Gears of War, the first one at least, is one of my favourite games. I understand that it’s not for everybody, and many couldn’t (or wouldn’t!) see the nuance beyond it being about a group of rubber sacks filled with walnuts, shooting at underground lizard people. It didn’t feature the most cohesive writing (that got worse as the series went on, in my opinion), it was grim-dark and had what seemed like a two-colour, grey and brown palette. But damn, was it fun to play – both as a co-operative cover shooter, and as one of the best multiplayer games to grace any platform, ever.
It’s out today on Xbox One, in a newly remastered package, which includes new stuff, and buttery smooth 60fps multiplayer. I will be playing this a lot.
I, along with a many local Gears players, spent untold hours chain-sawing others players, and wailing in agony as a well-placed gnasher shot reduced me to bibs or a wayward Boltok shot removed my head. Gears of War still has one of the most satisfying headshots in all of videogames. You may or may not know that. Here’s a great big list of other Gears of War facts you may or may not know, courtesy of Gears of War mastermind Clifford Bleszinski reminiscing on the eve of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition’s release.
- Marcus had bright blue eyes because my father did, so I pushed for that
- I never asked for buff characters. Kevin Lanning just made it that way with the AD Jerry.
- Anya originally had huge boobs but I pushed back on Pete to make her less cartoony. Ironic, considering the guys.
- I wanted a chainsaw gun in a game I pitched in 97, called “OverFiend.”
- We had a laser gun planned but we decided for Vietnam like tech so it was cut you can see it in an early image of Marcus.
- Rod snuck in the SP fatigue meter when I was on a biz trip to fix streaming issues. I was furious.
- Rod was assigned to us at MS at E3 years ago and wore the Marcus dorag and at that point I could tell he adored the franchise.
- The style of Gears’ architecture came from my exhaustion of concrete bunkers and Jerry’s hatred of hazard striping.
- A lot of Gears 1’s inspiration game out of my sadness from the failure of my first marriage and a visit to London.
- The idea to do cover came from @MrLeePerry showing me Killswitch one day I was like WANT.
- In hindsight, the Berserker being female and being chained down for breeding is really fucked up. I was in a dark place.
- No writer has ever written two Gears games…yet. The RodMower nearly kills em all with his persistence. 😉
- Before I pitched it to Microsoft I did a bunch of pushups in the hotel and listened to Eminem’s Lose Yourself because dudebro.
- Pitching Gears 1 was hard. New IP, new camera, new campaign, new MP, new console, etc…On paper it was set to fail.
- Maria was my personal statement on Terri Schaivo and my belief in right to death…through a dudebro shooter with lizard men.
- Maria was voiced by Courtney Ford who was a dear friend in high school who later married Brandon Routh and we’re still pals.
- We cast Carlos Ferro as Dom because I was tired of hearing Speedy Gonzales voices in Splinter Cell games, no offense, Ubi.
- Tanya (jessen) Watson wrote the note on the back of the photo of Maria and Dom that shipped with Gears 2.
- Picture of Dom and Maria from the SE of Gears 2 was drawn based on my ex girlfriend and I at the time.
- Dave, our lead LD at the time, wanted Tai to just jump off a cliff or something, but I pushed for the shotgun suicide.
- The torture the Locust did in Gears was my thinly veiled statement about Gitmo…through a dudebro shooter with lizardmen.
- Marcus was named Fenix because I lost everything from the failed marriage and was rising from my own ashes.
- Dom’s original last name was “Glynn” until Rod saw a box of cigars on my desk that said “Santiago” and suggested that.
- Post Epic, Gears 1’s art director Jerry was slated to direct the reboot of Thundercats until the CG TMNT failed.
- Mad World was my anthem when I was going through the failure of my first marriage. Somehow marketing felt this and suggested it.
- The other song was “My Immortal” by Evanescence but that’s way less cool.
- Baird was named after a childhood friend who was a bit of a dick, Mark Baird. #GearsFacts Baird just sounds like a dick.
- We cast Lester as Cole because of his charisma in the Terry Tate ads. We were like “I’d go to war with that guy.”
- Before the game came out, Randy Pitchford came to town to play it and saw how tough the Locust were and said “it’s a grinder.”
- Years later I’d go to Dallas to test Borderlands early and then meet and fall for my wife. We met in a W hotel designed in UE.
- In SP the last bullet in each magazine is 25% stronger so the chances of “oh shit” fighting a bad guy are high in the game.
- Boomers were named after the robots from Bubblegum Crisis, which was inspired by Blade Runner.
- I said to the art department on Gears (post quake era) NO FUCKING SKULLS IN THIS WORLD. that clearly worked lol
- I wanted players to not drop weapons upon death unless you execute them as incentive. Ray Davis shot it down. 😉
- I always wanted a “long range revive pistol” in Gears but Rod always thought it was a dumb idea. 😉
- To this day, Epic, Rod, Microsoft and I always kept a good relationship. Biz is biz but friends are forever. I’m signing off.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is available on Xbox One right now, for $40 – and gives you backwards compatible, Xbox 360 versions of the rest of the games.
Last Updated: August 25, 2015