Interviews// Gears of War's Cliff Bleszinski

Posted 29 Sep 2008 18:15 by
You talked a little bit about how the co-op campaign in Gears of War 2 only allows two players. I think a lot of gamers were hoping for the opportunity to have a four-player online co-op – was this something you tried out, or did you always have the two-player-only concept in your heads to start with?

Cliff Bleszinski: We knew from the get-go that we’d go with two players. It was never something that was in a state of flux, it was always going to be two players because being narrative and story-based it would have diluted the game if we added any more. It’s not a clone of Marcus Fenix there, it’s Dom, and that’s always Player 2. Once you start getting to three or four players, the game is no longer about the narrative; it’s about shooting shit. With that in mind, we said “Let’s do that with the Horde mode instead”.

I just find it awkward when you have something going on in your game and there’s these other guys just hanging around, and all these story bits are coming out and nobody’s addressing them (in relation to the additional players). We’re just committed to making Marcus and Dom’s experience strong in the campaign and making sure that Horde is where the larger scale arcade action happens.

Could you run us by some of the new weapons we’ll be able to see in the game?

Cliff Bleszinski: We had a good, solid stable of weapons in the first game, and we knew we wanted to add new ones for the sequel. My personal favourite is one called the Mulcher, which is a heavy gatling gun that’s part of a new class of heavyweight weapons. So, you carry this gun around like it’s a big suitcase or something and you can take cover but you can also mount it on cover. You can cool it off using the Right Bumper and… basically if you get someone caught in that thing’s fire they get turned into mulch.

There’s a great flamethrower that’s in the game now called the Scorcher – you have Locust that have these little backpacks on and if you shoot it they run around screaming before they pop. I have a tactic of taking out multiple guys using the enemy with the Scorcher and backpack as a bomb, it’s quite fun.

Other new weapons include a burst pistol, called the Gorgon, and the Ink Grenade, which you can tag on the wall to explode when someone walks past. They’ll start coughing and they’ll take a lot of damage from it as well.

As the games market expands into new audiences, censorship’s become more of a big issue. Games like Manhunt are getting banned over here and Fallout 3 was recently censored. What’s your opinion on the issue?

Cliff Bleszinski: Well, there’s multiple topics on this which I think I can touch on briefly, with the whole issue of Gears' violence. We have a very stylised, over-the-top, Evil Dead slapstick kind of violence in Gears, along with very stylised characters packing huge armour cutting up… things that look like lizardmen. Fancy chainsaw guns and stuff like that. It’s not like a guy with an Adidas hat taking a pipe wrench to some dude in khaki’s, right? It’s not that kind of game.

On top of it all, violence in a video game I believe is a very cathartic thing for a person playing. It’s kind of a release at the end of a stressful day. I believe crazy people have been around for years and that people have been killing and hurting each other long before video games came about.

As a creator, I believe yes, certain countries have to do their own thing in regards to what they think is right for their culture and society, while at the same time… we put a lot of work and effort into the products we create and we want every gamer out there to be able to enjoy it without any sort of constraints.
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