Gears of War boss talks about "managing betrayal" with a sequel

Black Tusk's Rod Fergusson shares his thoughts on the balance between keeping things the same and providing something new.

Gears of War: Judgment for Xbox 360

When making a sequel to any video game, part of the developer's job is to deliver something new and different, but not completely alien--a task that could be described as "managing betrayal," according to the boss of Gears of War Xbox One developer Black Tusk Studios.

"It's the same thing with all sequels," Black Tusk studio manager Rod Fergusson said in an interview with Official Xbox Magazine. "This isn't a great way of phrasing it but I always talk about shipping a sequel to customers as 'managing betrayal'. They want something new but they don't want something so new that it doesn't feel like what they want. But if you put out something that's very familiar and is the same as the game they just had, then it's like 'I've already had this. This isn't new enough.'"

Following Microsoft's acquisition of the IP earlier this year, Black Tusk was tasked with developing a new Gears of War game for the Xbox One. Fergusson is plenty familiar with the series, having worked on it at Epic Games (which he left in 2012), initially as an executive producer on the first two games and then as director of production on Gears of War 3. We already know the studio is shooting for "best in class" visuals, but it sounds like it's also hoping to provide more than just a better-looking Gears game.

"You actually have to betray [fans] enough to give them something new and surprising but not so much that they disconnect, and I think that is a big thing that we have to focus on," Fergusson said. "It's how we can innovate and bring something new to the franchise while at the same time really proving that we understand Gears--that this is the franchise that you know and love."

Fergusson also stated he's talked with the team at Black Tusk more than once about what aspects of Gears won't be changed and where there "are opportunities for us to innovate that we think we can knock out of the park."

When Fergusson spoke earlier this month about Black Tusk taking over the series, he talked about ensuring its style remaining intact. "The hardest part is getting people up to speed on the way you make Gears," he said. "Everybody here is a Gears of War fan; everybody's played the games and loved the games. But there's a sort of style; the way you have to think about when you make a Gears of War game."

The new game has yet to be given a name or release date, which should come as no surprise considering work only began on it a few months ago. One of the few things we may know about it is something we learned from a job posting for a position at Black Tusk discovered earlier this year, which indicated the game will carry on the series' tradition of supporting co-op play.

What parts of Gears of War would you like to see stay the same or be changed for the series' debut on the Xbox One? Let us know in the comments below.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX

Discussion

28 comments
cs_badass_sick
cs_badass_sick

Update gears 3. New maps. Take out sawed off and retro. Take out jumping down from everywhere. Keep the standard starting weapons. Add a 6th spot to multiplayer. Put the effort into the game to make it great. Another judgement and im done with this series. Bring back warzone. Give players that quit strict penalties. Make every ranked game reflect your stats.number 1 ranked warzone gears if war 3.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

This what they need to do. Use GOW3 as a template in terms of content. Take the gameplay from 3 while adding the two things from Judgment that were improvements. Like walking off ledges. and being able to go over any wall that LOOKS like you should be able to go over it. If it as a barrier like barbed wire or spikes obviously, you would not be able to go over it. but plain walls and barriers should be easy to go over. Also  use  places from the campaign to have maps for multiplayer. IF there are good places in the campaign for battles use that for multiplayer. Give us 12 to 15 maps. IF you do all of that you will have a winner.  

BelaidKL
BelaidKL

I'll never forget playing the first Gears Of War game... That game was one of the main reasons I was predominantly a 360 player last gen... Hopefully this fresh yet kind of familiar take on the franchise (which is the vibe I'm getting from this) is just as good.. If 343 could create an awesome Halo game.. Then I have faith in Black Tusk to do so

dark_rage864
dark_rage864

Gears of War: Deception coming fall 2016?

Navardo95
Navardo95

So finaly a storyline in Gears Of War that isn't laughable? 

thatcher334
thatcher334

For the love of all that is good. Do NOT make it ANYTHING like "GOW:J!"

GOW 1-3, are known for having very simple controls, EXECUTIONS!!!!, and not trying to be COD. The 3 very things lacking from GOW:J.

Bring back:

Cog Vs Locust

Online Executions

ORIGINAL CONTROLS (or an option for original controls)

Random event/holiday themes(Pumpkin Head, Rabbits head, and ofc my favorite... The Cluckshot)

Small-Medium sized maps (GOW 1 DLC maps, Sandbar, and any map from GOW:J are TOO BIG)

Grenade Tagging.

