Gearbox CEO On Gamer Criticism: "Some People Are Sadists"


Leaf on the wind
Feb 20, 2011
Zhukov said:
Wow, two articles in one day that give me cause to say unflattering things about Randy Pitchford? And, er... fulfill my sadistic appetites in the process, apparently?

Oh Escapist, you shouldn't have!

Things is, he's not entirely wrong. Anything popular or widespread is going to have a large number of detractors proportionate to that popularity. Some of them are going to be needlessly petty and venomous. Gamers certainly aren't any better than anyone else at voicing their grievances in an articulate and respectful manner. And yes, some people just plain enjoy shitting in your cereal.

However, pointing to a pile of shit and saying, "That right there is a pile of shit", is not an act of sadism. Hell, I wish I'd been able to derive some form of sadistic thrill from a Gearbox game. Sure would have been an improvement over wishing the fucking thing could end so I can get onto another, better game, or maybe clean the bathroom.

Also, defending something that made people angry by saying, "Hey, we touched them with our finely crafted emotional experiences," is weak bullshit. It'd be like Warner Bros saying that the PC version of Arkham Knight must be a powerful bit of media to have "touched" audiences the way it did.
It's one of those things where I'd say "You know, he actually has a point" if it was coming from nearly ANYBODY ELSE.

Randy, on the other hand, is just completely untethered from reality by this point. He's like a more sociopathic Peter Molyneux.


Regular Member
Nov 4, 2020
What exactly is he referring to? It all sounds extremely vague. Does he mean people like Jim Sterling or Angry Joe who are harsch but understandably so or does he mean people who send him threaths and the like? There are always people on the internet who take things too far and there is no excuse for that. On the other hand, if he is referring to harsch criticism, that might be unpleasant for him but from what I have seen it was well deserved.

I read it in this way: we moved those people, we touched them - even the person who hates [your game] so much, you've affected them. That's why we fight, we're creating emotion and experience - and some people thrive on that type of feeling, some people are sadists.
Being hit by a car is an emotional experience. It is not however artistic or a good thing. People need to stop pretending that emotions make art. False advertising pisses people off not because of how artistic it is but because it is a dick move. That is why most people were so pissed.


Sane among the insane.
Sep 12, 2010
Well, on the one hand, he may be right. After all, I'm sure there are plenty of people who talk shit about Call of Duty that have never played it[footnote]I don't play CoD. I don't care about CoD. I don't talk shit about CoD. You do you.[/footnote]. However, I don't think that doesn't mean there are legitimate complaints to be had. No art is perfect. I'm sure Da Vinci felt there were minor issues in the Mona Lisa.

However, he's not one to talk. Colonial Marines was God awful. If the only problem was the unfinished AI (literally saw a video of an alien that basically became the players pet as it would stand and follow him, but not attack) the game would have major flaws. But, I don't think I have to tell anyone, that wasn't the only flaw. The game's marketing was a great big lie.

So maybe there is a small issue, but Pitchford is not the person to voice that complaint. This is like Lars Ulrich complaining about being broke.

And you know the best way to prevent this? Make good games. Also, don't mislead your consumer. That might help, too.


New member
Jun 14, 2011
Was it just a casual oversight or intentional misdirection that caused you to gloss over how The Guardian framed that analogy?

During his keynote, Pitchford claimed that criticism is a natural element of mainstream entertainment production. He went on to use an analogy of building sandcastles on a beach. While some people will walk past and either admire or criticise the construction, others will want to attack it ? a veiled reference to vocal critics on games forums.
I.E. criticizing the construction of Colonial Marines (the sandcastle) does not make you "that jerk kid at the beach who kicks over sandcastles". Attacking Gearbox for making it however, does.

BloodRed Pixel

New member
Jul 16, 2009
Wait, wait, wait, did gamers lie to gearbox and fucked up two franchises?

As far as I see, Gearbox told someone to built something on sand and then said that watered sand blotch was a dreamcastle and wanted entrance fees.

making mistakes is not the essential problem, though Mr Bitchfork should have know better, the real problem is not owning up to them.


They will not take our Fluids
Jun 5, 2008
The amount of times I've seen these professionals say extremely stupid shit is amazing. If you think it's just gamers who have problems then you are in Lala Land, riding the ice-cream unicorn through the gum drop forest.

He didn't just say that according to Jim. He's painted himself like a hero standing against the criticism.

Imre Csete

Original Character, Do Not Steal
Jul 8, 2010
That's some quality Artistic Integrity? there my boy. People have the right to point out the turd in your sandcastle, which you claimed were beautiful sticks.

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
This guy's a right proper douche. Just another CEO going around saying "Hey everyone, guess what? MY SHIT DOESN'T STINK!"


