GDC 07: Cliffy B disassembles Gears, mentions sequel

[UPDATE] Lead designer chronicles a game's evolution from the first-person shooter "Unreal Warfare" to the best-selling third-person Gears of War; Microsoft insists sequel "still not official."

SAN FRANCISCO--It was a big week for Cliff "Cliffy B" Bleszinski. The Epic Games designer took the stage several times on Wednesday night at the Game Developers Choice Awards, where his game Gears of War won four trophies, including Game of the Year. Given his reputation for letting les bon temps roulez, many wondered if Bleszinski's postceremony celebrations might put a damper on his 9 a.m. presentation the following morning.

But when the hour was nigh, Bleszinski looked surprisingly chipper as the jumped behind the podium. "I know a lot of you were at the bar last night, so I'll do my best to keep you awake," he joked. He then whipped up some excitement by confirming that Epic Games does "intend to do a sequel" to Gears of War. The revelation was hardly surprisingly, though, since it was initially revealed last November when a Microsoft marketing executive said a Gears "trilogy" was planned. [UPDATE] However, despite the fact that the original game has sold more than 3 million copies to date, Microsoft Game Studios has made no official announcement regarding a Gears of War sequel.

Then, Bleszinski went on to talk about Gears' history. The title began as "Unreal Warfare," a more military-themed game inspired by Tribes and Team Fortress. "We thought, let's do something with vehicles and something that involves a lot of territory control," Bleszinski said. He also said they wanted the game be tied in with connection to Unreal Tournament 2004 and would feature an opponent race called the "Geist." However, Epic's "lead cabal" reconsidered when they: a) decided they wanted a separate, single-player-driven game, and b) realized Nintendo had copyrighted the "Geist" as the title for their ghostly GameCube game. His second choice, "The Worm," also didn't stick.

Bleszinski said the seeds of Gears of War were sown by three titles. The first was Capcom's Resident Evil 4, which made an indelible impression on Bleszinski even before its January 2005 release. "I really liked the pacing and the over-the-shoulder view," said the designer.

Cliffy B drops some knowledge on the audience.

The second game was Namco's 2004 shooter kill.switch. Though it had much less success critically or financially than Resident Evil 4, Bleszinski felt "it had the best cover system at that time." He felt that incorporating a similar cover system would really change the pace of Gears and set it apart from other shooters.

Another inspiration was the classic arcade game Bionic Commando. In it, players must shoot a grappling hook to ascend from platform to platform vertically. Bleszinski thinks Gears has the same mechanic--jumping from cover point to cover point to advance--on a horizontal axis.

Another interesting tidbit was that Gears started out as a first-person shooter. However, after seeing the impressive graphics of the first Unreal Engine 3 demo, Bleszinski and the rest of the project's lead cabal decided "it would be a crime not to see" the game's hero, who would eventually be named Marcus Fenix. Bleszinski said seeing Fenix so up close that you could see him issue orders and even notice the scar on his ear would make players associate with the character more.

This concept for a Locust "re-animator" was ditched early on.

Speaking of viewpoints, Bleszinski went on a mini-rant about how badly he feels the camera is positioned in most third-person shooters. "My big pet peeve...is when I see the [main] guy blocking the line of sight," he said. Once again he said that RE4's over-the-shoulder camera angle, which always faced the enemy, was a big influence on Gears.

Gears of War's design team also worked in a few camera tricks to play with players' perceptions. Bleszinski's concept behind the camera views was "freedom at a trade-off." When a player gets to cover, his field of view widens. However, when performing the so-called "Roadie Run"--which was inspired by the hunched onstage gait of rock-concert technicians--the field of view gets much narrower.

When the player is running, the camera view also gets much shakier; Bleszinski said he wanted it to look like "CNN-type camera." This was a trick to make players think they were moving faster than they really are, since the "Roadie Run" is just 1.2 times quicker than Fenix's regular gait. He said the shaky-cam was just one of many cinematic tricks used in Gears. "The audience has 70-plus years of film-viewing experience, so they can pick up on filmic cues," Bleszinski said.

