Epic Fail: Bulletstorm Flops (But Unreal Lives)

By Alec Meer on July 25th, 2011 at 11:31 am.

There, there Big Hair Dude. It's not your fault. Well, maybe it is a bit, for not looking like Generic Soldier Man. That's all people want now.

This kind of thing just scares the hell out of me. While Bulletstorm isn’t exactly the kind of game I’m going to put on a pedestal and hail as the one true future of electronic entertainment, it was a new franchise, a rare shooter that didn’t take itself deathly seriously, a good-looker and a game that at least attempted a few bonus ideas. It did a lot of things right, and it was clearly having a great time in the process. Yet it didn’t turn a profit for devs People Can Fly and Epic.

That’s according to Epic president Mike Capps, as told to Kotaku – apparently the tongue-in-cheek man-shooter “didn’t make money for us.” Boo! Why it flopped – let’s not mince words – isn’t gone into. Increasing mainstream audience unwillingness to try unknown names? Not-quite-rapturous enough reviews? Fox News’ moronic, unresearched, knee-jerk war on it? Frankly pretty daft, 80s-esque box art that too many people took seriously? Who knows. But it’s a shame. Bulletstorm tried far harder than most big-budget games to purely entertain, and a few years ago I’m quite sure it would have been a huge hit. These are dark times.

Capps softens the blow somewhat by revealing that Epic haven’t given up either on People Can Fly or making big, bolshy games. “The next thing we do with People Can Fly will be great.”

A highly speculative mind that likes to make leaps of faith without any evidence whatsoever (hullo!) might be inclined to try and link that to a second interview, with Industry Gamers, in which Capps also hinted that Unreal might be due for a little new love in the not-too-distant. “We’ve been sort of focused on making new properties, which you’ve seen with Shadow Complex, BulletStorm and Infinity Blade, but sometimes I think just as a businessman that maybe we should be spending some more time with our existing franchises…

“It’s been a long time since we shipped an Unreal game, and it’s an awfully loved franchise that we hold pretty dear here. We haven’t been giving it the attention it deserves.”

I would like a new Unreal Tournament, please. And preferably one with completely different art direction to the murky yet excessive UT3.

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302 Comments »

  1. Tom De Roeck says:

    What I take offence with is that he said “the next thing we do “will” be great”. Why wasn’t bulletstorm great? Just because it didnt generate profit? I thought it was pretty neat! No matter if it has turned a profit yet or not.

    • Big Murray says:

      I don’t think you can infer from him saying the next game they make will be great that he was saying that Bulletstorm wasn’t.

    • starclaws says:

      Ya Bulletstorm looked like shit in the trailers before the game was even released. Also was extremely linear. Path looked 5 feet wide and full of stupid cinematic bullshit. It looked like a rip off of Gears of War. Would be nice if they would learn. These kinds of SHITstorms come out year after year and people gobble them up because ‘oooh it has explosions’ … Fuck this shit.

      Just because it would make Die Hard fans proud doesn’t mean it’ll make gamers proud. Make a game for game play. Not for interactive movies. And the game was actually shorter than a Die Hard movie. Last time I checked movies were only $20 … Why are games $60 when these fuckers keep releasing this stuff year after year? And we wonder why MMOs are getting popular… There’s nothing left to play!

    • TheTourist314 says:

      1) Bulletstorm was an approximate 8 hour game. Die Hard’s movie length is “131 min – Action | Thriller – 15 July 1988 (USA)”, according to IMDB. About 366% longer than you purported (it’s okay, not going to hold that against you).

      2) It was linear, but why is everyone insisting linear is such a bad word these days? Things can be linear and still be fun. Hell, I can never finish a GTA game ever because it’s so open. I get distracted, I go off and see something shiny, and then I just end up driving as fast as I can into the left lane just to watch a car get all mashed up. Sometimes you need linearity, sometimes you need focus. Bulletstorm definitely felt like People Can Fly had Epic watching over their shoulders the entire time, but it doesn’t mean it was bad. I had a lot of fun with it and almost beat it straight through in one go around. It dared to do something different than the usual cover-shooting/hide behind a wall rampant nonsense involving tight, strong weapon mechanics and a “dare to be extravagant” point system that rewarded creativity in killing. You won’t find that anywhere else.

    • Trousers says:

      I concur with Sir Tourist. I made it through most of it in one sit through, something I never do with new games these days. The non-cover system was a nice change of pace after playing mass effect 2 and mafia 2 before it.

      I liked the backgrounds especially. If it’s going to be linear, at least it has all the eye popping stuff in the background.

    • molten_tofu says:

      I too concur with Sir Tourist, Esq. I for one, much prefer lines over circles.

    • Carra says:

      I was thinking the same thing.

      Bulletstorm was a good & entertaining game.

    • ucfalumknight says:

      I must also agree with TheTourist. Linear does not mean bad. I suppose the only books you’ve ever read were those “Choose your own adventure books?” Sandbox games are great because you can just ramble around and do a mission or two if you please. Linear games are great because you have a clear objective in mind. I grow weary with the elitist snobbery about games being too cinematic and linear. Hey, I enjoyed the story of MW3 or CoD XVIII or whatever it was. This game is/was fun. God forbid a game being fun. And as far as replayability, it’s all about beating your “score” and getting better combos.

    • Atomosk says:

      You know what else was extremely linear? Portal 2.

    • joeymcjoeysalot says:

      You know what else was extremely linear? Portal 2.

      …and half life 2 and every valve game that has been considered one of the best games of all time. Linear is great if it is well scripted. Right now I’m not willing to throw out more than 20 bucks for a game, but I definitely want to give bulletstorm a try when it hits that price. It seemed like a lot of fun. I like that it didn’t take itself too seriously, without seeming as juvenile as say Duke Nukem Forever (which I wanted to be great soooo badly.).

    • Ezhar says:

      I too am still waiting for the GFWL-free version (hopefully via xliveless or game developers suddenly realizing that whatever money Microsoft pays them to put that shit in isn’t nearly enough to make up for the sales it costs them).

    • Gvaz says:

      Reasons why Bulletstorm is bad:
      >Has GFWL
      >background textures looked like cardboard cutouts
      >Story wasn’t exactly exciting, pacing was just right however
      >Guns had an interesting design, but felt limited
      >skillpoints are a nice idea but boring in practice since you’re never really rewarded for them. Oh more ammo and upgrade my guns a bit? *has a billion points left over with nothing to spend it on towards the end*
      >On rails as fuck

      Reasons why bulletstorm is good:
      >Blum is a voice actor
      >graphics seem nice

  2. Kdansky says:

    Face it, Bulletstorm is just moronic. I am happy that it bombed, because we do not need more games like it.

    • Malcolm says:

      I’m inclined to agree. A rare case of the games industry overestimating the puerility of the audience?

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      It certainly does look moronic, doesn’t it? So yeah, not unhappy about this at all.

    • Kdansky says:

      I assume that’s sarcasm. The big studios produce content exclusively for the 14 year old males, which is less than 20% of the gamer market (and they have little money to buy games with). I can’t find that demography report right now…

      @Johnny Lizard: If I get extra points for shooting people in the anus, it’s moronic. Period.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Right. We need to keep pretending that anything else we play is any more mature, ’cause it doesn’t have swearing and anuses (unless said swearing anuses are gritty and mature and VIIISCEEERAAL). We men don’t even have anuses! Let alone such dull witted ones.

    • gwathdring says:

      I think VVVVVV is more mature. I think Morrowind is more mature. I think Fallout 3 is more mature. I think Sands of Time is more mature. I think Frozen Synapse is more mature. I think Deus Ex is more mature. I think I could list a lot of games I play that are more mature. And some of them even have swearing.

      Your sarcasm is misplaced, sir.

    • Thants says:

      You’re wrong. Bulletstorm is actually pretty clever. Both in its writing and gameplay.

    • CelticPixel says:

      I wanna support companies for trying new IP, but I was never interested in Bulletstorm’s pitch. Tried the demo anyway, and I got nothing out of it.

    • lurkalisk says:

      Nay, gwathdring, misplaced not!

      People have kinda forgotten what’s unique about videogames: you can play them. You can whine all you want about how Bulletstorm wasn’t the heartrending video-ballad you wished it to be, but at the end of the day, the anus stuff doesn’t matter. It was fun, that’s what mattered.

      Take Gears of War, I managed to have fun with it (albeit not much) because I ignored the dreadful… Well everything save for gameplay mechanics. That’s what was important, that I managed to have some fun playing the game, no matter how shit the rest was.

    • Pamplemousse says:

      People bought SR2 and will buy SR3. Both these games have scatological humour and the latest instalment will have your protagonist beating people to death with a giant dildo, and yet SR2 was hailed as the game that ‘finally was a game being a game, and not pretending to be something else’.

      SR2 was praised for being puerile, disgusting and childish. That kinda shit sells. Bulletstorm looks tasteful compared to the trailer sequences of SR3 and what I played of SR2.

