Epic's Capps sounds off on Gears beta, movie

Studio founder and president discusses just-announced test of Gears of War 3, Bulletstorm pack-in, and the status of the big-screen version of the franchise.

This morning, Epic Games announced a way to promote two of its games: a pack-in for early buyers of the Xbox 360 edition of Bulletstorm. The Epic Edition of the game--available in limited quantities at no extra cost--will come with access to the public beta of Gears of War 3. The deal between Bulletstorm publisher Electronic Arts and Gears publisher Microsoft represents a first-ever agreement between one major game maker to have its game's beta promoted via another's title.

Epic president Mike Capps.

To help explain the unique deal, GameSpot caught up with Epic Games president and cofounder Mike Capps this morning. The executive also discussed the timing of the beta, why other Gears games never had betas, and the small matter of the long-in-development Gears of War film.

GameSpot: Now this is something that has never been done before--a beta between publishers. I mean there was the Halo 3 beta in Crackdown and the Halo: Reach beta with Halo: ODST, but those were all released by Microsoft Game Studios. How did this come about?

Mike Capps: Well that was part of the genesis of the idea. Crackdown worked really well to expose Halo folks to a new IP that was a lot of fun. We don't ship two games like this very often, and they're so close to each other it was kind of an obvious opportunity to do something cool for Epic fans. We started talking with EA and Microsoft, and obviously those guys have been working together forever doing lots of great game promotions. So it was kind of cool how everyone put aside the "my game, your game" stuff and let us get Epic fans excited about both titles.

Lots of brainstorming later, we were in a good spot. We're gonna test that the game works internationally, with dedicated servers all over the world. A game launch is a really good way to do that, since Bulletstorm will be selling everywhere, so the timing's perfect.

GS: Have you set a start date for the beta yet?

MC: We've been saying spring. My guess is it will be sometime around April or so. It's going to be early enough so it really impacts Gears [of War 3's] development, but we want to make sure everyone has the chance to play Bulletstorm before they jump right into the beta.

Gears of War 3's multiplayer will be tested by the public at length.

GS: You mentioned April--that was the original launch window for Gears of War 3 itself. Why did it get pushed back so far?

MC: Well the thing I liked about April is that's when Gears fans expected to play Gears 3. This way, they can still do that. Microsoft approached us about moving the game back to September. Now normally you hear stories about evil publishers trying to convince the developer to ship it early. Whenever we'd have date conversations, we'd say, "Oh the game has got to be good; it's got to be done when we ship it!" That part of the industry, for us, is now completely gone. Now we say, "If we can do this in September, October, November, we can do something amazing like Halo: Reach." That had huge promotion that got a lot of people behind it and got huge attention at retail. So a couple extra months was fine by us--it'll just make the game better. They thought it would be better for them, so we played along.

GS: This is the first public beta for a Gears of War game. What prompted it?

MC: We've kind of actually always done betas. Unreal Tournament had betas to test it out before the main launch, and we actually did one for Unreal Championship 2 for the Xbox. But it's actually a lot of work to do a beta on consoles, because you still have to go through all of the certification process, so it adds a lot of time to the schedule. To take what you have, chop off a bunch of it, and cert it--it adds a month or more to your schedule. Generally, we've not seen that as a good trade-off. But at this point, with those extra couple months it gave us the ability to do it.

Also, I think everybody knows we had some multiplayer stability issues with Gears 2 multiplayer out of the box. While we fixed those later, the opportunity to be really, really sure that our new dedicated server infrastructure is going to be operational on day one with Gears 3 was totally worth the time to make the beta.

GS: Now the Epic Edition of Bulletstorm is limited to the Xbox 360 edition of the game. Are you planning extra bonuses or special editions for the PlayStation 3 and PC versions of the game?

MC: We'll be announcing something early next year.

GS: How limited will the Epic edition be, quantity-wise?

MC: This really is a limited edition. Like Gears of War 2's limited edition, it will be gone in the first week or so. The surest way to get time in the beta is to preorder it. We won't have pallets of these sitting around months later. We want it to be limited as a sort of present to our hardcore fans.

GS: If you preordered the game, do you automatically get the Epic Edition?

MC: Since it's the same price, it's our intention to fulfill all preorders which have already gone in with Epic Editions. We should double-check and make sure. We just put this plan together a week ago, so we have to check with the retail guys and make sure.

Existing Bulletstorm preorders should default to the Epic Edition.

GS: Getting a little off topic--what's the status of the Gears of War movie right now?

MC: (Pauses) Oh, golly. It's been Hollywood-ed, fully. It comes and it goes. We think we've got a really good plan, and then we change personnel, and then we go again. I wish I had more to talk about because I think it would make a really good movie, but we don't have much to say right now.