Some of the more interesting things about Bleszinski's speech were his descriptions of features that weren't included in Gears of War. One concept was called "combat cash," a system that would let players "scoop up the spoils of war" and buy new items on the battlefield--a system (again) reminiscent of Resident Evil 4's mysterious "What are ya buyin'?" merchant. After consideration, though, the lead cabal felt the feature would take away from the game's "pure action" dynamic.

The whole no-skin-showing Locust power-armor thing didn't go over well, either.

Another system that didn't make the cut was the "morale meter." This system would have seen Fenix's squadmates become more and more disheartened the longer they were pinned down by Locust gunfire. If the group did not advance, a squad member would eventually "put a gun in his mouth." Again, the feature was cut, as the leads felt that it would be too disheartening for a player if his or her squad started committing mass suicide during an already tough level.

Lastly, Gears was also supposed to have a much more complex "Orders System" to let players direct their squads. "We realized we were not making Full Spectrum Warrior and felt that implementing too much [real-time strategy] would take away from the central action element," Bleszinski told the crowd.

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Discussion

450 comments
MJPK
MJPK

I can't wait till this game comes out.I just hope it doesn't get delayed like alot of games are.

ssc0n
ssc0n

they better put 4 player coop, cuz theres marcus, dom, cole and baird perfect for 4 player coop

Solid_Devil
Solid_Devil

All i'm going to say about this game is that its going to be great!

vadicta
vadicta

I just hope the second has a longer single player, and a more fleshed out story, because it seems like there could be a lot here with the characters. Maybe less steryotyping of Col... nah.

Venetians
Venetians

lol I hate giant robot things

Keith4Chelski
Keith4Chelski

GEARS to PS3 who cares because GEARS isnt as good as Halo and PS3 will never get Halo.

roxythethegreat
roxythethegreat

will admit that to u the mad hatter the storyline was a bit of a let down when me n my buddy beat it on the first night we played it, but ive read the small part of screenplay that was leaked out by word of mouth ive heard that the second GOW is suppost to reveal more of the story like marcus's background n the whole y he was in jail and stripped of his honors in the military(cog army) there r still things to worry about but dude this is one thing yur deffinatley not going to have to fear p.s yur right about god of war also its gettin a lil old

The_Mad_Hatter
The_Mad_Hatter

i think it would be great not to have a GoW 2, why??? you can continue the franchise in another way, launch a movie then a game of gear but after the movie, play with the story, make something different, it's like god of war, the first one was amazing the second one not so great, i think is lame and the third one is on the way, so please, please if there is another GoW coming i will wait many years if it means that it will be better than the first part of the story,

Ball3rAvery33
Ball3rAvery33

Ok if your in a match and you get kills. revives. takedowns etc. they will go in your stats and count once you finish the match but if you quit or to many ppl quit in the party then they wont go towards your achievements they will be in your stats but wont be for achievement points.

Depresso
Depresso

Who's your friend, AJ-2K7 ? Microsoft would never let that happen. Besides when are they going to release more maps on Live ? I am getting a bit bored of playing the same old stuff, also it would be nice to get a really large map for a change. I bought this game a month ago with the console and my social life has vanished, tse !

derkaderka56
derkaderka56

MS would probably nuke epic before they let one of their star franchises come out for the ps3

Schmitty722
Schmitty722

thats great we can all get along hear gears of war 2 is for both of them

bigtexas1991
bigtexas1991

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

ringwraith58854
ringwraith58854

please please please please please please please release GOW2 i will do anything for more gears of war! i want this game. hopefully they won't try to change a bunch of stuff and screw it up

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

Bring it on Cliffy! I'm ready for Gears of War 2!! And this time make the multiplayer have a party system similar to Halo and get rid of the bullet lag and host advantage!!!

ukillwegrill
ukillwegrill

I think MS own the image rights to Marcus and co so i doubt it will be multiplatform a part from the pc of course

AJ-2K7
AJ-2K7

i reely...reely...REELY WANT THIS!!!

Badgerr
Badgerr

Thoroughly enjoyed Gears. Currently engaged in Insane. Looking forward to the sequel. One of the best shooters I have played to date.