      Seems like a double standard to me, praising a game for being childish while condemning another for the very same thing.

    • Masked Dave says:

      Bulletstorm is immature to the point of genius though. It’s immature on purpose. It’s down-right silly!

      I fucking loved it.

    • marvelza says:

      i enjoyed bulletstorm singleplayer, had a fun multiplayer experience too

    • Caleb367 says:

      Bulletstorm out-Duked Duke Nukem. I think several marketing decisions are to blame – poor coverage, too details hammered in to scream “hey I’m actually a SEWIOUS game”, and especially a new, unknown franchise. I’m pretty sure that just modding Duke Nukem in place of Grayson Hunt and renaming that Duke Nukem 5 would have had better ratings than both BS and DN4, critics and audience alike.

    • gwathdring says:

      @ lurkalisk
      I’m not disagreeing with you that people can enjoy it, find it fun, and get a lot out of it as a game. Heck, maybe people are right and it has some good writing, too. I’d certainly try it before I’d try Duke Nukem Forever. But saying “it’s fine that Bulletstorm is immature” and “games are meant to be fun, not necessarily mature and serious” is very different from saying “Oh come off it, like the games you play are so much less puerile,” which is what your initial post insinuated. Speaking for myself, I genuinely do think most of the games I play are significantly more mature. Better? Haven’t played Bulletstorm. More original? Some less, some more. More fun? For me, probably yes.

      I wholeheartedly agree that new IPs and original games are needed in this industry. I wasn’t convinced Bullestorm was really as different as it wanted me to think. If it really was … well that’s a shame it didn’t sell better and I wish it the best. But in either case it’s not my thing.

      But I also think it’s just as bad to discount people who enjoy games that have a little bit more than just being fun going for them. I don’t need every game I play to be art, but I don’t need every game I play to be outrageous either. I don’t need every outrageous game I play to be crude–brilliantly intentional or not. I play games that are just plain fun quite a lot. But that’s not all I play, and I don’t think it’s somehow the better or more pure side of gaming simply because it’s older. Fun isn’t a one-size, one style experience.

    • Thwap says:

      I disagree with the “moronic” tag. I sigh wholeheartedly at the assertion that anyone is “happy that it bombed”. That’s just unnecessary. I have some advice for you, if you don’t like it….don’t buy it. If you buy it without doing some basic research on whether you might like it, then next time, check it out in advance before plunking down cash. Don’t glory in the failure of something, that’s just tacky.

      I found Bulletstorm to be a very fine mixture of interesting mechanics, a storyline full of parody and a general air of fun. Yes, “fun”. Ye gods. We must surely eradicate *that* from games.

      Might I venture that if you found it to be “moronic”, you rather missed the point. It was intended to take the atypical manshoot, with the hulking space marines, big guns and storylines written in capital letters, in crayon, and “crank it up to 11″ with a knowing smile. It took all of those things and pushed them to the point of parody, and it did it cleverly.

      Yes, cleverly, not a hint of moronosity in sight. What? It’s a word. Well, it is in *my* copy of the OED. Ahem.

      Might I venture that the original poster perhaps either:
      – didn’t play it, and is basing his view on…Fox News? Tea leaf readings? Something that a bloke down the pub told him?

      - did play it, and didn’t “get it”. This isn’t something which the game can really legislate for, and it certainly shouldn’t be berated over it.

      - did play it, but has a pathological aversion to games which involve shooting people in the backside as a “skill shot”. Taking the top of an opponents head off is fine it seems, as is shooting them in the throat, or any one of the other gruesome goals. So he just has an issue with…bottoms.

      Hrm. I’m not even going to touch that one, but I know the number for a good therapist if that might help. (Also, why in the name of the FSM would you buy a game like this, just to be outraged at it? The nonsensical Fox furore and widely available reviews of the game would surely have clued you in on the content, wouldn’t they?)

    • Velvetmeds says:

      Kdansky is right. There might be a lot of crap out there, but just cause this is a different kind of crap doesn’t mean it’s okay, it’s still crap. Glad it flopped.

      Besides, it’s not really different. It’s exactly the same but tries to show that it knows that. Which doesn’t make any difference..

      It’s like back then, when commercials started making fun of celebrity-sponsored commercials. But they were exactly the same, with celebrities making fun of that…

    • gwathdring says:

      Personally I’m not much for the American genre of reference humor. Or as hipsters tend to call it “Irony.” It’s funny because I know it isn’t and it’s funny because I quoted that one thing that may or may not have been funny in it’s original context (all of those Scary Movie type films I hope never to be subjected to in full). Bullestorm may or may not be guilty of this, but I can certainly say that most of the recent material I’ve come across in mainstream American entertainment that’s billed as satire … really doesn’t feel like satire. Exaggerating something does not necessarily make it funny, and so many American media outlets seem to think it does.

    • Tatourmi says:

      The storyline was in my opinion a good ten times more clever than your average manshoot plot. It had its moments and it was a pretty intelligent parody. The game was well made, had an interesting multiplayer, and quite nice weapons. It had some flaws, I do agree, but it was an exceptional manshoot and I was quite pleased with it.

    • bill says:

      I hear the story wasn’t that moronic.

      But they sure marketed it as moronic. Personally, the whole idea of it left a bad taste in my mouth, and so I stayed well away from it. I heard later that it wasn’t what it said on the tin – but that’s their fault.

    • Kdansky says:

      As for Saint’s Row 3: I find that game disgusting to the point of not even reading the RPS articles about it.

      I am just too old now (in my late twenties) to find flinging feces and mass murder funny. Though frankly, I never found them funny to begin with. I remember Kingpin, which was a needlessly brutal game from my youth, and I never found that interesting. I can have a perfectly good time without behaving like a retard.

      All in favour of dry and insulting humour (such as Cyanide and Happiness or Monty Python), but the difference between dark humour and immaturity is vast.

      Lastly: “It’s more mature than Gear of War” isn’t much of a point. That goes along “This movie has better acting than porn” and “This book is less misogynist than the bible”.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah, I found it to be pretty terrible, not sure what all the hype was about. It’s like they set out to remake Painkiller but in the process ruin everything good about it, and boy were they successful.

      If you find the word dick hilarious I imagine you would like it mind. Also, no it wasn’t more mature than Gears of War.

    • MSJ says:

      Look, I’m fine if people don’t like the game. But stop saying “I’m glad it bombed”. Save it for a “Oslo Terrorist/Al-Qaeda/School Shooter is A Great Hero” game or something.

    • badoli says:

      Imho MW2 and Blackops are quite moronic, still people buy them… Bulletstorm probably just had too many colors. 14-year-olds nowadays probably can’t handle anything but dirtbrown and gunmetalgray…

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Three cheers for Kdansky.
      I don’t see the appeal of a game whose main selling point seem to be that you have to find as creative and gory ways to kill living beings as possible. Perhaps the plot is smarter than that. But that is how they tried to sell it to me, so I didn’t buy it.

      Pretty disappointed to see Kieron and Quintin tell me to fuck off for just having a differing opinion too. I’ve seen other posters cautioned for a lot less than that. What happened to the “Let’s be excellent to each other?”

    • Tuan says:

      @Kdansky did you play it? Probably not.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Exaggerating something does not necessarily make it funny, and so many American media outlets seem to think it does.

      Except when the Pythons did it, that was funny!

      (and yes, I realize they mostly did very intelligent, surreal humor, but it doesn’t make their exaggerated and absurd bits any less funny)

    • Kadayi says:

      Is there some unseen hand forcing you to buy these games somehow? If a games not for you, you simply don’t buy it. End of story. I really don’t get this need people have to disparage or complain about things they have no interest in. It’s frankly bizarre that some people believe the word not conforming to their particular tastes is an affront, or a waste of time.

    • Kryopsis says:

      Despite the brevity of some of the comments here, it’s very easy to distinguish people whole played Bulletstorm from the people who did not. De gustibus non est disputandum and yet there is a big difference between simply disliking something and claiming pretentiously that something is beneath contempt. Please refrain for pushing your uninformed bullshit. If either your familiarity with the subject matter or the amount of braincells inside your thick skull is insufficient to engage in the discussion, simply abstain. At the very least, your credibility will then remain intact.
      Despite its linearity, Bulletstorm is one of the better shooters that came out in the last several years. Although the game did not take itself seriously, it had a surprisingly engaging story with a few interesting characters.

    • Johnny Lizard says:

      The barrier to playing a full-price game is too high for someone who is uninterested in the game to play just to have an informed opinion. The marketing, however, is for everyone.

      People who have played Bulletstorm (a self-selecting group) do tend to like it, and Kieron may even be correct in his assertion that it’s the best shooter of the year. Those of us who only have the marketing to judge it by are left to assume that it’s an orgy of frat-boy idiocy.

      There’s no schaedenfreude involved, and I have no ill-will towards Epic or People Can Fly, but that’s not what I want PC games to be, so for such a game to do badly isn’t the end of the world in my book.

