Interviews// Gears of War's Cliff Bleszinski

Posted 29 Sep 2008 18:15 by
You’ve mentioned a few times about the desire to attract more of the casual market with Gears of War 2. What do you think will be the selling point for this game that would appeal to those who haven’t played the original?

Cliff Bleszinski: In terms of the marketing of the game and the actual product on the shelf, we’ve put a lot of effort into the artwork on the box (Cliff shows us an image of Marcus Fenix looking to the left against a destroyed landscape, holding COG Tags – we’re told this is a secondary promo and the box will feature Marcus looking towards the camera with clasped hands).

We’re hoping people will look at this and see the armour and the cool war elements, as well as the leaves falling down with the changing seasons… and also the secondary themes of loss, Marcus reflecting for a moment with the COG Tags of the fallen soldiers. With this it’ll show that the game’s not just like a guy running into the camera with hardcore rock music going “FUCK YOU!” – there’s a little bit of that heart that’s in the game on that box. When you start adding things like our Collector’s Edition bonuses like Dom’s photograph with Maria, I’m hoping it will fire up some interest in those who would normally never play the game who’re just looking for a good story.

Deep down I’m hoping it’ll be a situation where a guy will buy Gears of War 2 on day one, gets the Collector’s Edition and is like, “What’s this photograph? Well, whatever”; he throws it down, starts playing and his girlfriend comes home and is going “Ugh, you’re playing another one of those shooters again… huh, what’s this photograph?” The guy says, “Oh, it’s just some guy’s wife, she’s gone missing or whatever” and the girl goes “Awww, well what happened to her? Is he gonna find her?”; and in that way hopefully the photo might help just a little bit.

I don’t think it’s the cure or anything; it’s not like I’m sitting here going, “Yeah, this [photo] is IT!” (laughs), I’m saying that sometimes it’s little stuff like that which can kinda help. I believe in my heart of hearts that Gears of War actually has a pretty good female following compared to most shooters. I don’t know if it’s because the guys in it are ruggedly handsome or that their universe is sad yet beautiful, but there’s a fair amount of girls that play Gears for some reason. We’re hoping that maybe we’ll see a few more join in too.

In playing the game we’ve noticed that the game-play is much tighter and there are a lot more interesting gimmicks: like shooting a mortar through the roof of an abandoned house in a town when your squad is split up so one half can proceed; and the cave worm. Will we see more indigenous creatures in the game? Will they have a tactical use as well as providing effective cover?

Cliff Bleszinski: There’s other things in the game that haven’t been revealed yet which I’m not really going to be talking about today, but I can tell you that you only saw a snippet of that whole ‘worm’ sequence, it goes on for a little while. There’s parts where you guys split up and your buddies are literally pinned down by multiple Troikas and Locust, and you can’t advance until one guy goes and shoots some fruit down from the ceiling. When that happens you attract the worm and you can use that to progress while the worm is moving along across the area. There’s parts where you’re trying to advance whilst pinned down, and you’re trying to find the right angle to get an advantage and you notice that little hidden fruit in the corner up there – you can also shoot their tails to make them go faster as well. If you get in the way though, they’ll ‘Hungry Hungry Hippo’ you.

You’ll have other things as well, I mean if you’ve seen our E3 demo of the Sinkhole there’s that big crane where – we actually cut this bit out of the E3 demo to make it snappier – Dom gets in and moves the crane about, carrying Marcus across this chasm. There’s a part in the game where the two have to carry a crate across and it’s like, if one guy goes left and the other goes right the crane goes nowhere, so both players will have to co-operate and steer the thing together. There’s just little things like that to help the teamwork going because personally I think the whole, “Can I give you a leg up?” is the laziest co-op thing to have ever been conceived! I just think it’s cheesy.
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