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Gearbox reveals shelved plans for Heat tie-in

Pitchford: "There needs to be a good heist game."

Borderlands developer Gearbox Software has shed more light on its shelved plans to make a game based on acclaimed 1995 De Niro/Pacino heist flick Heat.

Speaking in an interview with GameInformer, studio boss Randy Pitchford revealed that he agreed terms with the film's director Michael Mann and studio New Regency but the project never got off the ground.

"I think there needs to be a good heist game. I don't think there really is one," mused Pitchford.

"There have been people that have made some attempts. 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."

The project never actually reached the production phase and the license has "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 New Regency we missed the window after the deal got done.

"I think it would be cool to play an awesome heist game," he added.

"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."

Pitchford also mentioned that Gearbox also "looked at" licensing Blade Runner, Sin City, and "a couple of other Frank Miller things".

The Texas-based studio's current slate includes Borderlands 2, Aliens: Colonial Marines and Brothers in Arms: Furious 4.