"Everybody defines success based on what they risk versus what they're hoping to achieve by it, but the world defines success based on comparing things to one another. It's a relative thing."
Borderlands is remembered as a successful game that danced on the line between FPS and RPG, but during development a notable financial analyst told Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford that the game was doomed to fail.
The Borderlands franchise has since gone on to sell around 30 million units by Pitchford’s estimate, leading him to share some of his insights with Glixel on how fearlessness has become almost a staple of his game design philosophy.
“When I go into something that has risks to it, I tend to account for the possibility that it won't work out and make sure that I'm okay to take the risk, so that when it doesn't work out I'm not destroyed by it,” explained Pitchford. “Borderlands never could happen without that kind of fearlessness.”
In the interview, Pitchford talks about everything from the influence of RPGs on his early career to his more recent experiences with designing and developing a game like Battleborn that, through a handful of unfortunate circumstances, seems to be compared with Blizzard’s Overwatch at every turn.
Though the two games offer notably different experiences, the fact that Overwatch and Battleborn were both essentially hero-shooters bound them together in a way that Pitchford says initially made him fearful for the success of his own game.
“We've had, what, three and a half million people play Battleborn,” said Pitchford. “Relative to Overwatch, we're a failure, right?”
“Sometimes we'll have things that we think are failures and the outside world looks at it as a success and sometimes we have things that we think are successes and the outside world might look at it as a failure.”
For more from Pitchford, including a closer look at his opinions on the Nintendo Switch, take a look at the full interview over on Glixel.