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New, Better, More: Epic's Approach to Gears of War 2
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New, Better, More: Epic's Approach to Gears of War 2

August 29, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

I think Gears of War is, even more than Halo, the prototypical testosterone fest. Ridiculously beefy, ridiculously masculine. What do you think about doing a game in that style? Do you think that's the primary audience of the 360?

RF: I don't know if it's the primary audience; as you saw from the E3 keynote, the platform is really broadening from Lips and all that stuff, right? So it's tempting to take it even further. Yeah, I think there's a core audience to anything, and I think shooters are a core gameplay for that audience.

I think it appeals to certain people. And for me, games are all about [being] aspirational. You know, I don't want to be -- and this is a personal thing -- I don't want to be the little girl walking backwards down the dark school hallway; I don't want to be putting myself in a place where... I want to be aspirational. I want to be that badass; I want to be that cool guy. I think Gears does that; I think Gears gives you that.

It has a weight to it, in the world, and it has this thing where I want to be with these guys, and I'd go to war with these guys. And it's just cool! I mean, really, we want it to be thick-necked steroid guys; we like that vibe.

And at the same time, we've been trying really hard not to be sophomoric. I mean, we're not doing fart jokes, and all of that stuff. So there's a line there, and we're trying our best to keep the energy, keep the excitement, and keep the aspirations of a 17 to 18 year old, going, "Yeah, I want to be that guy! And I'm gonna go kick ass with my chainsaw!" But again, we're not doing poop jokes or whatever.

It's funny, because, there's something I've been thinking about -- and I don't know if it's just a dichotomy, or if there's more to it than this -- but I've been thinking about people who talk a lot about identifying with the main character of a game as though they are, you know, somehow connected to the main character of the game... And I, personally, more think of main characters as the main characters of a movie. I don't feel like I have to identify, really.

RF: You don't need to project.

Right. I mean, honestly, I'm not that into Marcus Fenix as a character; to me, it doesn't appeal a great deal, but I did play through all of Gears of War, and really enjoy it. So it's not necessarily a bad thing.

RF: You have to make sure that you don't do so much that -- the thing is not to break them out of it. It's like, how do you get them in, and then you don't want to mess with the suspension of disbelief so much that, like...

If Marcus were to act in a way that was totally against your belief system, whatever that may be, that would make it be really hard to play him.

And so I think that you have to find this subdued character, where you say, "Well he says some occasional badass things, and he does occasional badass things..." and you're like, "OK, I can tag along with him for the ride, and I get that, and I think he's cool," as opposed to -- there's always a risk, when you put too much character, that you'll be going, "I can't associate. I'm not in line with that."

It's cohesive. The whole world of Gears, the whole thing is very cohesive, right, so even if you don't buy into, like, the Marcus Fenix, like, "Shit yeah!" kind of thing, you can still get it. You can still enjoy it for what it is.

RF: Yeah, and we've worked hard to make sure that Marcus was the aspirational guy that was somewhat quiet, and introverted in a way, and that Dom -- you know, we designed Dom to be the voice of the player. So if the player is playing, and he goes, "What the hell is that?" Dom goes, "What the hell is that?", right?

So we wanted to project all of the player questions, and all the player sensibilities onto Dom; to make him the one asking all the questions that the player's asking, so they don't have to have that -- Marcus isn't questioning, and Marcus doesn't have the same uncertainty that the player has, so they'll be like, "Wow, he's really strong, and he knows what he's doing, and he's a badass," whereas you have Dom asking the questions.

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