Brian Burke, Nvidia's rockstar PR manager who once held the same position at 3dfx (moment of silence...) and is not to be confused with the Toronto Maple Leafs' GM, is calling attention to someone
who he believes is an under-appreciated gaming great who deserves to be mentioned in same breath as John Carmack (co-founder of id Software), Tim Sweeney (founder of Epic Games), Cliff Bleszinski (Unreal franchise), Gabe Newell (co-founder of Valve), Will Wright (Sims - 'nuff said), Shigeru Miyamoto (of Nintendo fame), Cevat Yerli (founder, CEO, and President of Crytek), and yes, even John Romero (renowned programmer and another co-founder of id Software). Who is Mr. Burke talking about?
Randy Pitchford, one of five founders of Gearbox Software and currently the CEO and President of the company responsible for resurrecting Duke Nukem from the outer reaches of vaporware, a place hyped up products and games often go but rarely ever return from.
"One guy that never gets mentioned in this crowd is a developer I first met at a wrap-up dinner for one of our Editor's Days many years ago," Burke explains. "I spotted a nerdy-looking guy quietly holding court in the corner, deck of cards in hand. I made my way over and discovered a likeable guy with a great sense of humor and a very approachable demeanor. He engaged everybody that came by: our CEO, his competition, the waiter, and even me, the PR guy. Regardless of stature or status, everybody got to pick a card or have a coin pulled from their ear."
In addition to once working as a professional magician in Hollywood (where else?), Burke brings to light Pitchford's extensive resume of creating or porting several triple-A titles, including Half-Life, Borderlands, and Halo: Combat Evolved, among others.
"So, as we approach the 13-year anticipated release of Duke Nuke Forever, I say put Randy Pitchford on your list," Burke says. "I'm betting that Duke Nukem Forever kicks ass and chews bubble bugm... and Randy Pitchford is all out of gum."
We'd offer the guy a stick, but he could probably make one appear out of thin air.