      That might make me sound an arrogant tosser, but at the end of the day, if a game I like does well relative to a game I don’t like, that makes me happy. Surely that’s normal.

    • gwathdring says:

      @Jason

      But that witty context was important. It meant the out-of-left field bits weren’t the only content and overstayed their welcome less often. And their silly humor often wasn’t exaggerating anything specific. It was often quite originally ridiculous. What I mean by “exaggerating something” isn’t just behaving in an exaggerated manner. It’s taking some sort of content generated by other people (a movie, a character, a quote, a genre) and doing an exaggerated version. Lampooning. Caricature. Basic parody. For me to find it funny there usually has to be something else, something at least a little more interesting or absurd other than “It’s the same thing, only bigger louder and less logical!” I don’t need everything to be outright satire, but I need it to be more than exaggerated reference.

      Monty Python had some of that, but they had some of the more interesting or stranger stuff too. And I love the absurd humor. Absurd humor works better for me than for a lot of my friends. I’m not saying my choice of humor is superior. I just don’t get this sort of thing. I don’t think intentionally exaggerating another game’s traits makes you more clever than that game.

      Now it sounds like Bulletstorm may well be more interesting and more clever than the marketing gave it credit for. But even reading the quite favorable reviews, it didn’t interest me and didn’t seem different enough. So clever or not I probably wouldn’t like it, and yes I haven’t bloody well played it. But I read the reviews, I saw the advertising, I’ve read a heck of a lot of the positive comments in this thread. And I still haven’t heard anything that interests me enough to play it. It also sounded like the demo wasn’t all that great … maybe I’m misremember the reaction to the demo. And you can praise it’s cleverness all you like: the marketing angle didn’t scream mature, clever, or even unique to me. At all. I’m not pretending I played the game and thus can judge it properly. But given what I know, I’m not convinced.

    • Aankhen says:

      I agree with Lars and Kdansky. Being a parody or a satire doesn’t magically make everything okay.

      Kryopsis: someone touch a nerve there? :-P

    • Brutal Deluxe says:

      Bulletstorm is the only game I spent 30 quid on this year. It’s very glossy-looking, nicely paced and fun. I don’t regret buying it one bit.

    • Kryopsis says:

      Johnny Lizard:

      I see what you mean, however you can’t judge a product based on the marketing. Take that horrible PS3 commercial with the creepy baby (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqkNPcUMffU). How is that representative of the product? I’ll be honest, I found the Bulletstorm demo ending to be off-putting (“BIG BOSSES!! OOOH!”) but the game *is* good. It *is* the best FPS that came out this year, if not in the past several years. It *does* deserve to be in the genre hall of fame. The fact that people dismiss the game because Cliffy B is a juvenile dick doesn’t mean the game is not good and that’s what my comment was all about. I do have an issue with people basing their opinion on the marketing because marketing and artificial hype is one of the issues with games in general.

  3. Rii says:

    Does anyone really care about Unreal at this point? Maybe there’s a niche for another UT title given that none of the purported successors to Q3/UT2K4 really took off, but is it a profitable niche, particularly given that the game – like UT3 – would inevitably be compromised in the interests of the console boxes?

    Oh, I see where they’re going: F2P.

    • Tori says:

      If the next Unreal game would be as magical as the first one (and nothing like the second one) I would be VERY interested.

    • Flint says:

      Unreal 1 is one of my favourite FPS games so yeah, I’d definitely care about another Unreal (as long as it was a singleplayer game and not another Tournament).

    • skinlo says:

      UT2k4 was one of my most played games, so I;d be very happy with a updated version of that. UT3 lost some of the magic for me.

    • Neut says:

      Remake Unreal 1 as an open world FPS RPG like Stalker, set on an alien world with the simple goal of finding a way off the planet but otherwise letting you explore to your heart’s content. I’d buy it.

    • The Sentinel says:

      @Neut: that’s a fabuilous idea, although it runs counter to everything Epic seem to create; I’m not sure they’ve got the skills to realise something like that.

      Mind you, if Id can go a bit open-world with Rage then maybe it is time Epic took a bit of a gamble and pushed themselves.

    • Neut says:

      I dunno, they did make the original Unreal once so I think they have it in them, and there’s no denying that there are a lot of very talented people working for them. However, whether it’s something they think is worth making…

  4. 12kill4 says:

    I think this is the kind of game which will benefit a lot from a price drop and a good steam sale. It seems like it was on the radar for a lot of people but just not desirable enough to fork out full retail for…

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s sort of what I think. Gamers don’t like being told not to play games … I don’t think Fox News dented the sales all too much. They’ve tried to tear down games that sold really well in the past. Grand Theft Auto had heat from all kinds of sources and still did pretty damn well.

      I don’t think the marketing campaign helped that either. I think EA’s advertising department needs some serious work.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      From what I remember of the frequent TV spots they didn’t exactly sell why this game was different to all those other shooters. Games still seem to be stuck in a rut where everything is advertised in the style of a late 80s- early 90s action film.

    • gwathdring says:

      Even Dragon Age: Origins. That was really weird …

      Oh and don’t forget the “Your mom and grandma think this game is SOOOOOOOO appalling! Buy it now!” deadspace commercial.

    • WaveOfMutilation says:

      It’s a game that I really wanted to pick up, I loved the demo. But after going through a big hassle where Microsoft locked me out of all of my GFWL games for 2 weeks, I don’t purchase GFWL titles anymore.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Agree, but wasn’t there some hubabub about GfWL with this game or something, was it included in the final release, not that it would’ve stopped me from buying it (100$AUD for it did stop me however.), I bought Arkham Asylum(didn’t know about GfWL) and haven’t played it yet, thanks to the devilware.

    • Jumwa says:

      The inclusion of GFWL lost it two sales from my home, I’ll say that much.

    • westyfield says:

      Games for Windows Live lost them a sale to me as well. Since Arkham Asylum I’ve been very careful to avoid GfWL like the plague.

    • Farewell says:

      GFWL is the main reason I didn’t buy this, even though I was intrigued by the footage I saw.

      Perhaps I can find a pirate version with Microsoft’s malware stripped out…

    • Po0py says:

      This. I’m still looking forward to buying this but full price retail is silly for a game like BulletStorm. I could take my pick from a tonne of any other PC shooters and have as much fun. I don’t doubt the good reviews it’s gotten. I’ll get it once the price drops.

    • Kablooie says:

      I was waiting for a price drop also, but it’s going to have to be a substantional discount. My impression of the game was that the singleplayer was stunted, and the focus was on multiplayer and leaderboards. Not very effective selling points for me. Now with the delay inherent in waiting for a major price drop (and I mean major), Bulletstorm multiplayer is likely to be a ghost town, so it’s value drops even more.

      As for the humor, well . . .l have to admit I’ve a pavlovian reaction to any games Faux News bashes. I immediately start to salivate.

    • hey_Im_Wyatt says:

      I agree, if it started out at $20 bucks I might have bought this title. But I don’t think the game is worth the price tag.

  5. Jimbo says:

    Short campaign + lack of multiplayer = No reason to buy instead of rent.

    “…a few years ago I’m quite sure it would have been a huge hit.”

    I suspect not. Do you have any similar examples from a few years ago which did result in a big hit?

    • Masked Dave says:

      There’s quite fun multiplayer actually (as long as you have friends to play with rather than randoms). The horde mode was quite enjoyable.

    • studenteternal says:

      It did not have any competitive multiplayer, but it did have multiplayer modes. speaking for myself, the demo was fun, and I will probably grab it on a steam sale, but it was too puerile to pay full retail for.

    • Jimbo says:

      Still, a lack of multiplayer compared to what the market demands nowadays. When other games have horde mode, co-op levels, various forms of competitive MP, persistent character progression etc. as well as a ~6 hour campaign… what Bulletstorm had to offer just doesn’t cut it anymore.

      Being a new IP didn’t kill this game; there being little reason to BUY the game is what killed it. Players could quite easily get everything they wanted out of the game just by renting it. Borderlands is a fairly recent example of how to do new IP the right way.

      It is possible to overcome a lack of multiplayer options in a FPS, by making your SP ~15+ hours long and a little bit more involved. The new Fallout games and Bioshock were very successful for example, but not with 6-8 hour campaigns.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Personally I prefer a small multiplayer like the one which was given. It’s mainly a singleplayer campaign, why bother with the multiplayer in the first place?

      It’s like STALKER, or Bioshock, these are not games which are supposed to be played multi.
      There was no reason for Bulletstorm to have a strong competitive multiplayer. It would have been complicated to do anyway, since the main idea is to make the enemies fly away, lose control. It wouldn’t work in multiplayer, so you would have to just take that away, and find a bland multiplayer.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Its muliplayer was way more than a horde mode and might have been the most original one in a good five years of manshoot. Besides, the game is not puerile, but well, already discussed I guess.

    • Jimbo says:

      “Personally I prefer a small multiplayer like the one which was given.”
      -You represent a small part of the market.

