When the Pre-Sequel to Borderlands was announced this week, one thing was incredibly noticeable. The new borderlands game would only be available on previous gen. That means all the newly excited PS4 and Xbox One owners are going to be coveting their old machines again, should they be lucky enough to have both. However, why Borderlands isn’t making the leap to next gen has been explained by Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford. When speaking with Eurogamer Pitchford had this to say;
Currently there is, between PS3 and Xbox 360, over 150m installed units worldwide – probably 170m is more realistic…. There are fewer Xbox Ones and PS4s than we sold copies of Borderlands 2……..you can’t make a business rationalisation around that.“
The last sentence is perhaps very telling, “you can’t make a business rationalisation around that.” In the current climate of next gen, it is very clear the exclusive titles sell well, often in the millions. Whilst I believe Pitchford’s logic sounds well….. relatively sound, why not have a game capable of playing on both? Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Titanfall are all prime examples of catering to both mass markets.
Even now, there are plenty of titles between today and christmas that are appearing on both consoles. Generally, the second Christmas sales for new consoles are a marked improvement on the first – as many who held out with their previous gen console are beginning to get twitchy and struggle to resist the excitement of next gen. Some games, because of their graphical prowess, will only ever be on PS4 and Xbox One. Warner Bros already citied problems with their upcoming Lord of the Rings game, Shadow of Mordor. Declaring that their rather impressive nemesis system will be toned down on on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in comparison to their peers.
Other publishers have chosen to end parts of certain franchises by handing them to a different developer, to effectively say goodbye to the previous gen while they maintain work on the next big project. Warner Bros are effectively doing this with Batman Arkham Origins, which was developed by Warner Bros Montreal while the original team, Rocksteady, quietly worked on the first next gen instalment. Whilst the next gen project Batman Arkham Knight will be Rocksteady’s final undertaking of the dark knight, Warner Bros Montreal’s Arkham Origins felt like a fair well to the the old consoles and looks to be the last time we’ll pit our wits against the Joker. Alternatively, Ubisoft are suspected of catering for both sets of consoles this year with Assassin’s Creed Unity set for next gen and the rumoured to be in development, Assassin’s Creed Comet set for previous gen.
Pitchford was also quoted saying, “It’s not free to build a game for next-gen. So when we decide where to spend our resources, we want to spend all of the attention we can on the game itself.” 2K famously downsized it’s company by closing down the 2k Marin studio and if the decision not to jump to next gen is purely a financial one, then I could understand and respect the decision. Yet, I feel once again this is a smokescreen for the next gen project. If a company is concerned about a title not selling well, why have 2k chosen to spend so much time developing Borderlands 2 for the PS Vita. The Vita is a fantastic bit of kit but hasn’t exactly set ablaze the gaming market. Very few Vita titles dominate the ‘All Formats Chart.’
Whilst Xbox 360 and PS3 owners will be rejoicing at their luck, Borderlands has been handed over to 2K Australia and is only being overseen by Gearbox. If the pattern is to be followed, Gearbox could potentially be working on a next gen instalment. If not then 2k could be taking a risk and this belief that previous gen is still more dominant could be a gross oversight. Next gen is on the rise and you can expect more households replacing their 360’s/Ps3’s with Ps4’s and Xbox One’s. Stay tuned for this one.