Once again, it's bad news for the PC gaming crowd. Let's put it this way: now would not be a good time to be filtering through Epic Games' fan mail. While PC users had previously been told by Epic that they would not be receiving a demo of Bulletstorm, it turns out that Epic is actually working to provide them with one - that won't be launching before the game itself on February 22.
The announcement came via Twitter, as Vice President of Epic Games informed the public that the "Bulletstorm PC demo is in the works! Won't make it in time for ship date but should be available shortly after." This revelation comes a month after Cliff Bleszinski poked fun at PC gamers in regards to the playable demo for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
It seems more and more common for major releases to give fans a taste of what's to come before the actual street date, but it isn't too common for a game to receive this much hype and yet still not cater to a large section of the gaming community. The situation could be taken at face value, since the console-exclusive Gears of War franchise has been more than kind to Epic and Bleszinski.
And the kindness is going to keep on coming, with a purchase of Bulletstorm's Epic Edition granting fans access to the beta for Gears of War 3.
With the game coming to PC as well as consoles on the same day - in some cases with bonus content - the lack of a PC demo is a good sign that the project wasn't a major priority for the company, which could be taken a number of different ways.
It wouldn't be too hard to make the argument that Epic is expressing its somewhat biased stance on consoles, and dragging developer People Can Fly along with them. If that is the case, then the gaming community at large could be in for some entertainment. After all, Epic has never been the kind to back down from a fight, and one need look no further than Bleszinski's initial announcement of a console demo for proof:
"BULLETSTORM DEMO COMING TO 360/PS3 JANUARY 25th. In other news, PC gamers are grumpy about this.”
There's no need to explain the stand-off between console and PC gaming, or the fierce words that get thrown in either direction. PC developer Crytek starts things off by saying Epic's engine couldn't handle their game, and Epic fires back by implying that PC gamers are a little excitable and easy to anger.
The truth is, there probably couldn't be more of a poster child for the cockiness and unabashed confidence of the modern console market than Epic Games and Cliff Bleszinski. The attitude of the team is palpable in every game they make, and their nothing-is-sacred approach is a trademark of an industry that moves as quickly as console gaming.
We're not trying to manufacture a rivalry between industry figures, but it would be undeniably fantastic to see a figure as bold as Cliffy B from the PC community step up and start throwing a little high-profile mockery. Because the bottom line is that gamers are who they are because they want to have fun, and no amount of verbal attacks or name-calling is going to make a fan second-guess their loyalties.
Hopefully, Epic telling PC owners that they'll have to wait if they want to try out Bulletstorm before purchasing the game is just the beginning of the showdown. Not to give the studio's marketing departments any ideas, but a pay-per-view event putting Gabe Newell and Cliff Bleszinski in a flat-out verbal showdown would probably make millions.
Maybe that's what we need to put the bickering behind us, because nobody is going to win. Entering comment threads proclaiming that "console gaming is dead LOL," or that "PC games are for nerds" isn't entertaining anybody but the flame warriors. PC gamers could accuse consoles of keeping graphics from advancing, and of living in the gaming stone age, but console owners could just as easily snap back by breaking it to PC owners that the most successful games are designed for the console market, and PC gamers just pirate games anyway.
Neither is right, and neither is wrong. After all, two of the best selling titles of the last year, StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm were developed by and for the PC market. The're just different, but it's not coincidence that we're all playing the same games. Hopefully Bleszinski was just playing around with his previous jabs, and the delay of a PC demo has more to do with Epic finally realizing that PC owners should get one, no matter what the launch date.
After all, the developers themselves have promised that the game will impress PC players more than anyone. If that's not the case, then for everybody's sake, let's hope that Cliff and Gabe can clear their schedules.
Do you PC gamers take this announcement personally? Or do you think the audience for a game like Bulletstorm has already made up their minds? Please let us know your own take on the issue in the comments.
Bulletstorm will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and yes, the PC on February 22.