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. Ruffian says:

    Definitely a renter. Personally I thought it was a ton o’ fun, but there wasn’t much to do after completion. needed more replayability to earn my dollar.

  2. Tams80 says:

    Couldn’t they just sue Fox News/News Corporation?… I hear that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.

  3. Mr E Meats says:

    I guess the people who hate it have either forgotten that fun in a doesn’t have to be online multiplayer or a gripping story. I recall many a time playing windows solitaire or tetris and having loads of fun.

    Fact of the matter is, it looked decent, the game play itself was good, and it was entertaining.

    Also, you’re playing a video game, you can’t complain about “maturity”… at all.

  4. wazups2x says:

    The next Unreal game will obviously be on consoles so it will most likely just be Gear of War in first person.

    I really wish we could get a true Unreal game.

  5. silverhammermba says:

    Hated the demo, never gave it a second thought.

    They took a console FPS and (poorly) remapped the controls to mouse and keyboard. That is not a PC FPS. That is a travesty.

  6. thebigJ_A says:

    That’s it, I’m gonna kill all their dicks.

  7. Wraggles says:

    Moronic, No.

    Crude, Yes. But considerably more intelligent than a lot of the crap out there (CoD single player campaigns…..)

    Not to mention tight shooting mechanics. If you’re one of the people who complains about games not having enough game, you should buy it. My bet is the reason it tanked is because the crudeness is how it was marketed. It was marketed like Duke Nukem without the big name and 15 year wait, which frankly, makes it look a lot more moronic than it actually is. If they’d just focused entirely on how well the shooting ties together. I think it would have done considerably better.

  8. Strutter says:

    I thought it was great but the reason it flopped is that not many people will pay full price for a 6 hour singleplayer game, eventho it’s amazing.

  9. _Jackalope_ says:

    Depressed Bulletstorm fan is depressed. Favourite game of this year.

  10. Ovno says:

    I’m not surprised at all, bulletstorm looked about as un-interesting as duke….

    Perhaps it was better than that, but they didn’t do a good job of making me believe it.

  11. Taorgax says:

    Man, this is sad.
    I never played the demo, and from the comments I infer it wasn’t that great… so I guess I didn’t get the chance to be disappointed by it. The game is a ton of fun, and as far as gameplay goes, it’s one of the better FPS I’ve played in a while.

    I see a lot of skeptical people who haven’t even played it though… lots of “it sounded like x, so I didn’t bother”, even some going as far as slamming the game while clearly never having played it. I guess it was just the way they pitched it, plus the admited ridiculous launch price point.

    It’s a shame really. Any FPS fan owes it to themselves to try the game, it’s really fun. But don’t take my word for it.. and don’t take the haters’ word for it either. Do yourself a favor, and try things yourself before forming an opinion ;)

  12. RegisteredUser says:

    That’s because they betrayed their fans and origins.

    Painkiller was far less sophisticated, yet gave you unlimited guns, was aimed at the only true platform, the PC, and did not force you to stop-and-go like in a traffic jam for your ammunition due to intentionally cripplingly low limits so they could force the whip-interfaced ammo-drones on you and the totally pointless “upgrade” / “reward” system (I didn’t mind creative killing ways; I did mind having to constantly stop and click around in menues in a frickin’ ACTION GAME).

    So. Yea. I would hope this spells: “Betray the PC, lose customers”, but sadly I am sure they will just use a completely wrong interpretation that just ends up hurting us even more..

  13. Noblaum says:

    Pointing out that TF2 is one of the most immature games out there. Do people play it? On Steam, they don’t have a reason not to (especially now that it’s free). Is it fun? 99% of the community seems to think so. Immaturity can be a nice break sometimes. All those other “serious” games can get to be a bit much.

  14. virtualmatrix258 says:

    I loved the game, then again, I’m not a stuck up asshole and I’m not afraid to laugh at a good game and have fun with it. You all can take playing video games seriously, I’m going to have fun.

  15. Crabbyoldman says:

    Biggest Turn-Off About Bulletstorm: Much too short for the retail pricepoint it released at.

    Biggest Turn-On About Bulletstorm: Quite well written, with characters whose personalities somewhat exaggeratedly leap out of the clever dialogue and wittily humorous banter.

    In expansion, most of Bulletstorm seemed like a really good game to me, on all the points by which I determine such. The story is hammed up Rambo-drama in Space, but…I -liked- Rambo. THe action is quite a lot of fun and where virtually all the replayability is couched whether for re-runs of the SP campaign or in multiplayer upon it, though it’s a good enough couch for that.

    As someone that normally doesn’t care to try too hard to collect all the badges, do all te things for all the merits, find all the sekrits for the achievement and so on, I actually had a lot of fun with seeing how many of the skillshots I could pull off. Purely anecdotal, but it stood out to me that where I find most such systems irrelevant or outright tedious, I had fun with this execution of such systems.

    Moreover, I sat with my wife and first she watched me play it though (wherein with we both laughed hysterically at quite a lot) and then I watched her play it through, wherein which we did more hysterical laughing for noticing things we’d each missed prior.

    I still go back and blast through a few chapters here and there when I’ve got that annoying amount of time on my hands wherein which sitting and doing nothing would be really awful, yet getting into anything terribly involved isn’t a good idea either. I skip over a lot of other games to do it too, because no matter what anyone says, Bulletstorm is just plain fun to play too.

    If you’re looking for the next hardmode version of Splinter Cell meets SryusFaceGame is Sryus, this is not the title you are looking for. On that same note, however, the cheesy story is well told, the exaggerated characters are well portrayed -and- work well in the setting presented, and more than just shooting anuses, you also get to drive a mecha-dinosaur while cackling maniacally, amongst quite a few other rather neat and cinematic things that some, for whatever reason, cry about.

    Moral of the story: If you play Bulletstorm with the intent of having fun with an over-the-top game that’s only terrible flaw is that there isn’t more of it, you’ll probably have fun, even if you suck at normal FPS games. If you’re looking for the next thing to ramp your E-Peen score by and are prone to net-raging when a game is built for fun and not to be a surrogate for a sense of relevance, meaning and achievement in your hollow little life…you’ll be disappointed.