'GUN' Project Lead Willing To Work On A Sequel One Day
Ask most people to write down a list of games they feel are criminally underrated, and the odds are that 2005's Neversoft-developed GUN will appear more than a few times.
Released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PC and Xbox 360 (as a launch title) GUN was an open world Western with more than a few smart ideas under its belt, an interesting story, and plenty of bloody, violent action. A classic Western in video game form.
"Holy moly - that game was a labour of love," GUN Project Lead Chad Findley told me over email when I broached the subject of his digital Western. "It was a super difficult transition to making something that was open world (kinda), had a walking/shooting engine, had horse riding/horse AI, had AI combat, and was in a genre that was considered non-mainstream."
While the game managed to net mostly positive reviews, and decent sales, the ambition and scope of the game meant that it was an expensive project - one that didn't sell enough to turn enough of a profit to get publisher Activision too excited about a sequel. It also probably didn't help that GUN released just months after Rockstar launched its own Western adventure in the form of Red Dead Revolver.
These days, GUN is probably remembered by most as a poor-man's Red Dead Redemption, which is both unfair and unfortunate. While Neversoft was working on a sequel for at least a few months, Activision eventually took the project out back and killed it.
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According to Findley, there were a few reasons that GUN II never saw the light of day, including the aforementioned sales and Activision's lack of belief in the Western genre.
"I do know we were going through another
console transition which takes a lot of person-power," he explained. "I also know that GUN barely made a profit. As well, there were not a lot of people at Activision who really believed in the western theme from the get-go."
You have to wonder how Activsion feels about its alleged lack of faith in the western genre now, given how Rockstar would go on to perfect the formula it started with Red Dead Revolver in Red Dead Redemption, ultimately going on to release Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018 to huge critical and commercial success.
Could GUN have been the start of Activision's own successful Western franchise, or was there only ever room for one? It's impossible to say, really. Findley told me he couldn't remember whether or not Neversoft were aware Rockstar was working on Revolver around the time they were working on GUN, but he said he was "very glad to see more western themed games being made."
Presumably the developer figured a rising tide would raise all ships, which sadly ended up to not be the case.
With the success of Red Dead Redemption 2 and the fact that there are still those who fondly remember the underappreciated Neversoft Western, I asked Findley if he might ever be tempted to finish work on the sequel that was started so long ago.
"I would only do it if there was a great
team really stoked to jump on-board," he told me. "I love westerns but there is a lot of second guessing that happens with big-budget projects these days and keeping a game pure to the core is really hard when it isn't following the standard formula."
His hesitance is understandable. After all, I get the feeling he - along with his team - poured their hearts and souls into GUN only to see it fade further into obscurity every day. Perhaps that's all the more reason Activision should give the cult favourite a new lease on life with a sequel or remaster, then.
Featured Image Credit: Neversoft