Epic Fail: Bulletstorm Flops (But Unreal Lives)

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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