Scrolling through forums, instead of playing games
Apr 4, 2020



Sure, people can be very critical of your product, and it must be very hard for the people who made it, because they must've spent months, if not years of their life, creating something for other people, only have have it blow up in their faces. However, the main problem is, and always has been, the fact that games like Aliens: Colonial Marines were sold based on pre-release materials that showed the games to be way, way better than the product that we were sold in the end.

Some people may get off on abusing others, but you seem to get off on lying.


New member
Feb 10, 2008
Snarky and witty responses aside, here's Mr. Pitchfork again completely dodging responsibility. Especially this quote:
"That's why we fight, we're creating emotion and experience-"
Really? I mean, really?

It genuinely makes me wonder why the other boardmembers just let Pitchfork have his way. Clearly most people must realize that he's trying to talk himself out of making some very bad decisions instead of owning up to them. And such talk is really hurting the Gearbox brand, which can't be good for anyone involved.


New member
Jun 28, 2012
What's that Randy? You don't want people who are honest about their opinions buying your games anymore?

Message received loud and clear buddy. Don't buy any Gearbox products in the future. Got it!


PS Thanks
May 29, 2009
He's right to an extent. This is something every developer has to deal with. You have to look the average amount of unwarranted hate that games get, and ignore that same amount of hate yourself, discarding it as "margin of bullshit." The problem that Pitchford doesn't seem to get is that even after that, there's still a TON of legitimately warranted negativity being pointed at Duke Nukem Forever and especially at Aliens: Colonial Marines.

In statistics, you have to ignore everything that falls within the margin of error, and worry about what's left. But that only works if you have a sane idea of what that margin is. If 98% of study participants report your headache medicine reduced or removed their headaches, you can safely say it works. If only 2% report it helped, you cannot, I repeat, CANNOT say it works and then call the 98% it didn't work for outliers.

That is exactly what Pitchford is doing here. He is outright dismissing negative criticism as "sadists" and pretending that the games are good and it's our fault if we're not satisfied. Newsflash: If that were the case, these games would have similar averages on Metacritic to other games. Trolls (and sadists, apparently) tend to spread their venom pretty evenly; if one company's games in particular seem to have worse reputations and worse average reviews than everyone else, that's not random hate. That's bad games.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. I think this quote about sums up what I think of Randy Pitchford:

"There's a lot of online bullies and haters and bloggers. We stand up to them, and I think we're the only ones that ever have as restaurant owners. And they come and they try to attack us and they say horrible things that are not true."
-Amy Bouzaglo, Amy's Baking Company


I hate Dire Wolves...
Dec 4, 2008
Its true that people are crushing the sandcastle, only in this case the 'sand' used to make the castle was wet kitty litter and everyone wanted destroy it to get rid of the smell and ensure no one ever makes a sandcastle out of cat litter ever again.


New member
Feb 28, 2014
Ahahahahahaha, oh, wow. Yeah... fuck you, Randy, fuck you in the eyesocket with a red-hot crowbar. People call you a scamming shit for a reason - because you scam and you are shit. It doesn't make them sadists, it makes them intelligent. But you wouldn't want people to be intelligent, would you, Randy?


New member
Nov 27, 2013
Yes, while that may hold some truth, but when it is Adolf Hitler's sandcastle (universally acknowledged as bad) instead of the Dalia Lama's sandcastle (mostly considered good) then you kick it over.

And then you keep kicking until it is devoid of life and Hitler acknowledges he will never attempt to pass his sandcastle off as the Dalia Lama's ever again.

See that, Mr Pitchford? Others can make your own analogy work to include the horrors you tried to pass off as entertainment.

Neurotic Void Melody

Bound to escape
Apr 3, 2020
I get it Randy; somedays you're the Randy, other days you're the pitchfork. And on occasions such as this, you are the Randy Pitchfork double whammy of douchebaggery (yes, am practicing the use of American slang now).
We all get it Randy, you made something and your mother told you how brilliant it was and that you are the sweetest, most special snowflake in the whole world, but your mother lied, Randy. And judging by your complete lack of self awareness, she lied a lot. You are the Boris Johnson of the gaming world; a useful tool to have around for humour and making everything else appear marginally better (except for your games), but no one will take you seriously or let you supervise their kids. Now get back to your kennel, we can't have you running wild again.


New member
Dec 18, 2003
much like when being held at knife point to take your money I don't think gear box will get too many sympathy cards for what is pretty much universally approved gamer hate towards those titles.

but maybe he hates the comments so much he won't release games like that any more.

It's probably poor Jim sterling kicking over his sand castles though...and thank god for him.


Alleged Feather-Rustler
Jun 5, 2013
Wait, to show us what a nice and honest person he is Randy pulled off a scamming magic trick?
Truly at this point it's like he's laughing at us.


Elite Member
May 5, 2020
While he has a point, it is one he has no business making.


Smug Platypus
Dec 19, 2008
The problem, Randy, is that you didn't build a sandcastle - that would require sand. What you build is a poopcastle, as it's made of poop. And people came to wash it away because the stench is overpowering...