      “It’s mainly a singleplayer campaign, why bother with the multiplayer in the first place?”
      -To give the larger part of the market a reason to buy the game, rather than just rent it.

      “It’s like STALKER, or Bioshock, these are not games which are supposed to be played multi.”
      -No it isn’t, because the SP on those games takes about 2-3x as long to play through. Long enough to justify purchasing the game instead of just renting.

      It’s all well and good making a quality game (which Bulletstorm was by most accounts), but if they’re going to completely ignore the market reality (which has been well established for a good few years now) then it shouldn’t be all that surprising when the game doesn’t sell.

      Borderlands and Bulletstorm both received near identical critical receptions and both had a decent amount of marketing. Borderlands was a success because it took into account that -one way or another- you have to give customers sufficient reason to buy instead of rent. Bulletstorm failed because it didn’t.

      If Bioshock Infinite comes out with a 6 hour campaign and little in the way of multiplayer then that won’t do very well either, regardless of how good those 6 hours are. A little better because of blind pre-orders, but not enough to save it.

    • Gnoupi says:

      People renting games = small portion of the PC market, especially with digital distribution, don’t take your personal experience for a general fact, as well.

      You would be surprised by the amount of people who don’t care about multiplayer.
      Take Demigod, a MOBA, clearly made for multiplayer. Only 23% of people actually played it online. A similar situation was with Supreme Commander, too, and with plenty of other games.

      My point about STALKER and Bioshock is that these are not games made for multiplayer, they are mainly single player. Adding multiplayer in them was mostly a waste of time and resources, just to check the “we have multiplayer” column.

      Personally, I spent a good 15 hours on the single player from Bulletstorm on my first run, a bit less on the second, and I had fun. I don’t need to have a multiplayer to it, which would be “another game”, after all. There are dedicated multiplayer games, they do the job right. The same way there are dedicated single player games. Doesn’t mean people will just rent if they don’t see “multiplayer”.

      Maybe that’s your case, but you’re not everyone.

  6. President Weasel says:

    Theoretically, according to people who theorise about this sort of thing for a living, this is a terrible time to release new IP. The best time is at the beginning of a new console cycle – but where are the new consoles?

    • The Sentinel says:

      This is a substantial part of what’s wrong with gaming these days. This talk of “IP” and “franchises”, and the stupid-beyond-belief need to shackle development cycles to the consoles…if the Indie crowd has shown us anything it’s that none of that bullshit matters. If you’re thinking in these terms, then you’re limiting yourself quite severely and should expect results like Bulletstorm’s as a result.

    • JFS says:

      The Sentinel is right. IP and franchise may help with sales, but they’re by far not the only thing that matters. Unfortunately, the suits don’t care.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      The problem is indie games do far better given their markets and budgets. When you’re making a game that can cost thousands or even millions to produce, it’s hard to bank that sort of budget on something experimental. Not that I’d really call Bulletstorm experimental really, but dealing with that large amount of money invested you need to make something you know will do well. If something turns out to be a complete flop, that could really be a financial disaster.

    • President Weasel says:

      And yet the statistics do suggest these “suits” are right, and here’s a nice empirical example of a new IP “flopping” towards the end of a console cycle.

  7. lurkalisk says:

    Honestly, I would be disappointed if PCF ever made a really profitable title.

  8. hardband says:

    Another new IP flops :(

    This is really sad, I really enjoyed and liked Bulletstorm, but I guess most consumers don’t want to risk new IPs and would rather just sequels, shame that.

    • bigblack says:

      Nonsense. I can’t speak for everyone else, but the fact the game was a new ip didn’t factor once into my decision to not buy it. My impression of the Bulletstorm release: the marketing annoyed me, the game appeared shallow and gleefully juvenile (which, personally, is not a good route into my FPS heart of hearts), and in the end it seemed like a poor value for the price without offering meaningful multiplayer or co-op.
      I read the positive review here and struggled to see that game in the demo that I tried, but based on what I did see, $60 just didn’t feel right. I had friends who bought and enjoyed the game and even they couldn’t tell me it was worth $60. So enough of the “new ip” stuff, this game didn’t look like it was worth the dough.

  9. Skeletor68 says:

    I actually really enjoyed Bulletstorm. My little bruvver got it for PS3 and it was a blast. It isn’t a modern day masterpiece but it was certainly more fun than the po faced rubbish commonly found in FPS games. This is probably sacrilege to some but I had an awful lot more fun with it than I did with Gears of War.

    Also, I would love a new game based on the original Unreal. Just a big atmospheric world to explore. That would do me.

  10. gwathdring says:

    I had no interest in Bulletstorm … but the last thing I want is for publishers to get more scared of trying new things. Things are bad enough in that department.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Bulletstorm wasn’t exactly the most “original new ip” ever.

      It was colorful, entertaining, but in the end not so far in game design from some CoD or else.

      But in general it’s true that it’s hard to see that when AAA games are going just a little bit away from the grey/brown/”realistic” trend, they usually end up making a flop.

      Mirror’s edge, Dead Space 1, Madworld, and plenty others flopped even if critics liked them. Really hard to make a “new AAA ip”.

      Hopefully we still have independent studios to refresh the market.

    • gwathdring says:

      Mirror’s Edge flopping made me sad. It was such a breath of fresh air, and had so many great bits. It was the first platforming game in a long time that didn’t make me miss Sands of Time. Not because it was anywhere near as well polished and as playable as Sands of Time. But because it had a mechanical and visual deftness that I’ve been missing both before and since.

  11. Bioptic says:

    I’d be really interested in knowing specifically why RPSers didn’t buy the game, just for that delicious statistically-irrelevant anecdotal evidence.

    I didn’t simply because nothing in the marketing or previews of the game interested me – nothing stood out, nothing motivated me to try it. The same thing applied to Painkiller too though – I ended up trying that only when it cost next to nothing and it had been sufficiently raved about in retrospect, and was quite impressed. I suspect that it’ll be a similar case here – the core quality is high, but the uninteresting trappings and misguided marketing have kept people from considering a full-price release. I think it’ll rule the budget roost, but unlike Painkiller has had too much money thrown at it to make this profitable.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Because in these days I have better things to spend 90$ AUD on, I never buy games day one anymore, and rarely for full price, BF3 and skyrim will be exceptions – probably.

    • gwathdring says:

      I didn’t like all the gore. Even when it’s clearly fake, when there’s enough of it … it makes me uncomfortable or uninterested depending on my mood. In games I’m usually tense and alert–I’m in fight or flight mode because my adrenaline is up and I’m being attacked by monsters. So that makes gore in games harder to stomach for me than the same amount of gore in movies. Sometimes. It depends entirely on my mood and whether I’m alone and how seriously I’m taking the game. At the least, I find it a bit gross and not interesting.

      I was intrigued by the environments–it looked gorgeous. And I liked the mechanical idea of the skillshots, if not the inherent sadism. That’s not the way I like to play games. With the exception of TF2, I like shoot-outs to go as smooth and professionally as possible. When things go right, I’m a five quick shots to the head kind of FPS player. Efficiency, and getting out alive are my goals. Things rarely go that right, but I’m never one for the pump-em-full-of-lead and kick the corpse in the crotch method.

      Mostly, over the top violence isn’t my MO.

    • gwathdring says:

      Also what Corrupt Tiki said, only make that $60 US.

    • wengart says:

      I played the demo and really enjoyed it. But for 50$ I just couldn’t justify buying it when it was released, and when I got back from Uni for the summer I couldn’t find anything but odd jobs to do so that was the final nail in the coffin. I mean I’m making 50-100$ a week so I just waited until the Steam Sale and picked up 8 games for less than the price of Bulletstorm.

    • Plivesey says:

      Word-of-mouth is my preferred method of being recommended (and ultimately) purchasing a game. From what I read on forums and from friends who played it, it was mediocre at best.

    • Snidesworth says:

      The price.

      As soon as that dropped, however, I snapped it up.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I played the demo, and found it quite uninteresting. I later borrowed the game* from a friend at his recommendation, and found the opening sections even less interesting. So I played it for a couple of hours, but that’s all.

      I’m not much of a fan of “score attack” gameplay, so that tied to a highly scripted, linear and narrow FPS just doesn’t work for me.

      *I borrowed the 360 version. It’s a crying shame that—barring “piracy”—the game publishers and distributors have robbed us of the ability to share the PC games we love with our friends.

    • Urthman says:

      I was mostly turned off by the frat-boy toilet jokes. Sounds like a fun game, but this kind of “humor” completely turns me off.

      Between this and Duke Nukem Forever I hope the take home message for the suits isn’t “Don’t back new IP” but rather “Fewer gamers than you think love sexism and fart jokes.”

    • Gar says:

      I try my best not to support games with ridiculous DRM (GFWL), so Bulletstorm didn’t have a very good chance with me to begin with. I still tried the out demo, but I thought it was a bore and Ive forgotten about the game since until I came across this article.

