The Heat name "lends credibility" to it; a heist-based game that's "in-your-face" action. If the deal for the Heat IP had been done earlier then "that’s where our attention would have gone."
Pitchford is happy that Gearbox goes after IPs created by others, as long as it can inspire them. "With Aliens, it’s a no-brainer," he declared, referring to Aliens: Colonial Marines.
"Part of the fascination with Halo is because it’s basically derivative of the Colonial Marines stylings. You can feel James Cameron’s’ influences all over Halo. The sergeant in Halo is Apone. I’ve been stealing from Aliens forever; I’m not ashamed to say it," continued the studio boss.
"What you’ll find is in the future is that Gearbox will create new things. When we do it’s usually because there’s something that we might identify as a worthy bet that’s not covered anywhere else. That’s where we’ll create new things. At the same time, there’s a lot of awesome stuff in the world that other people created. We will always keep that thread alive."
After Brothers in Arms finished they put together a list of "awesome properties that we’d love to get involved in," and Aliens was at the top of that. It could have been different had a deal been brokered earlier, apparently.
"I did a deal with New Regency and Michael Mann for Heat. I think there needs to be a good heist game. I don’t think there really is one. There have been people that have made some attempts," said Pitchford.
"Most heist stories in passive entertainment, like television and film, are usually about the elaborate plan and, if it goes well, there’s actually the absence of conflict. Heat had hockey masks and AK 47s, and that was a reasonable strategy, in that one case, to go at it face first."
"Eventually other things started to cover it. Kane and Lynch tried some things. What I thought was great was basically the Heat mission in Grand Theft Auto IV. We had some other priorities at the time and I wasn’t able to do anything with Heat."
"We also looked at Sin City, a couple other Frank Miller things, and Blade Runner." Gearbox is also very busy with their own creation; Borderlands. A sequel has been announced and is well on its way. Sadly it seems that a Heat-based heist game won't be coming from Gearbox Software as that opportunity has passed.
"We did a deal so we had a license to create a video game based on Heat. I haven’t looked at that license in years. I’m sure there was a term on it. It’s probably expired. It was never a project, but there was intent. If the deal would have gotten done three months earlier than it had, that’s where our attention would have gone."
"I eventually told the New Regency we missed the window after the deal got done," said Pitchford.
"I think it would be cool to play an awesome heist game. That property lends credibility to it. It’s a nice word; you can picture it on the box. Because of what that movie represented, it tells you this approach to a heist game isn’t going to be “passively work out the secret plan,” this is going to be an in-your-face action game, which is the way we wanted to approach it."
"I also like how the movie Heat looked at it from both the point of view of the sociopathic killer and the law enforcement. It’s fun to use the safe medium of a video game to explore dark side kind of things. I’m always a good guy, too. I always pick the hero and go down the light path. I think that property would have allowed us to naturally make a game where it’s expected you’re playing in parallel the hero and villain sides of that conflict."
Have you enjoyed heist moments in video games like Kane & Lynch or Grand Theft Auto? Check out thebetween Randy Pitchford and Game Informer discussing Gearbox's future with licensed IPs.