As the generation has burned on and on, it does seem that fewer developers are thriving at the triple-A game. Gearbox, however, seems to have sorted things out for itself nicely. Borderlands 2 appears to be a significant upgrade from the original; if it's a hit, it'll cement the studio's creation of a lucrative new IP. Aliens: Colonial Marines, meanwhile, seems likely to be a major success unless developer or publisher fumble majorly.
How does someone make these bets? How do you stand out from the crowd and blend RPG mechanics with a shooter and comic book flair and surprise the industry and gamers? Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software, says that it's essential, in fact, to try and surprise players -- the real risk is in not chasing something different.