5v5

The GOW 3 Gnasher, not the GOW 2 Gnasher, or maybe the finalized GOW 1 Gnasher,

Krill and Razor Hail. (I'm sure I'm alone here)

Badass Bosses that kill men with feminine names (GENERAL RAMM)

Marcus Fenix

Does anyone remember Razor Hail?

Don't do what people can fly did and try to re-invent the wheel. To have a franchise like GOW having 3 top selling titles in its series should've been treated with care and respect for the fans. What PCF did by making GOW:Judgement the way it was, arrogant and disrespectful. Gears of War without executions is like a Zebra without stripes.

Lol Seriously, who remembers Razor Hail?

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

Meh, I don't give a sh*t what you do as long as the game is fun. If it is fun you can make it any way you want. Games have had rehashes and make overs before and survived, it is just many of them have done remakes and rehashes and made a crap game at the same time. Make a decent game and people will buy it.

meck3000
meck3000

Please don't make it like judgment .... I lost a lot of sleep over that game :(

berserker66666
berserker66666

They betrayed us when they made Gears of War Judgement

TruthSerum808
TruthSerum808

The one thing I always had a problem with about Gears is that for some reason the guns just don't feel punchy. Everything about the game to me is great.....except for the gun feel. 

NTM23
NTM23

A lot of people crap on Judgment, and though I wouldn't say rightfully so in terms of campaign because it's not crap, it is true that the game just didn't go in the correct route, at least to me. I thought overall it was a great, fun experience, but it lacked meaning in story compared to even the first three, and I also thought the horde mode like arena battles during campaign felt too arcady taking away from what the story could tell from a gameplay or cutscene perspective. 


I liked the characters enough, like Sophia, and Paduk was alright as well. The bad guy wasn't memorable or intriguing. He was an alright fight, but I'd be lying if I could tell you what he looked like now as a single entity (not with his big counterpart that he rode), or his name, while I remember all three from the trilogy. Anyways, those things aside, I would love to see a new Gears of War, and I would love to see an enhanced trilogy on the One, where it all plays and looks the same.

therealdealadam
therealdealadam

I would love to see Gears of war on PC as well as xbox one, at the same time keeping it true to its roots with gears 1 mechanics, free for all and something new completely.

kane6911
kane6911

a new gears would be great and a console seller. this has been a good game for me fr awhile the story is descent not great but pretty good. and the action is fast. if they continue that with just another story line about ten years after the locust we have a great game.

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

Gears has always been about abusing cover mechanics and one hit kill shotguns.

If they actually manage to change that this time they'll likely have a fan riot on their hands.

Barighm
Barighm

I suppose they could keep the whole game, but completely remake the weapons roster. That would shake things up without actually altering the formula.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

The series is as generic as a bro shooter can get.  Change can only be for the better.

juiceboxguido
juiceboxguido

@spartanx169x they need to fix the horrible sponging that occurs, get actual servers for the damn game, show your connection status bar or something like that. more events, more characters, more maps that aren't so huge that people just camp, remove sawed off or place it as a pickup, tone down the rifles because they are too damn strong and the normal lancer has wayyyy too much ammo, find a way to stop the uber nerds from using modded controllers for hammerbust(only real way is to remove the gun)..GOW3 is fun to play but has many bugs and needs a good tune up. The campaign is awesome. GOW J was awful. No one plays it anymore. GOW doesnt have call of duty numbers as far as players go, but its still an awesome game. If Call of Duty can keep going, then so can gears.

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@BelaidKL I'm glad they took it over. I think EPIC/People Can Fly got lazy with Judgment.

gamingnerd121
gamingnerd121

@thatcher334 Simple things like Avalanches, that could change how the map is being played. Some environmental disasters or something during the game. Adapt to how the map is being changed.

Keaze_
Keaze_

@TruthSerum808 Aren't guns -the game-?  Only story part that awed me was when Dom finds Maria in gears 2.  Apart from that it's pretty generic.  My girlfriend cries every time she sees Dom kill himself but for some reason that part did nothing to me.  Oops spoilers.

Xmus942
Xmus942

@Thanatos2k 

It's probably the best third person shooter ever. So many games copied it's cover mechanics. You sound like a douchey PS fanboy whose never played it.

NTM23
NTM23

@Thanatos2k 


I disagree, unless you're being a bro dude shooter guy in multiplayer. The story has a lot of that, though I like that characterization in these games (though they aren't quite to that extent, they just look it), but it also has a side where it's not just that, with drama.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Xmus942 @Thanatos2k Crap shooters have indeed copied its cover mechanics, and that's why the shooter genre has been in a nosedive for the past decade or so.