AJ-2K7
AJ-2K7

my friends say that this is being made for PS3 aswell, which i have. i hope they do make it because the first gears is excellent! i cant wait 2 have a go at this!

savior1191
savior1191

Cant wait 2 get my hands on G.O.W-2.................it must also be superb

Mr_Jingles92
Mr_Jingles92

thi was a great game many people will be playing it until gow2 comes out

degenerate138
degenerate138

They need to start working on Gears of War 2 now. So looking forward to the next Gears game.

xunhallowed
xunhallowed

You need about 120+ of each thing to get the achievement. On my 125th revive today, I got my revive achievement. It sucks, but you have to do it.

papowwww
papowwww

i love gears but online it doesent give me my achievments does anyone know why. i got 100+ execution and no achivenment and i did them all on warzone game type

creamynuts
creamynuts

must ...... have....... gears 2.......... : (..... i cant wait!!! and oh yean.. maybe campaign where you could play as other characters.. i wish i was cole train.. it would take some getting use to not being marcus.. the prequel thing is a good idea.. nice thinking.. just a litle bit better AI.. just a little bit

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

dabomba
dabomba

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

l3asher
l3asher

I thonk gears of war 2 final boss would be a general for the humans but is a spy for the locust. Like the main captain of the cogs. When you defeat him you becom the captin of the cogs and goin attak queen in 3

fax555241
fax555241

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

GR33DY83
GR33DY83

Chainsaw in GOW best thing ever, whaa i would like to see is some sort of Impale with a knife where u can twtist it in the enemy and have them fall to their knees then making your kill....lol wow a bit morbid anyone

vass86
vass86

the suicide idea made me lol. that would have been so stupid to be in a gunfight and your team just keep shooting themselves in the mouth

matty_sen
matty_sen

damm they all sound like good ideas but they would take the hole dramctic afect like is shopping for new stuff what fenix wants also mass-suicide would make players restart passages over and over again but i think if they included despose able charcters like gears solders or people who step in to make five or six and change the story line mutipule endings make a games repaly value dubble. if just some how they made that fit it gears 2 that would be amazing, more veicals,more wepons more bossis and a 8-on8 mutiplayer and alot more il book mine be or they anonce it!!!!

shufu7-11
shufu7-11

ilootin, that sounds like a pretty good idea. A prequel could work well with how fenix was sent to prison and everything.

p00phead
p00phead

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

nightpanther93
nightpanther93

I wonder who the boss character in gears of war 2 will be. I'm guessing it won't be the locust queen if there is going to be two sequals.

hachiman128
hachiman128

Fix problems with multiplayer, increase size to 8v8, more maps, longer story, and worse graphics (seriously, it scares my mom lol).

ilootin
ilootin

maybeee insted of gears 2, make a gears 0 in which its a prequel to gears 1, and then after that make a gears 2

tonymatt225
tonymatt225

yea gears is like the most tactical shooter on the market right now. halo 3 will just let you run around and shoot. but still, halo 3 will own gears Sept.25th. Muhahaha!!!! i'll throw a sticky on General Ramm while in camo then hop in a warthog and blast him with my spartan laser ^_^

yianniskay
yianniskay

Been checking your guys posts, this is my take on the sequel: 1) Longer story. Yes please. 2) Dual wielding. Are you kidding me? I personally do not agree with drawing inspiration from John Mcclane on how to improve perfect gameplay. 3) Second game focused on Locust/Locust lead character. Please don't. Hating the Locust in the single player campaign is so enjoyable, i would swear in triumph at each stubborn mofo i would take down. Let's not ruin this for us by getting our camps mixed. I personally did not enjoy being an Elite in Halo 2. 4) More game types for multiplayer. Would be great, especially each man for himself. 5) Morale meter/team mates blowing their head off. I actually think this would be great...imagine the first time you see it happening, youd be more ecstatic at the ingeniosity of the game developers than pissed off. Marcus does it all on his own anyway.. 6) Wish is was first person? eeerrrr.....ok. next! I love the Gears.

klasco
klasco

i want it .....................must have must........must i tell you or i'll go insane

MilkyJoe1
MilkyJoe1

no it would suck if the 2nd one was focust around the locust, they would ruin it like bungie did in halo 2

onenonle
onenonle

It would be very very cool if the second game was focused on the locust, The main character for instance could be an elite grub, or a new unit not seen thus far.