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Randy Pitchford has no interest in next-gen motion control gimmicks

Randy Pitchford has no interest in next-gen motion control gimmicks Exclusive

August 29, 2012 | By Christian Nutt

In a recent Gamasutra interview, Gearbox Studios president Randy Pitchford teased a bit about the developer's next generation plans.

"We've got a few things going on right now that we haven't talked about but that'll appear later," Pitchford said.

Fortunately, Gamasutra was able to continue this conversation. What does he think about the next generation of consoles? Pitchford was very cagey, of course, refusing to make his thoughts known on either of the presumed platforms from Microsoft or Sony.

"I'm always excited by movement forward," Pitchford says. "Some of that comes from iteration with our software, and some of it comes from iteration with hardware, and some of it comes from invention... each new step kind of gives us new tools and new capabilities that always makes the entertainment better, if we use it right."

"More power is always better," says Pitchford. "There's always things we can do that we cannot do today that we can do with more power. So, that's always true."

Choosing his words carefully, he alluded to the fact that the hardware houses are all pushing different solutions on "interfaces and feedback."

"Different people make different stabs. Some of these stabs folks make become standards. Most of the time they're temporary gimmicks," he says. "I dont like getting behind gimmicks."

"I tend to like the things that feel like they can become standards, or steps towards standards."

The studio made the 2008 Wii version of Samba de Amigo for Sega because the developers were fans of the Dreamcast version of the rhythm game, and because it was a chance to experiment with the genre, platform, and "apply shake to something that really should only be shake."

"In the context of what it was for the Wii, it's just fun to shake things for certain experiences. But other experiences, it actually sucks, because you're using shake to emulate something you could better accomplish with a button press or a joystick," says Pitchford.

He acknowledges a future for motion control, but he can't predict it just yet -- nor does doing so interest him. "Who knows what that is? I don't really care," Pitchford says.

"You haven't seen Gearbox do a Kinect -- either a game or a feature -- that is just taking motion control and mapping it to what could've been better done with a button or a joystick movement. But that's not to say that we haven't thought about how you could use what the Kinect does, because it's really awesome," he says.

He does seem, however, to believe that game technology is inexorably moving toward full-body motion control.

"There are so many steps between now and the holodeck, or between now and The Matrix, and any number of those steps could be tested or introduced either as gimmicks or as potentials to new standards in any given hardware attempts. Those are always exciting."

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