You just mentioned someone potentially identifying with the queen. Do you feel like you could have had the Locusts be more of an identifiable adversary?
CB: There's a line there with monsters, right? Where you want them to speak English, and you want them to be understandable. If anything, this is what we refer to in a franchise as the dick moment, right? It's the moment where in Half-Life 2, the Combine guy knocks over the can and goes, "Pick up the can," right?
It's the opening of Homefront, where you see, "Oh, these bad guys are killing people," and the opening of Call of Duty: World at War, where he puts the cigarette in the guy's eye, right? And in order to maintain your enemies as the bad guys, as the antagonists, you need to have repeated dick moments.
They call them "kick the puppy" moments on TV Tropes.
CB: Well kick the puppy works as well -- or be a dick. I'd like to think, pound for pound, this game has its share of Locust dick moments, and there's some puppy kicking in there. And Gears 2, we added some of it with the torture, and things like that.
But we made sure to remind the player that these guys are bad, because it's easy to build sympathy for the devil when you know there's a three way war going on. We briefly -- for a nanosecond -- considered "Marcus teams up with a Locust" and we're like, "No, that's not going to happen." The Locusts are still bad.
It seems like you've put a tremendous effort into the graphics. As you always do, but it seems like the graphics are just phenomenal this time around. How important is the art to you as a designer?
CB: Crucial. A third of our studio is made up of talented, very picky artists. And you know, people like to believe Gears of War is Grays of War, and actually -- if you look at these levels -- they have more color than any Gears game now has. And looking at the latest Call of Duty trailers, Gears actually now has more saturation than Call of Duty, which is weird.
But again, it's an aesthetic choice. It's a visual choice that we chose to create as the designers and artists in the project. Art direction-wise, we're known for our aesthetic, right? I would rather be the game with the large bulky guys in armor than the game with the guy in the camo who I can't remember. That's just an aesthetic choice that we make consciously.
Even from the first game you've made a choice to have the characters stand out in some way. Marcus Fenix does take some flak for being the gruff sort of guy, but ultimately you can point to him. You recognize him; you know what he stands for.
CB: There's a saying in Hollywood, "an eye patch and a limp," right? And I continue to work with our guys, and be like, "Which character is this? The one with the what?"
Because Sam turned out amazing. She looks wonderful. She's attractive without looking slutty, which is a very important quality, honestly, for the girl characters in this game -- to make them pleasant, but not like "Really? You wouldn't wear that into battle."
Once we first got Sam it was like, "She's great, but she's missing a couple things." So that's where the little band aid on the face came from -- so you're not like, "Which girl is that?" It's the kind of Hispanic looking girl with the band aid on her face. "Okay, I know which one that is."
If you do a good job with your character designs, then come time for a cosplayer to get their costume together for Comic Con, they're hopefully going to have to hit 15 stores and vintage shops.