First-person-shooter Homefront failed because it attempted to woo Call of Duty’s audience while not sufficiently differentiating itself, reckons Gearbox president Randy Pitchford.
Others would never beat Call of Duty at their own game unless they had massive backing and a superior or easily distinguished product, said Pitchford.
"You really have to go for it. You really have to spend a lot. You have to not only out brute-force the market leader, but out-clever them. The game has to be better, the marketing and production better have to be... Everything has to be bigger and better."
Taking the FPS giant on at its own game was a recipe for disaster, he said.
"Right off the bat, I'm suspicious of that approach, right out of the gate. That might not be the best strategy."
Homefront was released last year to mainly positive reviews but underperformed sales-wise, spelling doom for developer Kaos Studio.
"The [game's] what-if scenario is kind of interesting," said Pitchford.
However "it doesn't take a lot of risks from a gameplay point of view".
Pitchford was intrigued that despite the game’s failure, THQ had tapped Crytek to develop a sequel.
"Is the problem with the developer? Is the problem with the IP? Is the problem with the market? Is the problem with the promise that they were making?" asked Pitchford.
"I wouldn't have put them on that."
Gearbox is currently finishing up Borderlands 2, which is due to release on September 18.