Epic is considering longer game development times

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September isn’t just the start of awesome weather and Rugby tournaments, it’s also, more importantly, the month in which Gears of War 3 launches. If you were a diehard supporter of the franchise, you were no doubt saddened a while back when the schedule for GOW3 was pushed back by several months. Fortunately, developer Epic Games decided to use that time to further refine and polish the game, releasing a brilliant multiplayer beta that helped to further improve any gameplay issues that were found.

In fact Epic found the approach intriguing, in a way that they may spend more time on development for any future titles that they create.

Speaking to CVG, Epic president Mike Capps described Gears of War 3 as the “best game we’ve ever made”. When asked further on the subject of development time, Capps explained how the previous games had differing development periods as well.

“Every one of these Gears took a different amount of time so it’s hard to draw a conclusion.Gears 2 took two years, but it was bigger than the first one which took a lot more than two years because of all the pre-production work”.

“I guess the real question coming down to it is going to be, do the fans appreciate that we spent that much more time on the product? If this game is really successful, if the multiplayer is really successful in a way that Gears of War 2 was, then that will really tell us if we did the right thing by putting all that extra time in. So I’d like to say yes but I’m going to wait and see if everybody likes it on September 20”.

While we all wish that we could have been blasting Locust hordes back in April already, there’s no doubt that the extra five months added to the release of GOW3 has been worthwhile, as the game looks stunning, using every ounce of power that it can from the Xbox 360, while the multiplayer section has no doubt become even more fluid and exciting.

"This game was done quite a while ago in terms of we did what we were meant to do. We just kept adding and polishing”, Capps explained. "The beta was a big example of that. We never planned to do a beta but when we got some more time we said, ‘let’s do it’ and it was huge for us”.

“We learnt so much from how people were using different weapons, how certain maps worked, how combat would and wouldn’t work, how levelling was working, and all of that fed into making the game better. Also, all of those systems for tracking the beta are now in-game so when we ship on day one if nobody’s using the shotgun we can fix it without anyone knowing”.

Longer development times may be a pain for gamers, but if the end product can merit the extended hours, then I’m all for it. It worked brilliantly for games such as Batman Arkham Asylum, Alan Wake and Red Dead Redemption and at the end of the day, it’s us gamers who benefit.

Source: CVG

Last Updated: September 2, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

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