    • Sagan says:

      I didn’t buy it because of how it reveled in it’s violence. “Bulletstorm tried far harder than most big-budget games to purely entertain” is what Alec says up there. I say Bulletstorm is the asshole on the school trip who thinks he is funny by hurting people and holding their head under water.

      I’m happy it failed. Had it been a game about trying to purely entertain, I would have bought it. I love stupid silly games. I don’t like sadism.

      (also: the game just looks so generic. Sorry, you don’t launch a new game about space marines when there’s already like twenty out there)

  12. airtekh says:

    This is very surprising news. I thought this would be a surefire hit myself. I’ll still probably take a look at it when it gets a mega discount somewhere.

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    Fuck the boring prudes. The best shooter of the year.

    KG

    • Kirioth says:

      At last someone has said it! I thought Bulletstorm was a bloody riot. It was stupid, immature, and FANTASTIC.

    • alice says:

      All weekend I kept seeing comic con stuff mentioning Karen Gillan and I kept thinking the RPS in-joke had spread to the wider Internet until i realized Karen Gillan is a real other person.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      *Spoiler*

      I actually thought the guilt-trip in the game was quite clever. Also, there were some great sequences such as trying to escape the bomb, going in circles and arriving back at the same point. I actually found stuff like that quite funny. I really don’t get the hate. The world needs both Arnie’s ‘Commando’ and Apocalypse Now. When I have a spare hour at the weekend after a hectic week of work,sometimes I want FUN not more dour frustration!

    • zeroskill says:

      Personally I enjoyed Bulletstorm, even tho the humor wasnt my cup of tea. The guns felt great, visuals where good to look at and the boss fights where entertaining. Where Epic fell short tho, for me, was connecting to the community. Multiplayer features where bland, they still use GFWL, payed downloadable content was embarrasing and no mod tool support. To really get back on the PC they need to produce a game the community rallies around, like once, long ago, Unreal Tournament 2004.

    • Thwap says:

      *waves hands in the air, like he just don’t care*

      Agreed. Not produced from the standard manshoot sausage factory, sense of humour and FUN.

      I think that I picked it up for £15 – definitely worth the cash.

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      Hear, hear. The script in particular was refreshingly decent. Rarely has a game’s dialogue kept such a sustained smile on my face, especially when in concert with those batshit crazy set-pieces. This news is truly depressing.

    • Urthman says:

      Fuck the boring prudes. The best shooter of the year.

      Why so defensive? If I said I didn’t play FFIX because I don’t like anime or that I didn’t play Amnesia because I don’t like horror games would you swear at me and call me names?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Because Bulletstorm’s had to labour under a lot of people being very boring for a long time including a good chunk of this thread being glad it bombed. Fuck ‘em!

      KG

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I liked the demo and would have bought it, but by all accounts it was pretty short lived. If I got it really cheap then I’d get it.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Edit: Meh. Never mind. Let’s just say I’m very disappointed.

    • Olivaw says:

      God damn right, Mr. Gillen.

      The world needs it’s Limbos and it’s Braids and it’s Deus Exs, but it also needs Bulletstorms.

      Fuck all of you who are glad it failed. YA’LL DON’T KNOW SHIT

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      The humor had nothing to do with me not liking the game. It was linear even by modern shooter standards, the controls didn’t “feel” right, and the points system and silly murdering mechanics just couldn’t keep my attention after the first 5 minutes of the demo.

      Granted, the game as a whole might have been a lot better than the demo I played, but what I saw didn’t impress me.

    • Dominic White says:

      This thread has the highest concentration of sad, grumpy old tossers I’ve seen on all of RPS. A cackling peanut gallery cheering for the financial collapse of a great studio because they had the nerve to make a dumb action game that was actually self-aware and genuinely funny.

      Anyone who could play through the whole Mechaton sequence without laughing at least once has no soul.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @Dominic

      Hang on, who said the studio “financially collapsed”, or that they were happy about that? One game didn’t make a profit, but Epic have said they didn’t regret making it, and that they will release more games by People Can Fly.

      Saying people are angry because a studio made a game “genuinly funny” is a bit of a strawman, wouldn’t you say? NO ONE have anything against funny things – we do however find different things funny. And in my case, what I saw from previews didn’t make me smile. Maybe things get more funny than someone saying “Fucking dicktits” later on, but that sort of stuff is what they focused on in the marketing.

      People being self aware and not taking themselves totally serious is generally a plus, yes. But it is not a guarantee of quality. In fact, some of the most wretched things in existence are things were the creators are trying to be “ironic”. It can sometimes be a last ditch effort to save some dignity for people who have realized that the thing they have worked on is crap.

      Then we get to the “dumb” part. Yes, it gave the impression of being dumb. As I said in another post, it can be a bit difficult to separate “smart dumb” from “dumb dumb”. I vaguely remember a long promotional clip featured on RPS, where Cliff Bleszinski played the game, kicked one of the enemies over a ledge and snarled something about “Yeah, take that you FUCKER!”. Stuff like that gave me the impression that this title was solidly into the “dumb dumb” category.

      But that clip brings up my main problem with this title, what Chris D touched on below – that it seemed to glorify killing so much, and violence for the sake of violence. You, Kieron and some others seem to have taken huge offence at the fact that some people say they liked that this title flopped. I do understand you somewhat, there is such an incredibly amount of work and passion that goes into making a game, so when people are cheering if it fails it feels so incredibly disrespectful to the developers (and an attack on your personal taste, to boot…)

      But try to see it from our perspective too – if you heard about, say, a blockbuster film that seemed to have vaguely racist subtexts, and you then heard it flopped, wouldn’t you feel a certain amount of…. schadenfreude? Joy, even? “Hey, maybe there is hope for humanity…”

      And the impression I got from this game was that it glorified brutal killings, and it emphasized “the low” in humanity. Therefore I can’t say I feel very sorry to hear it flopped. Perhaps I’m wrong though. I saw someone mentioning that the “guilt trip was clever”. Anyone care to elaborate on that? It turns out the enemies aren’t the monsters you thought, or?

    • Dominic White says:

      The entire script of the game is far cleverer than most people seem willing to acknowledge. It’s written by some rather good comics bloke that Kieron could probably talk far more at length about. It’s dumb because the characters are meant to be dumb. The villain, who joins in fully quite late in the game, is probably the single most hateful, reprehensible scumbastard in the universe, but he’s also clever and absolutely poisonous in his putdowns of Grey and his crew.

      Later on, he guilt-trips you absolutely fiercely for being this mindless, whooping kill-em-all lunatic when the enemies aren’t quite so cut-and-dry, while taking enormous pleasure in the same acts himself. He’s a really well written villain, because by the time you actually get to put some bullets into him, you WILL hate him beyond words.

      In fact, he’s probably the only videogame antagonist in quite a few years that I’ve genuinely hated and wanted to hurt, and I attribute that mostly to his excellent writing.

  14. Asskicker says:

    I really liked the game, and even pre-ordered it on steam.
    But I’ll have to say that it prob isn’t worth buying at full price, it has a reletively short campaign and on pc it has good to no multiplayer…

  15. Lollerskater says:

    Hey, Epic! You have plenty of other franchises lying around which could do with some loving. The words “Jazz”, “Jill” and “pinball” come to mind.

  16. Anthile says:

    Unreal 2 was a weird game. It was never terrible but so derivative that you felt you had seen all of this before. I don’t know why, but I think there is some law that requires shooters set in space to rip off the Alien series. The characters were bland and the plot not much more than your usual macguffin hunt and then, out of nowhere, that incredibly dark ending that nobody saw coming. Well, at least it looked pretty.
    I wouldn’t mind a remake of the first Unreal, a much better game.

    • Flint says:

      I don’t think Unreal 2 was a bad game either. Mediocre sure, but not as horrible as a lot people paint it as. For me its largest problem is that it didn’t really have any sort of consistency: it looked, and played, like a bunch of early design sketches for several games glued together and covered with a vague excuse plot to, well, excuse the fact that none of its levels had anything to do with eachother. Or with the first Unreal either, which was another big stumbling point – outside a minor inclusion of Skaarj the game had zero relation to the atmosphering wandering of the first Unreal.

  17. Hedgemonster says:

    “This kind of thing just scares the hell out of me.”

    Really? That seems rather overblown. People getting shot at random, being involved in a car accident, discovering you got a serious disease: that sort of stuff “scares the hell out of me”. A triple-A game not selling enough units to cover the monstrous costs of its development plus marketing? Honestly, I couldn’t care less.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Wow, what a reasonable comparison, you know getting a serious disease, being in a car accident, etc doesn’t really scare me though, full blown nuclear war/genocide does though.

      U SRS? fuck.

    • Tei says:

      Getting a serius disease, and maybe dyiing is bad. But you know the world will continue, and people will continue making awesome games, even if you can’t play then, because you are dead.

    • Hedgemonster says:

      Seeing these reactions… wow. Just wow.

      @Corrupt_Tiki: thanks for entirely missing the point. In case it wasn’t clear, I thought the use of “This kind of thing just scares the hell out of me” was ridiculously over the top as this is a single GAME we are talking about. Epic are doing fine, and the fact that Bulletstorm flopped means very little in the grand scheme of things, EVEN if you limit your focus just on games.

