" by giving it a cartoony feel. There are a few small quests that are neat, a few small story beats that are ok, and a few clever mechanics (Second Wind comes to mind) that are fun but Borderlands largely got lucky by releasing as a co-op game when there weren't really that many that existed (this was a a time when Call of Duty/Gears of War/Halo were "the shit" and most FPSes were all about that realistic and/or futuristic Team Deathmatch) and it was funded largely by ripping off Sega. It had tons of problems it really should not have had and if it had even the slightest competition it would have fallen apart (like Battleborn did).

Edit - Jesus fuck apparently the art style was lifted. There really isn't a saving grace for the game.

EDIT 2- Also all of these problem are still around in the pre-sequel, meaning that in six years they still can not sort out basic problems but took the time to make a jetpack that makes farting noises.
 
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Visitor

Owner of The Universe, the CIA and Great Britain
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
the main one is the art style - which is pretty cool
If you weren't aware, the artstyle was a wholesale ripoff of this
They were even in contact with the artist who created this look before the game was released, then stopped replying to his emails after having offered to work with and pay him if I remember correctly. It was a long time ago so I may not be recalling the details correctly.
Everything else you said is spot on though, fuck Borderlands. Trash game.
 

The Demon Pimp of Razgriz

Still Pimpin
kiwifarms.net
If you weren't aware, the artstyle was a wholesale ripoff of this
They were even in contact with the artist who created this look before the game was released, then stopped replying to his emails after having offered to work with and pay him if I remember correctly. It was a long time ago so I may not be recalling the details correctly.
Everything else you said is spot on though, fuck Borderlands. Trash game.
So basically, their one and only real success was still a ripoff of someone else's work? This company is trash. One of the Youtube comments for the video went into more details surrounding the situation, so I'll quote it here for those interested:

"From the wiki page of Codehunters:

Gearbox Software's Borderlands (series) is claimed to be inspired by the film. Kotaku reported on the subject debating how much "inspiration" was actually taken. Reports show Ben Hibon was in talks to work on the project but contact ceased:

"I was contacted by Gearbox prior to the re-design of the game – in 2008. They asked me if I would be interested to direct/design some cut-scenes for them. We exchanged a few emails but the project didn’t materialize in the end. I didn’t think much of it at the time – until I saw the final game in 2009. To be absolutely clear – I have never created or designed anything for Gearbox or Borderlands. Gearbox saw my work and decided to reproduce it – make it their own – without my help or my consent. The hardest part for me when this happened was understanding why they wouldn't ask me directly. We were already talking about doing some work together – it made no sense." — Ben Hibon

When asked how he felt about the credit for the new art style going to co-founder and Art Director, Brian Martel, Hibon had this to say:

"I always think of the talented team of artists working at Gearbox – who could have created something original and bespoke instead of copying someone else’s short film… and I feel bad for them." — Ben Hibon

Credit was never given to Hibon until the plagiarism was pointed out, Randy Pitchford said: "artists and designers at Gearbox were inspired and influenced by it." Earlier versions of the work had no cell-shading whatsoever."
 

Lou Wrong

Butthurt about Buddyloids
kiwifarms.net
I'm going to drop a hot-take and suggest that Borderlands is largely "OK" and certainly trends closer to "Awful" than "Good".

The concept was not revolutionary - they just put the Diablo 2 gameplay loop (increasing power through non-static loot) with an Action RPG skill tree. The combat is not remarkably good (in paricular, at early levels and later levels) and the enemy variety is fine but not actually very deep mechanically with most enemies just standing around with no cover and the scaling is very bad in large parts of the games. It was a co-op game that had no co-op level scaling, meaning that if you wanted to play with friends you basically had to make new characters (as in, a level 20 person and a level 5 person could not really play together in a meaningful way) despite other games having this figured out a full 7 years earlier (at least).

The writing ranges from "pretty bad" to "remarkably bad" and relies on a tremendous over saturation of memes, even for 2009 standards. It frequently reads like a robot was forced to read the newgrounds forums for a year straight and then generate a video game script. Anything that landed initially as a "funny joke" for most people was the first drop of water in a tidal wave of "here comes the same joke forty more times" (Ex- Torgue "explosions" jokes, Tiny Tina does something crazy, Scooter says something inappropriate, Handsome Jack says something nonsensical). Memes that would be funny as a single reference become full on long quests or entire quest chains and as a concept overstay their welcome and aren't clever of fun and the game is a huge end-to-end slog of them. Even when the writing is "serious" it's still god-awful, stale, predictable with the unpredictable parts being even worse.

There are a few touches that likely weren't made by high level execs (like Pitchford) and the main one is the art style - which is pretty cool and likely unintentionally helped to frame the game's "zaniness" by giving it a cartoony feel. There are a few small quests that are neat, a few small story beats that are ok, and a few clever mechanics (Second Wind comes to mind) that are fun but Borderlands largely got lucky by releasing as a co-op game when there weren't really that many that existed (this was a a time when Call of Duty/Gears of War/Halo were "the shit" and most FPSes were all about that realistic and/or futuristic Team Deathmatch) and it was funded largely by ripping off Sega. It had tons of problems it really should not have had and if it had even the slightest competition it would have fallen apart (like Battleborn did).

Edit - Jesus fuck apparently the art style was lifted. There really isn't a saving grace for the game.

