Exclusive interview with Gears of War’s Cliff Bleszinski

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Later this month, the most anticipated game of the year will be going in to public beta. It’s the first time a Gears of War game is getting such treatment, expected to help Epic Games polish up the multiplayer aspect of the popular third person squad shooter.We caught up with the game’s outspoken design director, Clifford Bleszinski who was kind enough to speak about the game’s development and its impending beta.

Gears of War emerged in 2006, becoming immeasurably popular, and the reason to own an Xbox 360.

1. The original Gears was a huge success and helped the Xbox 360 gain a significant foothold in the international gaming market. Did you expect this success in the beginning or did it come as a surprise?
We were always cautiously optimistic and pleasantly surprised when the franchise took off.

2. There was a huge amount of expectation for Gears 2 and now obviously Gears 3, is it easier to create new IP’s without this expectation or is it easier knowing the title will sell really well thanks to the existing fanbase?

I don’t like resting on one’s laurels and we’re not doing that with the third game in the series. Our customers expect more and more out of AAA titles and we’re hoping to deliver a very robust package in Gears 3. From the super thick campaign to the gritty online versus all the way through to Beast and, of course, Horde, it’s a heck of a lot of game.

3. One of the biggest complaints we always hear about Gears of War 2 was the departure from the original Lobby system, what was the thinking behind that and can we expect a return to the original lobby system in Gears 3?

When it comes to online games in the wild it would appear as if we’re in a matchmaking world these days. The problem was that our matchmaking in Gears 2 was very flawed at launch, which is a problem we’re looking to avoid with the third title via better code and a solid beta.

4. People in general seem to abhor change while slamming you for not bringing something unique to the table in a sequel, how are you planning on balancing that need for change while staying the same in Gears 3?

The catch-22 of a sequel is that the die-hard fans of the franchise often feel that they want the same game with just a better skin, whereas the naysayers say that that’s “version 0.5” – darned if you do, darned if you don’t. Best thing you can do is make the kind of game you want to play for the market that currently exists while trusting your gut and keeping your finger on the pulse of your most die-hard fans.

5. Gears of War is the perfect squad based shooter title for competitive gaming, do you have any  plans on accommodating eSports in Gears 3 with leagues or clan tables?

We’ve engaged MLG as well as some key pro players from the community for feedback and the response has been great. We can’t promise everything in this area, but from chatting with the eSports crowd it seems like there are a few easy wins that we can accommodate to help facilitate Gears being played professionally again.

Last Updated: April 4, 2011

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Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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