Interviews// Cliffy B Interview: Gears Of War PC

Posted 16 Nov 2007 16:56 by
Games: Gears of War
The mighty Epic recently released the PC version of Gears of War, one of our favourite Xbox 360 games of last year. I collared the game’s much-celebrated designer, Epic’s Cliffy B, for twenty minutes recently in central London in one of the hottest rooms we’ve ever been forced to sit in (was this some Microsoft trick to keep the interview to a minimum, I idly wondered) and quizzed him all about the recently-released PC version.

Hell, let's be straight here: Gears is one of the best games of all time, if we’re being honest. So, what’s new in the PC version? Is it a straight port or are there some new, exciting bits of content and a few more massive, gruesome alien creatures for us to viciously slay with big ol’ filthy and futuristic guns? I certainly hope so – let’s find out.

I also tried to trick Cliffy into spilling some magic beans of info on Gears Of War 2. Did he? You’ll have to read on to find out what Mr. B had to tell us.

SPOnG: Christ it’s hot in here.

Cliffy B: Or is it just us!? [PR people mess around in the background with a huge heater trying to return the temperature to less than that of a hot greenhouse]…

SPOnG: Shall we open a window? You must be bored about talking about Gears all day. So, tell us about your dog then?

Cliffy B: Yeah, he’s at doggy Daycare.

SPOnG: How long are you in Europe for?

Cliffy B: Four cities in four days – London, Paris, Milan, Madrid… It’s pretty cool, while everyone else is at home putting the finishing touches to UT3 and Gears PC, I get to cruise around Europe!

SPOnG: Let’s cover off all that stuff you can’t talk about first to get all that out of the way.

Cliffy B: (Laughs) Sure, I’ll tell you anything man!

SPOnG: Gears 2, are you gonna call it Gears Of War 2 or what?

Cliffy B: I cannot confirm or deny those rumours! I do not know what you are talking about… (Laughs) Seriously though, I cannot understand why people even think we could even consider making a sequel to a game that’s sold over four million copies. That would be ludicrous. We would never do such a thing…

SPOnG: Yeah, I would start from scratch on something totally different.

Cliffy B: Heh, somewhere down the line I would love to do that, man. What gets me out of bed in the morning is creating a new universe. That and coffee… and Red Bull.

SPOnG: So Gears has sold over four million to date? Woww! Why did you not consider implementing cross platform PC-360 play in the game?

Cliffy B: Simply because we wanted the game to be out this holiday. And if we were going to do it we would want to do it right. And to be honest we felt like it was one of those features that was really cool, but really only in terms of being a nice ‘bullet point’… We felt that, at this point, it’s just not worth the effort… maybe at some point down the line.

The amount of tuning that has to go in to make sure that an analogue stick player can hold his own against a keyboard and a mouse – there’s a lot of work that goes in there. I was talking to the Shadowrun guys about it (at former Microsoft studio, Fasa) and they wrote a load of white papers on it; they did their homework. We just didn’t want there to be such a delay between Gears on 360 and Gears on PC, we figured about a year would be about perfect.

SPOnG: So, on PC, the old problem of analogue stick controller versus PC/mouse control must still come up.

Cliffy B: Yeah, sure, it’s still an issue with the PC version. We do a lot of behind-the-scenes tweaking to make sure that if you are using the keyboard and the mouse that you don’t have too much of an advantage. There’s a lot you can do with accuracy, there’s a lot you can do with weapon-kick and things like that… And, of course, we KNOW what set-up you’re playing on, behind the scenes, whether or not you are playing with the 360 controller or with the keyboard and mouse, and we can adjust accordingly; and we do, we make sure there is a good balance.

SPOnG: Is cross-platform play something that might or could be added at a later date?

Cliffy B: Anything is possible, but the likelihood of doing it is pretty low right now. We’re moving on to other projects. We are pretty happy with how Gears on PC has turned out and we would like for the Gears community on PC to exist on its own apart from the 360 community.
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Games: Gears of War

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Comments 17 Nov 2007 02:20
"Cliffy B: There’s a kind of true skill-ranking system that essentially sees how long players have been playing the game, assesses their skill level and things like that."

If they can get a reliable system going this will beat the hell out of Halo 2's level-up by winning system (a little deeper than that regarding exact stats, but basically...), but at the same time, before they get the bugs out I can see some lopsided early matches...
hollywooda 20 Nov 2007 10:42
feel a little pissed that 360 owners wont see the extra content?, the campaign was short & this would really help fill out the massive holes in the story. I love Gears & would love to see the FULL game?, i think Epic owe it to the 360 community, we made this franchise a hit.
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