      @Tei: “maybe dyiing is bad”? “Dead is not that bad”? I’m guessing you haven’t lost people you love, in which case you’re lucky. And speaking just for myself (obviously), I don’t particularly look forward to being dead, thank you very much. And if I have to chose between the “death” of games and, well, the “death” of ME, I’ll pick games every time. Honestly, if games are no longer being made, that’s not “the dead of hope”. Seriously. If games were to be stopped being produced today, I’m guessing most of us will be just fine. We’ll probably go and read those books that I’ve been hearing so much about, or maybe go outside and talk to other people, or something.

      Bottom line: I think it’s good to get some perspective here, people. Seriously.

      Edit: @Tei, it’s not very nice to edit your message after I’ve responded to it. Fortunately, your comment is still silly.

  18. Khemm says:

    I don’t care about Unreal Tournament anymore after the consolized UT3 – play old UT games and then 3, you’ll notice the controls in older ones and overall pacing were perfect, clearly designed for keyboard and mouse. UT3 felt wrong.
    What I’d love is a sequel to Unreal 1. But then, Epic is really into making linear dudebro single player campaigns these days, I doubt they would bring back the philosophy behind the gameplay of Unreal 1 campaign back. There was barely any story, no handholding, huge maps, the feeling of isolation, admiring the alien world.
    THAT’s what I would love to have back in Unreal 3.

  19. Lambchops says:

    I didn’t get on with UT3, largely because of the rather grey, dull art style of it compared to the far more appealing efforts in UT and UT2004. If it returns to that sort of thing then I’d buy it like a shot, even despite my general tendancy not to play multiplayer shooters UT was one of the few series that enticed my online and even with out it arseing around with the bots was great fun. UT3 was a well enough put together game, but it just seemed to lack a bit of the ludicrous soul of its predecessors and seemed to be trying to take things way to seriously.

    But any series where an announcer joyfully shouts the word “PANCAKE” is one which I want to see more of!

  20. Dawngreeter says:

    BulletStorm was awesome. Pure awesome. I love how much of an idiot the protagonist is. The conversations were awesome. The gameplay was awesome. The upgrade point mechanic was awesome. Everything was awesome. It’s the only FPS title in years that I enjoyed playing.

    Of course, it was FPS. I don’t think I can fully grasp why FPS titles are so huge on the market currently, but I suspect it has a lot to do with multiplayer stats, prestige titles and teen voice chat smacktalk with strong racist overtones. Latent fascist leaning in right wing western politics resulting in military style fetish among the younger people might also have something to do with it. I don’t think publishers are aware that predominantly single player FPS isn’t in the same ballpark, earning-wise.

  21. RLacey says:

    I bought Bulletstorm a few weeks ago (it’s about £15 in GAME atm), and really enjoyed it. Yes, it’s stupid. Yes, it’s crude. But it’s also the most fun shooter I’ve played in yonks. Give me more Bulletstorm over another war-set, cover-based shooter any day of the week.

  22. enobayram says:

    The reign of FPS games is falling. This is just a sign of that. So, sorry for the devs, but I’m happy about the news.

  23. Clockwork Peanut says:

    Argh! why is there so much hate for Bulletstorm?! For starters it was loads of fun, but more importantly it’s one of the few big budget games that actually attempted to do something different, of course not to the same extent as Portal 2, but different nonetheless. People seem to berate Bulletstorm as if it were a Call of Duty.

    I would’ve thought that RPS readers, what with their interest for Indie and PC gaming would at least recognise and respect an AAA game for bringing an ounce of innovation to the genre, even if it wasn’t their cup of tea.

    /rant over

    • gwathdring says:

      I can respect that. Not having played it I don’t know how much if lives up to that idea as far as I’m concerned. But I’ll take the collective word for it and say “Good on Bulletstorm.”

      In any case, I’d rather that innovation and good clean fun philosophy go into something less violent we who are not as fond of killing things in nasty ways could enjoy.

  24. BobsLawnService says:

    A game revolving around the mechanic of the protagonist saying naught words when shooting people in the crotch failed? No. Really?

    A tip for developers : If you are trying to create a politically incorrect shooter go all the way and don’t pussyfoot around. See : GTA, Postal and Duke Nukem.

  25. westyfield says:

    Release Bulletstorm without Games for Windows Live and I’ll buy it.

  26. Thants says:

    Bulletstorm is fantastic. Despite what the people who can’t tell the difference between dumb and smart-dumb would tell you.

    • Tatourmi says:

      I am agreement.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      A lot of things appear dumb, and are in fact dumb. I’ve realized life is too short to comb through dumb stuff to find the smart stuff which is just being dumb “ironically”. These days I prefer to just go straight for the stuff which tries unapologetically to be smart.

      I’m this guy, basically.
      http://www.theonion.com/articles/aging-genxer-doesnt-find-bad-movies-funny-anymore,1451/

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s sort of my stance. I’m sure there’s lots of seemingly dumb satire I’d actually find really engaging. I like biting sarcasm. But at the same time, I also like openly clever or intellectual media. I don’t want to spend all of my free time watching satires of all the crap I dislike. Sometimes I just want to have some plain-old fun just like the people who like unapologetically immature games do. Trouble is, it’s harder to find unapologetically clever games than unapologetically dumb games. What’s so bad about preferring a game that revels in being smart and witty without being pretentious? Space Chem, I think, does well here. It’s not ramming anything down your throat, it’s not caught up tooting it’s own horn. It’s slick, it’s mind bending at times. It’s clever. But it also doesn’t have much writing or many characters or a plot. There aren’t too many games that have those things and do all of them well without feeling the need to hide it in satire so people who don’t want to bother with the cleverness can still have their dumb fun … that’s great for people who don’t mind it. I’m fine with such games existing. Go enjoy them. But I want some games where the immature bits don’t get in my way so I can have MY version of just-plain-fun. My “pure entertainment” isn’t that kind of humor, and I wish more people who couch Bullestrom in the terms of pure, clean fun would realize that just because I’m not as in to violent gunplay doesn’t mean I feel the need to be serious and only play games about dark political intrigue.

      We’re all gamers, surely we know what it’s like to be looked down upon as immature geeks playing with Dungeons and Dragons for way too long. But we know that you can play Warhammer or Dungeons and Dragons and still be athletic or a successful business man or a normal person. And that you can be a gamer without having ever touched Dungeons an Dragons and the classically geeky games. As a group of people already flung to the edge of geekdom maturity in the minds of so many people, do we really have to divide ourselves between the geek equivalent of jocks and nerds? I’m entitled to my relaxing, uncomplicated fun too–but for me a lot of that “dumb” humor takes a bit of effort to get into, a suspension of disbelief if you will. I don’t think I’m a better more intelligent person because of it. I’m not. But it’s just the way I think: I need more upfront wit, or alternatively less violent forms of absurdity in my just-plain-fun games.

  27. Canthros says:

    I have only played with the demo, but I thought it looked like an interesting, creative sort of game that I wasn’t going to get $60 out of and resolved to wait for it to hit the budget bin.

  28. John P says:

    Maybe people didn’t buy it because the way it was marketed made it look like a vapid piece of crap? See, it doesn’t matter if the game was actually clever or self-aware or whatever. It looked dumb as shit, and that’s what matters.

  29. ran93r says:

    Been reading comment threads about this all weekend and there is a metric fuck-ton of support for Bulletstorm, almost as if it were GotY. I can’t even comprehend that.

    I played through the single player twice and played online for a fair bit. It was a mindless diversion but certainly not anything to get all that excited about.

  30. Acorino says:

    Well, I guess most people hate Bulletstorm without having played it. I know I do!
    The aesthetics are similar to Gears of War, very brown and grayish and buff macho men all around. Immaturity oozes from its every pore and, judged from a distance, doesn’t seem to be clever about it. It didn’t help that they released this Call of Duty parody as a marketing gimmick which didn’t even raise a smile, so flat was the delivery, so utterly fail every attempt at crafting a joke.
    And yeah, Bulletstorm might possess innovative mechanics, but somehow, having read the review, I still have the impression that it’s a pretty standard FPS.
    With other words, pure marketing fail. I think Epic wasn’t able to communicate what makes the game special and instead opted to show what made it as generic as the rest.
    Some more distinctive graphics could’ve also been of help.

    • bleeters says:

      I wish more “standard FPS” games involved giant robotic dinosaurs with lasers for eyes.

    • gwathdring says:

      That sounds awesome!

      But be fair, your post is the first place I heard about a giant dinosaur with laser eyes in the game. I read reviews, and they mostly said it was more interesting than the typical FPS without mentioning too many things that were different in ways that excited me. Maybe they just didn’t mention the right things. Maybe it just isn’t my thing. Or maybe it’s not as different as it’s cracked up to be. I won’t know unless I pick up a copy sometime out of curiosity.

