Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford reckons those who hated Aliens: Colonial Marines and lashed out at Gearbox as a result might be sadists, or at least a bit dim.

As reported by The Guardian, Pitchford used part of his keynote speech at the Develop conference to talk about the criticism his company has received, referencing the much-maligned 2013 FPS.

“If you’re making entertainment on a grand scale, if you’re reaching millions, there will be tens of thousands of people who absolutely hate us, and some percentage of those will take it upon themselves to let us known how they feel,” said Pitchford.

“I read it in this way: we moved those people, we touched them – even the person who hates [your game] so much, you’ve affected them. That’s why we fight, we’re creating emotion and experience - and some people thrive on that type of feeling, some people are sadists.

“There is always the person who’s got to stand on the sandcastle, they must crush it,” he added.

“That’s their way of relating to that. It’s typically a less sophisticated mind. There’s a dark part of us all that likes the idea of crushing a sandcastle, but most of us will respect it and let it be. That’s why we like playing video games where we can blow stuff up and no one gets hurt.”

The timing of Pitchford’s speech is unfortunate: yesterday, game journalist Jim Sterling posted a scathing video about Gearbox and Colonial Marines (one of several he has made), and an #AskRandy hashtag on Twitter a predictably disastrous.

Aliens: Colonial Marines was at the centre of a huge controversy in 2013 when the released game fell well short of impressive demos that had been shown to the public pre-release.

Here's a short timeline of its troubles:

July 2012
A petition demands that female space marines be included in the game (and they are)

Oct 2012
Gearbox suggests the game is the true sequel to the film Aliens

Feb 2013, following the game’s launch
A former Gearbox employee claims that the majority of Colonial Marines was developed by Section 8 studio TimeGate
Rumours circulate that Colonial Marines was shipped under threat of legal action

Mar 2013
Layoffs hit Colonial Marines “co-developer” Timegate

Apr 2013
Sega cancels Colonial Marines Wii U, which Pitchford had called the "best-looking version" of the game

Apr 2013
Sega admits Colonial Marines trailers were misleading

May 2013
Sega and Gearbox are hit with a class-action lawsuit that accuses each of knowingly misleading the public by claiming that trade show demos were actual gameplay.
Sega and Gearbox say the lawsuit is "without merit"
Colonial Marines “co-developer” TimeGate files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Jul 2013
Colonial Marines actor Michael Biehn (who played Hicks) describes the mood during development of the game as “passionless”

Aug 2013
Documents filed by Gearbox in its defence against the class-action lawsuit reveal that it publisher lost millions developing the game
Sega then blames Gearbox for misleading Colonial Marines marketing, and Sega’s Matt Eyre shows his exasperation with Gearbox, saying that “it's Randy doing whatever the fuck he likes”

Aug 2014
Sega and the plaintiffs reach a tentative agreement for US$1.25 million, much of which is paid out to people who had pre-ordered the game

May 2015
The plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit against Gearbox Software and Sega agree to drop Gearbox from the suit