People Can Fly Has Decided Bulletstorm’s Profanity Was A Little Much

True story: I slipped a stupid hidden joke into the quotes under my senior year high school yearbook photo. At the time I snickered about how clever I was and how square small town Oklahoma can be, but now realize that I have a stupid joke in my yearbook for the rest of time. Alas, there’s nothing I can do about it. It isn’t like I’ll be doing another tour in High School. On the other hand, game developers often get the chance to make a sequel, and that gives them a chance to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and possibly change things up. The only thing you want to watch out for is fixing things that aren’t broken in the first place. Like, for instance, all the swearing in Bulletstorm.

It’s no secret among those of you following the doings of GameFront that I think Bulletstorm was just the best thing evarz. A big part of what I loved about it was the pitch black sense of humor, advanced in no small part by the game’s absolutely prodigious swearing. Not only are the characters extremely profane, but they’re creatively crude, most notably in the new and unusual ways they found for the word “dick”. Unfortunately, it seems developers People Can Fly have been looking over their masterpiece the way I look at that yearbook photo and in an interview with Game Developer Magazine, they admitted they think they went a little overboard:

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises for the Polish team at People Can Fly was the strong audience reaction to the game’s ridiculous, foul-mouthed dialogue:

“Do you know any swear word in a foreign language? German, French, Polish? When you say it out loud, no biggie, right? Not a problem to use it during a family dinner, I assume?

“That is how all the f-bombs sounded to us. Being Polish, all the strong language in Bulletstorm was just exotic and fun to us. We did not feel its power. In other words, Epic thought this is what we wanted and respected our creative vision, while we had no idea this vision was a bit more than we really wanted.

“It was only at the end of the development, when I read the Polish translation of the game, that I realized how dirty we were. I swear a lot. A LOT. And yet still I …kind of blushed.”

NO NO NO NO and NO! I assume they think that maybe all the swearing affected their bottom line, but I can assure you that is not the case. And you know how I know? Because Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas sold a staggering 20 million copies, making it the 3rd best selling game of all time. I don’t pretend to know why, precisely, Bulletstorm didn’t perform as hoped, but I’m guessing bad marketing of new IP and a crummy demo, plus a February release did more to damage it than anything else. One thing is certain: A game-buying public who bought 20 million copies of a game with literally dozens of instances of the n-word didn’t wilt because of a few ‘dicks’.

Please, People can Fly: Don’t water down a bulletstorm sequel. My ears, and the damage to the good citizens pearl clutching society of prudes’ sensibilities will thank you!

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5 Comments on People Can Fly Has Decided Bulletstorm’s Profanity Was A Little Much


On October 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

So Shakespeare it up!

“I shall kill thine s!”

“What say ye, fair maiden? M’Lady doth desire to slay the mighty o’ Grayson?”

They should totally do a prequel, and call it Bullet-tempest.


On October 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm

“I assume they think that maybe all the swearing affected their bottom line, but I can assure you that is not the case.”

Um, actually, my brother and I both passed on this game because of the excessive content. I’m not opposed to games with profane content, but the amount of excessive profanity, among other, less important factors, did have an impact, and in all likelihood we are not entirely alone. I know that content doesn’t always stop a game from getting sales, but the way it was presented in Bulletstorm was simply crudeness for crudeness sake, and it’s just getting old.


On October 10, 2011 at 2:55 am

i am going to be so sad if they take out all the swearing. i wore my headset so my family had no idea. bulletstorm is the best game ever, even better than gears, and that’s saying more than a ton.

dude above me, you missed out bad.

Ross Lincoln

On October 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

Squire, while I certainly do not mean to impune your opinion about profanity in games, I defer to my point about San Andreas. It sold a jillion copies and it’s far swearier than Bulletstorm.

However, I think your point kind of dovetails with my own, which is that Bulletstorm was terribly marketed.


On October 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

The game ran great, it was incredibly immersive and it was just plain fun. The language just made me laugh like a loon. I think it was a solid effort but then all I paid was $15 and at that price it’s a gem. Hope they do make a sequel.