      Having a dinosaur with laser eyes doesn’t make the game play better, just makes it more kickass to read and talk about.

    • bleeters says:

      It’s one of the more absurd set pieces, of which there are quite a few. The bits in between can be a little run-and-gun, if you go around running and gunning. I personally pulled people into carnivorous plants and power lines more than shot at them.

    • gwathdring says:

      Pulling people into carnivorous plants? Bloody hell, that’s the first time I’ve heard about that one too. Talk about selling a game short ….

    • Keymonk says:

      Yep. I loved the more exotic stuff. How about booting people over the edge of a (gorgeously made) dam? Kicking an exploding hotdog cart at things? Being chased by a GIANT WHEEL OF DEATH?

    • bleeters says:

      Played like Gears of War, it’s pretty dry. You hide behind an obstacle and shoot at guys with a rifle, and I won’t lie and say it never requires you to do that. There’s a couple of pretty annoying sniper-vs-sniper sections in there. And some quick time events. Good grief do I despise quick time events, even if failing them just denies you some fairly useless points, rather than automatically killing you. The campaign is also linear as a broom handle.

      It’s just, you can grapple hook (or gravity leash, or whatever the heck they call it) people into power lines. Or cactus plants. Or boot them into a river full of carnivorous fish. One time, you’re required to beat back an otherwise indestructible opponent into the spinning blades of a recently crashed helicopter, which is probably the saner of the various ‘boss fight’ style encounters. There’s one set inside a vivarium of sorts which I won’t go into, other than to say it’s completely, utterly bonkers.

      I had a lot of fun with it. But it’s not the kind of thing I can imagine myself having a lot of fun with several times over.

    • gwathdring says:

      See, I’m just as into the weird kills as the scenery, the Dinosaur and the Wheel of Death. And the game is BASED on the weird kills which are just a bit too sadistic for my taste.

    • bleeters says:

      Myeah. The whole ‘point reward’ thing is pretty hit and miss anyway, other than to appeal to folk who enjoy pursuing high scores. If they do, more power to them.

      For the rest of us, it’s just used to purchase more ammunition. Ammunition which you won’t even use all that much if you’re pursuing the high score environmental kills, rendering it somewhat trite.

  31. Atic Atac says:

    I’d love a single player Unreal with the mood of Unreal 1.

    However what we are going to get is some moronic space marine steroid crap…in brown

  32. hellboy says:

    My favorite FPS of the year so far (though I haven’t played Crysis 2 yet). Disappointing this didn’t do better. Not every game needs to be mature, and while this one pushed a few boundaries, I thought it had some genuinely funny moments.

  33. bleeters says:

    Well, bravo, population at large. Here’s to another decade of Modern Warfare, terrorist nuclear plots and World War Two.

    • Plivesey says:

      Ah, yes. The good old “if you don’t buy a particular non-CoD FPS, you must love Modern Warfare” thing. Still as compelling today as it’s always been.

    • bleeters says:

      Ho ho, I see what you did there. You naughty scallywag, you.

      This is true, of course. But I imagine there’s a fair amount of overlap between “people who like and buy shooters, but didn’t buy Bulletstorm” and “people who like and buy shooters and religiously buy Call of Duty-alike games”. Either way, it doesn’t matter so much when this one flunked whilst those fly off the shelves.

    • Plivesey says:

      Haha, sorry, but when I saw your comment I just had to copy it! And copying is the greatest form of flattery :)

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s probably because, statistically speaking, most “people who like and buy shooters” probably either buy Halo or Call of Duty religiously. The PC gamer isn’t a dying breed, but it’s a much more scarce breed than the X-box owner.

    • Erd says:

      I gotta wonder if anyone didn’t buy this because of that demo thing(?) they released that tried to take the piss of Modern Warfare etc.

  34. mickygor says:

    I get a lot of hassle for it, but I’m a prude. Vulgar language, excessive gore and jokes revolving around genitalia 100% turn me off of a game, or a movie, or whatever. I steer clear of games that involve harming children, too, for that matter. I’m glad this IP flopped.

    • V. Profane says:

      Which games involve harming children?

    • Shadowcat says:

      I enjoyed Painkiller and so this game was (briefly) very much on my radar. I don’t consider myself a prude at all, but given that the first (and consequently last) gameplay video I saw of Bulletstorm included a reference to group rape — which is frankly about the last imaginable thing that an entertainment product should ever be alluding to — that radar blip disappeared really fast. And judging by the game dialogue mentioned in this thread, there was plenty more offensiveness where that came from. In all honesty, I think the developers were absolutely delusional if they thought the mass market (which they were apparently depending upon) was going to go for that idiocy.

    • Thants says:

      You shouldn’t get hassled for just not liking something that’s vulgar. You SHOULD get hassled for wanting it to fail just because it’s not your cup of tea. There’s a big difference between “I don’t like it” and “It shouldn’t exist”.

      Shadowcat: The whole “group rape” thing was a single off-colour joke in the name of an achievement. That got blown way out of proportion.

    • mickygor says:

      There’s also a big difference between “it shouldn’t exist” and “I’m glad it flopped.” As much as I don’t like it, I wouldn’t want external forces making it fail.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Blown out of proportion? Are you suggesting that because their group rape allusion was not an especially prominent part of the game, that I shouldn’t be offended by it?

      If the game developers believe that a “joke” about rape is acceptable content, then I simply have no interest in supporting them. Why would I do that, when I could instead buy a game that doesn’t think that rape might be funny?

      Besides, the mere existence of that achievement tells me quite clearly that one or more important people on the development team is an utter imbecile, which wouldn’t exactly boost my faith in the rest of the game, even if I was still interested.

    • Thants says:

      Being glad that the game flopped because of a single off-colour achievement name seems like blowing it out of proportion, yes.

  35. LuNatic says:

    The humour* of Bulletstorm seems to take everything I hated about highschool and roll it into one $90 package. No thanks.

    *And I use the term loosely

  36. Mirqy says:

    Sustainable business models for big devs/publishers releasing new IP:
    A: Don’t give it a triple A budget. give it a medium budget, don’t worry about having record breaking graphics, release it. If it builds a fanbase and reviews well, make a sequel with a bigger budget. That’s when you’ll make your money back.
    B: give up and leave new ideas to the indies, since you can’t get the hang of it. Then steal the ones that work.

  37. vodka and cookies says:

    I enjoyed Bulletstorm it was really good with great combat mechanics and bright visuals.

    I think it part if failed was because of
    A) Over use of profanity, that stereotype continues to be true about Americans who hate curse words. Any game with swear words you’d inevitability find a thread asking to censor that out even games like Mass Effect get this.

    B) No co-op and poor multi-player, it’s very difficult for single only player games to do well even Valve has realized that.

    I’d love to see an actual single player Unreal game but because of the above that’s not gonna happen.

  38. jstar says:

    I really don’t understand most of you. Bulletstorm was utter shite. It was puerile, poorly written, not even slightly funny and juvenile.

    The kill score mechanic was great but it was poorly tied into the way the actual game played. It had some good ideas, and I really liked the art design of the world if not the characters.

    However it failed to deliver on almost every level. It just wasn’t a good game. It didn’t make money because it wasn’t good. Simple as that. Some of you seriously need to check your quality measuring devices. Either that or you are clearly 12.

    The thing I really don’t understand is this claim that ‘it didn’t take itself seriously’. First of all this is annoying because the assertion is that not taking yourself seriously is automatically good. But more than that, Bulletstorm took itself so seriously it’s unbelievable. It shoe horned a hackneyed revenge and friendship story into a ludicrous setting, was filled with melodramatic cut scenes and was desperately trying to make you care about everyone in it.

    The dialogue was also fucking atrocious.

    • bleeters says:

      Ah, yes. The good old “if you don’t agree with me, you must be a child” thing. Still as compelling today as it’s always been.

    • gwathdring says:

      Fighting his cliché with RPS’s favorite Argument Cancelatron 4000 trope isn’t convincing, either. You could try to answer his points. I guess mostly I want someone to counter his points because I’m curious as to what exactly makes Bullestorm so worth defending because what I’ve seen makes me want to agree with him.

      But agenda or no, I stand by my rhetorical critique.

    • jstar says:

      No, I just find it unfathomable that a grown up could find that sort of thing funny.
      If you do find it funny then I think it is a fair accusation to say that you are less sophisticated than an adult. And therefore likely to be a child.
      South Park is funny. It is puerile and juvenile but is also clever, witty and considered.
      Bulletstorm is attempting the exact same kind of humor but fails on every level.
      If you claim otherwise you are just being an idiot.

    • bleeters says:

      If you’re wondering why I’m making no effort to respond to his points – which I should add weren’t even there at the time – this is why.

    • gwathdring says:

      Ok … well, never mind. Calling someone an idiot is even worse. Cliché his ad hominem wielding ass to pieces until he apologizes!

      My bad, Bleeters. I wasn’t expecting that.

    • jstar says:

      Actually it’s because you have nothing to say.

