Randy Pitchford: Risk is the path forward for video games

BattlebornAs a huge fan of the Borderlands franchise I’ve been consistently impressed by Gearbox’s president Randy Pitchford. His attitude and approach to games has brought one of the most creative takes on an RPG to the forefront of the gaming industry. And with Borderlands the Handsome Edition around the corner for next-gen consoles, the innovative title Battleborn on the horizon, and the already anticipated Borderlands 3, he has carved out a good portion of the gaming community with a significant fan base. Recently he said something that earned him even more of my respect. When talking about the future of gaming and how it needs to continue to adapt and change he said,

“And the biggest and most exciting things that we’re going to be doing in interactive entertainment in the future are things that we can’t even conceive of today. And we’ll never get there unless we actually are comfortable taking some risks and trying things we haven’t done before.”

I could not agree more. I’ve recently written quite a bit about how game companies need to refocus on fun and innovation as well as stability and quality. In fact, the main reason I started this site, Say No To Rage, is because I want to work for Randy Pitchford at Gearbox and I started writing about video games to send him my thoughts. Everything I wrote and sent him, except for my Borderlands 3 ideas, has been placed here in the hopes that it helps improve the industry and the perspective of fellow gamers. And I continue to write and share my ideas.

Risk paves the way

If you look at successful game franchises you will find that they did not become a popular and adored by playing it safe. They took a risk, stepped out onto a new frontier, and paved the way with new ideas. Now too many titles are established enough to just continue phoning it in with new releases that are less and less distinguishable as a stand alone game. Look I get it, risk is scary, and you want to keep investors happy, but eventually the luster will chip and fade on your umpteenth sequel and sales will start to decline. And honestly, consumers, especially gamers, are so addicted to what is new that game companies stand to make large sums of money if they provide new and innovative ideas.

Fresh ideas

Look, I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk. So here are some ideas for innovative and fresh new games…

Germs – 1-4 player RPG co-op side-scroller. Pick from a variety of germs that have different abilities and skills and fight your way through a human body and jump to other humans and attempt to spread a pandemic. Bosses and enemies would get harder as humans continue to develop medicines and treatments, but you would grow and mutate as well.

The Library – 1-4 player RPG co-op top down dungeon crawler. Pick a genre of book: fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, or horror, and then pick your character team based on that genre. Each book has variety of characters you play as and move your way through the various books of the library. When fighting through your own genre you get bonuses, so pairing up with buddies and picking different genre characters would be key.

Blackout – 3rd person shooter, 1-4 co-op. Massive solar flares from the sun have knocked out all of the worlds electric grids, or so you’re told. Start out by surviving and establishing a base camp in your suburban neighborhood by scavenging, hunting, and fighting off looters. Things quickly spiral out of control as the government and military start capturing humans for scientific experiments in an operation referred to as “light switch”. Weaponry and tactics would escalate, starting with simple pistols, shotguns, and melee weapons to fully decked out military armaments and off the books future weapons.

Time-lapse – 1st person shooter, single player. Short range time travel is a standard issue to all police officers, enabling them to more effectively fight crime. The main character must search for his partner who suddenly disappeared, and the story has a crazy-twist-open-for-a-sequel-ending. The PTTU, personal time travel unit, leaves behind what is called “remnant matter”, which allows you to be in two places at once, in a sense, for short periods of time. Breaching into buildings, puzzles, and stealth movement could be creative and fun when you can be your own partner.

Like my ideas? Contact me if you want to use one, or share your ideas below. Please share this entry on facebook and twitter if you enjoyed it.

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