GS: Is [Live Free or Die Hard director] Len Wiseman still attached to direct?

MC: I don't believe he is currently attached to the project, no. It's too bad, because he was a great guy and it would have been a lot of fun. But he had another project he had to move to.

GS: So is it safe to say the Gears film is in development limbo?

MC: Um, no, because we've actually had some progress. But anything other than "It's in full production" to me at this point means "It's in development limbo" in Hollywood. (Laughs)

GS: How about this? It's in permanent preproduction.

MC: (Laughs) There you go!

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Discussion

102 comments
hello8964
hello8964

looks like a little girls game

stEElyDaN909
stEElyDaN909

If Michael Bay directed this, the Locust would bleed hot women and EXPLOSIONS!

senorbusyman
senorbusyman

bulletstorm seems promising, but my guess its going to be like Halo:ODST. ODST was a good game, but after the REACH beta ended i sold my odst game back to gamestop for store credit. so i might do the same with this game. unless my wife doesnt get mad cuz she's a huge EPIC Games fan

kwanzudood
kwanzudood

If they're packing the GoW3 beta in with Bulletstorm, it could only mean that they don't have confidence in the quality or sales of Bulletstorm. That's what always seems to happen with these pack-ins.

rpgnutt
rpgnutt

i was gettin BS anyway but the beta made it sweeter im not a big GOW fan but to be part of any beta is a great deal to a real gamer im pre-ordering thurs.

steelmouth
steelmouth

it would have been awesome to have the beta on all disks/consoles yes ps3 included not that i want you to have gears mass effect was one too many

Freethinker101
Freethinker101

I think the Movie of the game should be an animated CGI version. My main problem is that there are few people who actually look like the main characters in GOW, and usually those guys can't act, or run or jump or roll. For examples of this see Arnie running in Commando, and before any of you say 300, those guys are about a tenth of the size of the chaps in GOW. Although I just found out that the Tron director did the original ad's for GOW and GOW2 so maybe they should get him to try his magic.

DIGN
DIGN

@penpusher Bulletstorm looks pretty awesome, I don't see the problem here, It's like killing 2 awesome birds with 1 ballistic knife.

karloss01
karloss01

@ bahamut_au most likely pre-owned copies, at least where i live.

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

I still see Limited Ed versions of GeoW 2 everywhere. Capps is talking out his...nose with that one.

penpusher
penpusher

ok,,,so they're choosing a game that frankly isnt really that high up the radar to promote their biggest games? ... .. .. no thanks dont really want bullet storm and this wont encourage me to buy it...

Enisi_
Enisi_

Gears of War: A Film by Uwe Boll...

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

I simply can't imagine this working as a movie. The GoW story is already laughable at best, and even if the story were gold, they'd find a way to mess it up. Such is videogame/movie adaptations.

keg2kay
keg2kay

batista needs to play as fenix and the big black dude from Armageddon needs to play cole

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Gears of War is a great series so far, so I have no doubt this one will also be awesome

Mysterieux936
Mysterieux936

Hey everyone, let's take the worst game ever, with the worst story ever, and make the worst movie ever!!!

GreySeven
GreySeven

@Hunterjuggz No, I get it, it's a double meaning, and I still hold to my question.

ARRunner
ARRunner

I loved Gears 1 and 2. I found the Multiplayer soo addictive in the 2nd, i often ended up playing with bots. It was such a shame that the matchmaking was broken to the point where it was unplayable. But Anyway, is there any chance that the Epic edition of Bulletstorm will reach Australia?

Barighm
Barighm

Why not? You get some beta goodies and you're exposed to a new game property. If it's good, it sells more and we get a good new franchise that would normally be crushed by games like Halo. As for the movie...pretty sure they had a good director with a nice budget, then some Hollywood executive decided to swing the "Hammer of Video Game Movie Suckify" and cut the budget to the usual $40mil budget most of these movies seem to get and reduce the movie to something more along the lines of a cheesy 80's action movie. I think the director bailed out after that because he didn't want to do a bad movie. Reported at this website I believe.

CO0Ki3M0NST3R
CO0Ki3M0NST3R

I'd like to see that Gears movie. Is there any other war game-turned-to-movie out there?

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

Thats nice, its like when a Halo 3 beta was included in Crackdown except people WANT to play Bulletstorm, I cant wait for that game, and GOW3 beta :D

LOXO7
LOXO7

There we go!

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

What also would be cool, is Gears of War 2 for the PC. Still, can't wait to see how Bulletstorm turns out.

cboyuno
cboyuno

Gears of War: The chess of shooters.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

I'll probably get it for GoW3 beta, and the fact that it doesn't play like CoD nor Halo, is very refreshing.