    • gwathdring says:

      That’s possible, true, he might not. But personally attacking people for having different taste than you do is pretty childish for someone in the business of calling people immature and childish.

    • skinlo says:

      Because killing things is fun.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      So…so far, the only counters to jtar’s argument involve someone literally saying “killing things is fun” and some random troll.

      Yeah, looks like his jstar’s point is proven. There’s really nothing worth defending in this game. I love original IP’s as much as the next guy, but come on. Coating a pedestrian FPS with shit writing and boorish toilet humor and pretending it’s “good because it’s a parody” doesn’t really convince anyone that the game is actually good.

    • Mman says:

      “Yeah, looks like his jstar’s point is proven.”

      When you attempt to infantalise anyone who has a different opinion to you about a game, you deserve to have your points ignored until you learn to stop being a hypocrite.

    • Thants says:

      No one answered his points because he doesn’t have any. When you take a funny, well written game with well designed gameplay mechanics and just say it’s bad and that anyone who disagrees is immature, what are we supposed to say?

      Well, nuh-uh. It’s not bad, it’s good. And if he can’t distinguish funny, clever, over-the-top action movie pastiche from just being stupid it’s his own problem.

    • Karol says:

      Understanding people for what they like is something a psychoanalist does, without calling said people idiots. Bulletstorm was not a bad game. I say that purely because of the fact that it was fun to play, which is what a game should be from its inception. That’s not to say it wasn’t slightly puerile. I’m not arguing with that – but that’s the way it was written to be, sort of like many comic books, from which this game seems to be inspired.

      The shooting mechanics in the game work, unlike some other games I’ve played lately (cough Homefront cough), and add an extra layer with interesting mechanics tied into them. Add to that the gravity leash and you have a base for great fun. Not only that, but there are plenty of spots to perform environmental kills, which isn’t something you see in every manshoot.

      The art design of the world was also quite amazing, not only on a graphical level, but in the setpieces themselves, such as the huge wheel following you in the train, or controlling the dinosaur with laser eyes.

      It didn’t have competitive multiplayer. I doubt it was even catered to something like that due to the gravity leash probably not working well there. The co-op was really fun though.

      Many people say it was poorly written. I disagree with that wholeheartedly. Sure the main character spews forth dick jokes and stuff like that, but then again, he’s a space cowboy, what would you expect him to say? His lightheartedness seems designed to counteract Ishi’s rough and serious robotic mind, and he does that well. Ishi is a well made character too, which keeps you guessing as to what he will do to you next time something gets on his nerves.

      Of course you can take that out of context and apply what the media says about it, which is that it doesn’t take itself seriously, but it worked in the setting, and by the end of it, I felt sad about Ishi dying, and I wanted to bust a cap in the villain’s ass so hard it surpassed what happened there.

      Now, I’m not one who would read a book and cast it aside thinking it’s not good simply because it’s not sophisticated enough. I’m 20 and I like pretty much any movie I see on TV. But what I know is that Bulletstorm is not a bad game. It’s a good game, and it’s well made as well.

  39. Tei says:

    I hope is the price. A game like this sould have released at $40. And by now sells for $30, and for $20 in the Summer Sales.

    Why? becasue a game withouth multiplayer component is “less usefull” for today gamers. Because is a niche market title, and few people are interested on this type of game, but a low price may make so people that will not normally buy the game, to try it.

    But I can be completelly wrong here. This is a misterious to me.

    • gwathdring says:

      I think the $60 price point is just a horrible amount for most games. It’s just a bit too much for a lot of gamers, and games aim for it pretty consistently even when they vary enormously in content and production budget.

  40. Staggy says:

    I brought it on release and loved it, it was a welcome dumb (and it knew it) distraction. It was never going to be genre defying or long lasting, but it was silly, immature gaming Marmite.

    Shame they’re killing off the IP, and yet Duke Nukem lives on. Madness.

    • Baines says:

      Sadly, Bulletstorm should have been a Duke Nukem game.

      Bulletstorm’s design and attitude would have given Duke Nukem the game it deserved, while the Duke characters and world would have given Bulletstorm the publicity and built-in fanbase to sell. That, collectively, could have breathed life into FPS design and the idea of what can sell.

      Maybe dial back the time-slow mechanic, as as it was implemented, it was too powerful and too much of a go-to tactic. Plus, it was used as part of the excuse for why there wasn’t competitive multiplayer.

  41. ITSSEXYTIME says:

    So, what you’re saying is that people didn’t want to spend $60 on a 5 hour shooter with no replay value?

    I mean, maybe if it would have gone on sale during the steam summer sale I would have picked it up(even though it’s been discounted since it came out) but honestly it just doesn’t seem worth the investment to me, and I can’t be the only one.

  42. Monchberter says:

    Played the ridiculously short demo. Enjoyed it. But put it on the ‘£6 Steam sale list’ nonetheless.

  43. Chris D says:

    Shooters aren’t my favourite genre so in all honesty this was always going to be a tough sell, but the thing that did it for me wasn’t so much that it was violent but that violence seemed to be the whole point.

    In other games I might set someone on fire if it was tactically advantageous to do so. Bulletstorm seemed to be more about “I will set you on fire just to watch you burn.”

    Granted it’s just drawing a distinction between two different shades of bastardry, but it is still a line, and it’s one I don’t particularly want to cross.

  44. roryok says:

    I hope this means Unreal 3 and not UT4. And I hope they make it as good as Unreal 1

    • skinlo says:

      I don’t. I hope they do another UT2k4.

    • The Sentinel says:

      I’d prefer another Unreal game, rather than UT. I love UT but feel that there are now too many similar ‘arena manshoot’ games on the market (or in development); we don’t really need another one, do we?

      What we are in short supply of is good, single-player, evocative sci-fi experiences. Unreal 1 was fantastic for it’s time. A modern interpretation of what made Uneal 1 great would be very well received in this household. :)

    • Tatourmi says:

      We actually don’t have that many arcady sci-fi fun manshoots. The ones we have are either the indies trying to grab some of the hardcore quake player’s money or the two tough guys, namely quake and ut.

    • Erd says:

      Why can’t you have both? Doesn’t UT’s heritage lie in the multiplayer of Unreal? It’s weird these days that a good single player is at the expense of multiplayer and vice versa.

  45. mollemannen says:

    i think shooting stuff for points are two old of concept to work nowadays. it isn’t enough carrot to drive a first person shooter. nor is story though.

    and no before anyone jumps me and tells me to stick to my call of duty, i don’t play call of duty at all. i enjoyed singularity and metro 2033 though.

  46. kororas says:

    I didnt liek the release price. (it is now more palatable)
    I didnt like the fact it has GFWL.
    I didnt get the best of impressions from pre-release trailers.
    I disliked the fact it was yet another FPS to add to my already large collection.
    I dislike Epic these days and I feel their involvement in the PR of the game turned me off.

    So i didnt buy it (and i didnt pirate it either).

  47. Plivesey says:

    “Increasing mainstream audience unwillingness to try unknown names?”

    I am doubtful that this is the case, to be honest. A lot of new names can still sell and be profitable (look at Terraria!)

    The impression that some RPSers seem to be giving is that it’s a shame that people aren’t more willing to buy into new IPs. However, surely an IP should only be bought into if it’s worth it? Simply being a new IP shouldn’t be reason enough to do well – it has to hold up as a quality title. The forum posts and reviews I read about Bulletstorm made the game sound, at best, mediocre, and therefore I didn’t buy it.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Terraria is around 10-20% of the price of “triple A” titles like Bulletstorm though (depending on your location).

    • Plivesey says:

      Fine, how about Red Dead Redemption then? That sold damned well…

    • skinlo says:

      Rockstar are a level above Epic games though, at least in public consciousness.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Indeed. I find the idea that “YOU MUST BUY INTO THIS IP JUST BECAUSE IT’S NEW” ludicrous. Yes, generic sequels are ass and the bane of a creative industry, but just as sequels to games shouldn’t get a free pass just because they’re sequels to a “good series”, new IPs shouldn’t get a free pass just because they’re new.

      Believe me. I yearn for original IPs like you wouldn’t believe, but I yearn for GOOD original IPs at that.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Also Red Dead Redemption is a continuation of an existing IP (see Red Dead Revolver on PS2) rather than being a completely new IP but I do agree with your point about new IPs.

    • Thants says:

      The forum posts and reviews I read about Bulletstorm made the game sound, at best, mediocre, and therefore I didn’t buy it.

      You mean apart from about half of this thread, including at least two writers for RPS, saying that it’s fantastic?

  48. aircool says:

    It had hardware issues, or should that be issues with hardware? After a patch or two (I can’t remember), I attempted to play it again. It was quite entertaining. In fact, it was very entertaining, but I got bored after a while ‘cos I couldn’t remember the combos.

  49. Teddy Leach says:

    Epic flop. That should be the name of a skillshot. Can I work at PCF now?

  50. EBass says:

    Sad sad sad, Bulletstorm was brilliant

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