Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Interview — Gearbox Publishing on Bringing Back a Cult Classic
Gearbox Publishing's Meredith Hershey and Vincent Slaven offers their insights on bringing back Bulletstorm for a new audience in the current generation.
Released back in 2011 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, developer People Can Fly’s Bulletstorm was the type of game that exuded big, dumb shooter fun (at least based on its box art). While it looked like Gears of War on an acid trip, in reality the game came to be known for its subversive and humorous take on first-person shooter gameplay that emphasized experimentation on the player’s part thanks to its combo system, while adding plenty of “creative” swearing and action to the mix as well.
In just a few days, players will get to experience the cult classic shooter for the first time again (or revisit it again for veterans) with the release of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, which brings the title back with fully remastered visuals, newly-added components, and even the reappearance of the King himself, Duke Nukem, in a new take on the campaign with the “Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour” mode in the game.
During PAX East 2017, DualShockers had the opportunity to speak with Gearbox Publishing’s Meredith Hershey and Vincent Slaven for more insights on what players will find familiar and brand new with the upcoming Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition later this month.
DualShockers: First off — thank you both for speaking with us and getting to learn more about the new Bulletstorm release. To start off, how much of the original team from the game’s first release are involved with the production of Full Clip Edition?
Meredith Hershey (Production Assistant, Gearbox Publishing): I don’t know the specific number, but I do know that it’s basically the core team from the original game. So yeah, we worked really closely with People Can Fly, so a lot of the kind of decisions on what goes into the game has been in collaboration between them and us.
DS: What led you and the team to decide to bring back the original game for a new release on the current generation hardware?
MH: So, People Can Fly really wanted to do a remaster because they had a couple of things they weren’t able to do back in 2011 because of the technology available, and they wanted to do like a really, really nice upgraded next-gen remaster.
And so, they came to us and our kind of newly-started publishing department, so we jumped at the chance because Bulletstorm is an awesome game, and I think a lot of people on the team really thought that it didn’t get its fair due back when it first came out. So we wanted to work with them to kind of give it new life and a kind of “second wind,” and see if maybe this time it could really make that impact on the community.
DS: Yeah definitely — I feel that when it first come out in 2011, it seemed more like a “sleeper hit” type of thing where a small group of people really loved Bulletstorm but it didn’t really reach a wider audience.
How do you hope players will receive the game this time around with Full Clip Edition versus when it first came out?
MH: Well, I think back in 2011 there was kind of a lot of first-person shooters that were coming out and [Bulletstorm] might have gotten a little lost in the fray. I think its “uniqueness” is maybe more on display this time because there’s not as much kind of “clouding” in the industry right now.
And then also, one of the things that we’re kind of focused is the game’s streaming potential. So like, the “Skill Shot” system, which is the main combat of the game, is just highly watchable. There’s so many different ways you can perform these elaborate kills, and it’s really personal from person-to-person.
So, I think we’re kind of hoping to see people respond to it in that way in that they want to show what they can do to the gaming community and to see some Twitch streams and stuff like that.
DS: Can you talk a little more specifically about what we’ll see in Full Clip Edition that players didn’t see the first time around in Bulletstorm?
MH: Absolutely — so the original game was just the campaign and the “Echoes” and then “Anarchy” mode, which is multiplayer. So what we are collecting in Full Clip Edition is all of that, DLC — all the DLC. We have six new Echoes maps, we’ve got a new Echoes kind of “addition” called “Ultimate Echoes,” and it’s the same maps but instead of just running through them trying to get a high score, you have specific challenges on each map. It’s super fun and super challenging.
We’ve got “Overkill” mode, which is the campaign with all weapons unlocked and the potential to gain unlimited ammo for each weapon. And then finally the “Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour,” which is a pre-order bonus, and that’s gonna be a full campaign run with Duke Nukem as the protagonist instead of Grayson. Duke Nukem has fully rewritten dialogue with lots of it specific to his character, and it’s all been recorded by Jon St. John, the original voice of Duke. So that’s what you’ll get in the Full Clip Edition.
Vincent Slaven (Public Relations Manager, Gearbox Publishing): It also runs at 60 frames per second on all platforms, and it’s 4K for PS4 Pro and PC.
MH: Right — so it’s got updated graphics, improved audio capabilities, and the team has worked really hard in making it a really appealing game for the next-generation.
DS: As far as Duke Nukem goes, what led to him coming back and being added to the game? I think when I played Bulletstorm back when it first released, a lot of people said it felt in a lot of ways kind of like a Duke Nukem game.
MH: And that’s exactly what we thought. So, originally because we’ve got Duke — as we own the rights to Duke, and we love Duke — that’s exactly what we thought. We were like, “There’s gotta be some way… some Easter eggs we can put in.” Or like, maybe we could do for a pre-order bonus we could do a multiplayer skin… and then we were like, “You know… that’s kind of lame. Like: let’s do something a little more involved.”
And that’s what led to the Duke Nukem campaign mode… and we love it, we’re really proud of it. We just felt like it was a natural fit, that Duke and Bulletstorm kind of have a similar sense of over-the-top adventure and the same type of humor and stuff. So we just wanted to kind of blend those together — it’s kind of like representative of our relationship with People Can Fly.
DS: Is that also kind of a way that Duke could also come back in a new game of his? Is this a way for you guys to gauge interest in bringing him back for a new Duke Nukem game?
VS: Not so much. It’s pretty much like Meredith said that we were trying to think of things we could add to give more value to the customer: Duke Nukem came about [in Bulletstorm] because they were so similar.
But, kind of in relation to your question, this Full Clip Edition is more or less a way to do that — because People Can Fly own the rights to the franchise fully — and they want to do more with it. And so they are kind of like — because game development is so expensive — they want to put this out to see like “Do people still want Bulletstorm?” Is there like a different climate now that would be more receptive? And if it is, there is definitely, probably gonna be an option for a Bulletstorm 2 following this.
So it’s kind of not related but — Duke Nukem 2… no, but Bulletstorm 2, I think: maybe.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on April 7th, 2017 – for a closer look inside the upcoming remastered edition of the game, you can take a look at our hands-on preview by clicking here.