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Pitchford attacks Dead Space multiplayer

Gearbox CEO: MP modes "can't be forced".

Publishers are needlessly shoehorning extraneous multiplayer modes into games that don't suit them in an attempt to maximise profits, so says Gearbox boss Randy Pitchford.

Speaking in an interview with Edge, Pitchford suggested that the inclusion of multiplayer modes often did not best serve the game concept and was only done in an attempt to tick all the boxes on a typical Call of Duty feature list.

"When you boil it down to that, you take the ability to make good decisions out of the picture," he insisted. "And the reason they do it is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer.

"You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can't be forced. That's the problem."

Pitchford went on to single out EA's recent Dead Space 2 as an example.

"It's ceiling-limited; it'll never do 20 million units. The best imaginable is a peak of four or five million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: 'How do I get a higher ceiling?' And they look at games that have multiplayer.

"They're wrong, of course. What they should do instead is say that they're comfortable with the ceiling, and get as close to the ceiling as possible. Put in whatever investment is required to focus it on what the promise is all about."

Gearbox's next game, the long-delayed Duke Nukem Forever, launches on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in June, complete with four different multiplayer modes.

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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