The president of Epic Games revealed to Kotaku that the tongue in cheek, playground of messy death, Call Of Duty hating, first person shooter Bulletstorm, didn’t make the publishers very much money at all. This news is both surprising and sad firstly because of the huge critical success it had earlier this year and secondly because Bulletstorm genuinely deserved to do well.
The over the top FPS was developed by People Can Fly and managed to break away from the currently popular military grunge, and reinvent a videogame space that was being largely neglected by AAA studios. Bulletstorm was for many, a rebellious release in the name of old fashioned fun and creativity. Critics raved about it, the media ranted about it (for good, bad, and mostly ignorant reasons), and yet consumers didn’t reach out for it.
This may be a worry for Codemasters seeing as game director Andy Wilson admitted at the beginning of the month that they were treating rival shooter Bulletstorm as an “acid test” for their upcoming title Bodycount. Wilson explained how “[the success of Bulletstorm] shows that there’s a market outside of Call of Duty” and crucially saying “it’s nice to see that you can still have multi-million-selling FPS games that are not that”.
It seems that they spoke too soon. Whether or not Codemasters will be concerned is anybody’s guess, but it illustrates how much ground the more colourful and original shooters out there have to cover before they can expect a genre revolution. Epic Games have stated that they are not fazed by the sales figures for Bulletstorm, and that they will stick to their philosophy, push boundaries and experiment for the evolution of gaming.
Let’s just hope other publishers will remain as steadfast.