Hunterjuggz
Hunterjuggz

@Greyseven - I think you missed the point dude. Its "Epic" for other reasons than actually being epic. Re-read the story.

go-divis99
go-divis99

im Glade they are testing out the MP finally cuz Gears2 was Crap. probably the Worest online from a AAA game. Ya even worse then Mw2. Happy to See they are Learning from their Mistakes.

kingsi7e
kingsi7e

Cool, hope GoW3 stands up to GoW1 and 2.

jinilthedon
jinilthedon

Well i was talking of GOW 3 of course and toysoldier also was talking about it,for some reason,i cant even see his comment now!

GreySeven
GreySeven

A game that labels it's special pre-order "Epic" is a bit pretentious, don't you think? Would you like some cake with that hype? Also, how do you build a movie plot on a storyline that feels like a crumbling muffin?

Destrin
Destrin

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Evilnator
Evilnator

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Ghoroo
Ghoroo

@jinilthedon I wasn't talking about Gears of war being on PC, I was talking about Bulletstorm being on the PC, just like what Toysoldier was talking about. Now it makes more sense as to what you were arguing about before, it's that you just miss understood Toysoldier. So yeah I will get Bulletstorm for PC and Gears 3 for my 360, I don't really care that much about being in the beta.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

@jinilthedon It does seem like a lot of PC gamers feel like they have to talk down, or degrade the quality of the console titles. Their PC is so superior and is the god machine of gaming, so developers should concentrate all their resources on that platform. I know not all are that way, talking of gamers who play on PCs, but it seems like a lot of them up here seem to be totally against console gaming. Heck, if I had a great gaming PC I would probably game on it, and wouldn't waste my breath sounding off on how technologically lacking those consoles are! So yes, jinilthedon is right, they should put it on what gives them the best return financially, which is the mighty installed base of the 360.

jinilthedon
jinilthedon

@Ghoroo "it doesn't change the fact that it's coming to PC also and as long as they don't mess up the porting of the game to PC, it will have better Graphics, better controls and Mods" LOL,Another fanboy!really havent u seen or heard what cliffy bleszinski told about very Poor sales of Gears of war pc version?he told that there would never gonna be a Gears of war for the pc version again!NEVER!u can only just dream or doing inception on his mind,maybe u'll win :P

AshTray1986
AshTray1986

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

AshTray1986
AshTray1986

Gears of War Movie is feeling very Duke Nukem Foreverish dont you think? However that seems like its going to be released now...ten years on. Hopefully we dont wait that long for a Gears movie, good new about the beta though!

halojp23
halojp23

hey so if we for sure pre order this game we get the gears 3 beta

drokmore
drokmore

Well its sounds like GOW3 will actually have dedicated servers thank god finally a more fair battle. But ug bumped to fall..

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Gears is such a great franchise! I actually liked Gears 1 better than the second one though, and I still can remember watching that sick commercial with Marcus Fenix running through the street with that eerie song playing. I hope this one is just as epic, no pun intended.

Trogeton
Trogeton

wait we have to get bulletstorm in order to play it?

advanracer
advanracer

Toysoldier34 :: hopefully they come up with a PC version of Gears 3 just like Gears 1 ;) . For sure the Custom Gaming rig will eat Gears 3 like a snack Graphically. But that's okay if they don't. Just buy a 360 and have the best of both worlds. It's nice to have all the goods =] Crysis is around the corner so hope your rigs ready to go.

advanracer
advanracer

Can't wait for those oh so wonderful T.otally U.seless "Downgrades" from yours truely Epic Games. I hope every beta tester comments "NO MORE Title Updates". for Gears 3.

Zathic
Zathic

I think that could make a pretty sweet movie

Destrin
Destrin

Is Gears even very popular anymore? I hear more about the new ghost recon than gears3.

Ghoroo
Ghoroo

@jinilthedon Lol I'm not really sure where you are going with that argument there. Why are you talking about if a developer should develop for the PC or not? It doesn't change the fact that it's coming to PC also and as long as they don't mess up the porting of the game to PC, it will have better Graphics, better controls and Mods.

xGlenn11x
xGlenn11x

Bulletstorm is going to be a fantastic game. I am a hardcore Gears fan, so I will definitely be getting the Epic Edition. Unfortunately, no pre-orders yet though. I keep asking around when they will be up, since it really sounds like this will be in limited quantities compared to other games.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I will buy bulletstorm just to get the Gears of War 3 Beta. The old buy a game to get into a beta route. Otherwise I might not try Bulletstorm.