Cliff Bleszinski's Epic Vision

Highlights from Bleszinski's appearance on the GameSpot Comic-Con 2012 stage show.

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Epic's Cliff Bleszinski joined us on our Comic-Con 2012 stage show to talk about all of Epic's upcoming projects. Here are some of the most interesting quotes from that interview…

On cranking up the difficulty in Gears of War: Judgment

The thing is, casual [difficulty level] is still casual. If you're a little baby, a whiny bitch, and you want to be over in the corner, you can do that. But normal, hardcore, and insane [difficulty levels] are going to be tough. Insane, I'm not even going to touch. Because in hardcore I die a lot. This generation, I kind of feel like we've slipped into this rut where we're trying to grow our audience at the cost of actual gameplay. Cut scenes have gotten longer and longer. Scripted sequences have taken over … I just believe that a game that's replayable is a better game even if you never replay it.

On giving players more room for creativity in Fortnite

When I was at GDC and Warren Spector got his [lifetime achievement] award, he had this quote that really resonated with me. He said that a great video game isn't about the creators showing players how creative they are, it's about players showing the creators how creative they are. Empower the games to build something they've never been before. Because we've all built forts as a child, right? So Fortnite is essentially a co-op sandbox survival game … and it feels fresh and exciting for myself in particular to work on.

On debuting Unreal Engine 4 with Fortnite

"This generation, I feel like we've slipped into this rut where we're trying to grow our audience at the cost of actual gameplay"
At E3, we kind of ushered in next-gen by showing off the Elementals demo and it looked almost like a real-time Blizzard cinematic. You had this really tough knight guy, with lava dynamically lighting the environment and beatiful snow and mountains. It was really exciting. And a lot of publishers and developers look at that and they're like, man, that looks like a 100 million dollar game. We're going to have to spend a lot of money to make that game and market it. We're going to have to get our Shanghai studio on that!

And I'm looking at this and I'm like, this engine will be very capable of making these kind of games--we're absolutely down for that. But it's important to note that you can make a smaller game that's stylized on PC. The goal is to give an engine that can do the minimum of a simple little iPhone game, and the max of a AAA, maybe next-gen console game.

On avoiding the Uncanny Valley in the next generation

"I think the key is to continue to stylize. Pixar learned this years ago when they were depicting humans in Toy Story. Don't try to just go photo-real. Stylize them, make them slightly cartoony. The future of Gears is probably going to remain stylized. You're not going to see us chase the photo-realistic look. I think the key is to just find kind of a filmic quality so that things look great.

I think we're at the point where graphics can be so good that you can choose to stylize. Look at a game like Borderlands. They chose to not go in that hyper-realistic. They went with a quirky, fun, cel-shaded look. And it's really become iconic, it's become a thing for them. And Borderlands 2 looks absolutely phenomenal, those guys are great.

More highlights: Frank O'Connor on Halo 4 and Paul Barnett on Ultima Forever

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