Gearbox CEO Says That He Lost $10-$15 Million On Aliens: Colonial Marines

2285006-alienscolonial2_56333_screenGearbox CEO, Randy Pitchford got a lot of flack when Aliens: Colonial Marines came out. The drama as to why is long and spans several sources, but as a summary, people were disappointed in the game and due to pre-release advertising showing 'better' graphics than what it shipped with, people thought they had been lied to.

On top of that, there was an unsubstantiated rumour going around that Gearbox had taken money meant for Aliens and had instead put it into Borderlands. In an interview with IGN, Pitchford claims this is far from the case and that he actually lost a significant amount of money on the game:

I lost somewhere between $10 million and $15 million that I invested in that game. I still don't regret it – I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. But no, the plan was to entertain people with this awesome Aliens experience.

What's weird is that I actually like the game. Some people invented this myth that if we tried it would have been good, so we must not have tried. Maybe we didn't spend the money on this game, maybe we spent it on another one that was good? So there's this rumour we'd embezzled money from Aliens and spent it on Borderlands. Firstly, that's absurd, and secondly the actual truth is the opposite, which is a lot more embarrassing. We took a huge amount of the money that we'd made off the first Borderlands, invested it into Aliens trying to make it as good as we could, and still ended up disappointing a huge number of people. That's a whole other kind of failure! But it's all from this fundamental truth, which is we tried to do a good job and entertain people and some people didn't like it.

It's a pretty long interview and I encourage you to read the rest of Pitchford's recounting of the Aliens game saga. I don't find all of his arguments convincing, but I do believe him and Gearbox were genuinely trying to make a good game. It just obviously went quite far awry.