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'Gears of War’ - ‘CliffyB’ Q&A

November 01, 2007

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Gears of War!

With the long-awaited Windows PC version of ‘Gears of War’ hitting stores shelves November 6th, .ca caught up with the game’s lead designer and creator at Epic Games, Clifford “CliffyB“ Bleszinski, and picked his brain about the award-winning success of the “hide and seek” shooter and his thoughts on the what the PC version offers hardcore gamers.

John Powell: Of all the awards and praise you have garnered for ‘Gears of War’ which do you cherish the most?

Clifford Bleszinski (CliffyB): Okay, it is gonna sound funny but the thing that means the most to me is when people get tattoos. Through my MySpace, it is really fascinating to keep my finger on the pulse of what gamers are thinking and they will yell at me and get into fights. It is really funny. When someone gets a “crimson omen” tattoo on them, it kills me. I love it. It makes me giddy that someone would mark their bodies with this and when it is a girl, it is even cooler. It is this weird empowerment thing, man.

Gears of War: The Big Event at the CinemaJohn Powell: You have a different approach to the games you are involved with in that you are a gamer and actually play them. Do you think that gives you a different perspective on the process?

Clifford Bleszinski (CliffyB): ‘Gears’ was created not only because of the kinda of games we the designers all dig but it was also created because there are a lot of games and things about games that we don’t like. So, it was created as much out of love as it was general loathing of a lot of game paradigms that exist right now. Like, the whole “save game” thing. I have played a lot of games, shooters in particular, where you play for 20 minutes, you die and they put you right back at the beginning of this 20 minute section. You are like…Are you freaking kidding me?

Television used to operate based on the fact that if they caught someone’s attention for 20 minutes, it was unbelievable. You look at marketing people, they are lucky if they can grab your attention for 15 seconds for half of a radio ad. So, you expect people to beat themselves over the head falling into the lava repeatedly while being shot at for 20 minutes over and over again? That is just not my definition of fun. In ‘Gears’ we wanted to make sure the checkpoints were friendly. We wanted to make sure the game had interesting enemies. It established an interesting formula of cover shooting and then switched things up with Kryll coming out at night and a few little puzzles. It was also important to us to keep that breakneck pacing so we had that Jerry Bruckheimer – Michael Bay action movie experience going. That is where ‘Gears’ all kind of came from and that is why it resonated very well with people.

Gears of War:  Really, this is a great viewJohn Powell: What is new about the ‘Gears of War’ version on the PC?

Clifford Bleszinski (CliffyB): Well, there are a ton of new features to be honest. To go through the quick laundry list, there are five new chapters in the single player game. There are three new multi-player arenas. There is the new multi-player mode: King of the Hill. We have a new boss battle and we are also shipping with the latest version of the ‘Unreal Editor’, which to me is the most exciting thing of all, to be honest. I want to see what the next big game designer is going to come up with. We knew we always wanted to do that with ‘Gears’ because it is in our blood. It is our heritage from ‘Unreal’ and ‘Unreal Tournament’ to ship the same tools that we built the game with to let people edit. Extending that to ‘Gears of War’ on the PC was a no-brainer. I get asked all the time…How do I get in the business? I answer: Buy ‘Gears of War’ for the PC and make a level or code a mod that impresses us and the sky is the limit, man.

John Powell: How different are the Achievement Points on the PC version?

Gears of War: How come mine sucks?Clifford Bleszinski (CliffyB): Honestly, there is not really a lot of difference in that department. The one thing is that through the benefit of the fact that we are not playing Xbox 360 against the PC is that there are
an extra 1000 gamer points from all the achievements on the PC to add to your overall gamer score.

John Powell: There are a lot of PC gamers who still don’t have gaming microphones and the like. How do you think ‘Gears’ multiplayer will play out on the PC?

Clifford Bleszinski (CliffyB): Look, I love Xbox Live and all but to not hear somebody using homophobic or racial comments for five minutes certainly is not a bad thing. The thing is a lot of players have
microphones set up with their PCs and they have their own little chat programs so a lot of the hardcore guys will be down with ‘Gears’. Naturally, there will be a sense of community fostered between the people
playing together and also exchanging mods, levels and whatnot.

John Powell: With the PC edition, what are you most proud of?

Gears of War: the Movie PosterClifford Bleszinski (CliffyB): The best thing I like seeing on the PC is the fact that it is in the far higher resolution. Everything scales up a bit. I am sitting there in front of my LCD monitor and looking at these
characters and I can see every nasty detail in their craggy faces. It is really a whole new game on the PC.

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