EDIT 2- Also all of these problem are still around in the pre-sequel, meaning that in six years they still can not sort out basic problems but took the time to make a jetpack that makes farting noises.
Never played Borderlands but I strongly disagree with several parts of your post. Sticking a Diablo 2 loot styling into an FPS/RPG was revolutionary. Its the default design of the industry's biggest games now but no-one had done it before and no-one, that I can remember, was doing it back when Gearbox decided to. Diablo had existed, successfully, for over a decade at that point and other genres were not copying it, and they still aren't- they are copying Borderlands.

I can't comment on the gameplay or humor, although I remember the usual places cringing about Reddit references. More to the point, while not necessarily our style, thethey are exactly what the general audience wants. The gameplay loop is almost scientifically designed to keep people playing longer than they would an average game and as to the jokes, well... there's no accounting for taste. Hell, lets be honest, your average game has pretty awful writing, I full believe that no matter how cringey the occasional meme reference could be, its better than the industry standard. And yeah, the art style was plagiarized, its one of Randy's calling cards. But remember, he never as far as anyone was aware, had to pay out to the artist and the art style, in the public's mind was a big hit and became iconic to the series. It was a big win for Pitchford, a big scummy win that probably would not have come out of another studio head.
 

Tanner Glass

kiwifarms.net
Never played Borderlands but I strongly disagree with several parts of your post. Sticking a Diablo 2 loot styling into an FPS/RPG was revolutionary. Its the default design of the industry's biggest games now but no-one had done it before and no-one, that I can remember, was doing it back when Gearbox decided to. Diablo had existed, successfully, for over a decade at that point and other genres were not copying it, and they still aren't- they are copying Borderlands.

I can't comment on the gameplay or humor, although I remember the usual places cringing about Reddit references. More to the point, while not necessarily our style, thethey are exactly what the general audience wants. The gameplay loop is almost scientifically designed to keep people playing longer than they would an average game and as to the jokes, well... there's no accounting for taste. Hell, lets be honest, your average game has pretty awful writing, I full believe that no matter how cringey the occasional meme reference could be, its better than the industry standard. And yeah, the art style was plagiarized, its one of Randy's calling cards. But remember, he never as far as anyone was aware, had to pay out to the artist and the art style, in the public's mind was a big hit and became iconic to the series. It was a big win for Pitchford, a big scummy win that probably would not have come out of another studio head.
No offense, but I think you'd have to play the game to realize it wasn't revolutionary. Conceptually it was fine (not revolutionary, but fine) but in execution it was boring. The weapons are randomized but not really in a fun way as they all boil down to <weapon type> with a chance to do <elemental damage> with random modifiers added on top (extra bad recoil, bonus melee damage, random number for magazine capacity, etc) but nothing that effected the gameplay like Diablo 2. In borderlands games your are nearly forced to carry one of each weapon type (fire, shock, corrosive, in BL2 slag) in your four weapon slots, a problem that gets substantially worse on higher difficulties making the game less fun and each character called for specific weapons inside their skill trees (Maya has SMG skills, Zer0 has sniper rifle skills) so there wasn't a ton of deviation there. If you were level 30 and had a corrosive SMG you would be looking for a level 35 corrosive SMG at level 35. Compared to Diablo, which had a number of items that dramatically changed gameplay for all classes.

Speaking of classes, the classes in Borderlands are also garbage. Each character had one active skill and it was usually a very passive one at that, the rest of the skill trees (of which there are 3 per character) were full of passive skills, timed skills (when you kill an enemy do 4% extra damage for 2 seconds), and skills that added on your passive with more passive effects (example - two characters in the game have an active skill of "deploy" a turret. One of the "ultimate" skills is "the turret also heals nearby allies and gives ammo"). Diablo 2 (a game nearly a decade older) had much more fleshed out classes and the different trees fleshed out the people within the same class well enough.

The humor is really god awful, I know you haven't played it but if you've played World of Warcraft, think of the worst writing there and you'll have borderlands' writing. I specify WoW because it has the same problem, a small joke dragged out (WoW has an entire Indiana Jones themed area completed with several appearances by "Harrison Jones", after he appeared several times in previous expansions).

TL;DR - Diablo 2 perfectly mixed with a FPS would be revolutionary, but Borderlands isn't that game. Borderlands is a basic, mediocre co-op game that by chance released when fatigue was starting for the non co-op modes of other shooters (Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch). It lacks real depth compared to D2 and really any other game as an RPG and lacks real depth when compared to any other shooter (co-op or otherwise) from it's time or earlier. It largely gets a pass because one time through and with friends it's "OK", but even then only on the first difficulty level.

I would posit that any game can be made good with friends.

EDIT - Also, any "very cool" gun is one you were likely to never use or see, as the "legend tier" drop rate was unbelievably low (1/10000 per lootable instance, but inside of a very deep loot pool that also includes relics, shields, class mods) and even if you got one, it would be tied to your level and would have to be one that your character was able to spec into (found an orange shotgun on Mordecai? tough luck.)
 
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Whatevs

kiwifarms.net
Borderlands wasn't the first looter shooter, that would of been Hellgate London by David Brevik of Diablo fame. That game was released in 2007, so Borderlands was far from revolutionary. If anything it was revolutionary with the crazy guns, but that's about it. As far as a ARPG/FPS looting games go, some of the areas were uninspired and tedious to get through, enemies too sparse sometimes and the meme writing ages the game badly.

And as had been said before, fuck Randy for fucking over Aliens Colonial Marines, could had been a great game. But instead using Sega's money to make BL2 was just straight up theft. That fucker got off easy, and should have been the ire of every other developer for his bad business practices.
 

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