The latest installment in the Gears of War franchise, Gears of War: Judgment, has now been given an official release date, 19 March 2013, and that gives Pocket-lint the ideal opportunity to share a conversation we had with the two developers who have teamed for this prequel.
Speaking with Adrian Chmielarz, creative director of People Can Fly, and the one and only Cliff Bleszinski ("CliffyB"), design director of Epic Games and creator of Gears of War, we were told that Judgment will see a departure from the current videogames trend of single-player campaign modes with big, Hollywood style set pieces in favour of gameplay.
Indeed, it can be argued that Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly has been specifically brought in to ensure that gameplay will be the focus of the latest chapter. It is bringing its S3 (Smart Spawn System) games engine to the table, which promises to create some unique player experiences.
S3 allows players to experience the game in different ways, by adapting to each individual's skill level and ability and throwing up new monsters and combat situations that will test them based on how they've played the game to that moment.
And it is this adaptive gameplay system Chmielarz believes will help the gamer remember smaller, unique moments long after they've finished the game, rather than the massive, pre-rendered set pieces. It's a philosophy found often in other genres, less so in action games.
"When people play Need for Speed, for example, do they really remember a set piece thing from the game?" he told us. "They remember the jump they made with their cars, because that's something that happened just for them.
That's not to say that there won't be set pieces at all, rather that they might happen while the player is directly involved. "It's not something I can talk about in detail [yet], but there are ways around it that can maintain the uniqueness of the experience of being surrounded by these larger than life events," added Chmielarz.
Gears creator CliffyB offered us some further elaboration. "You'll still have the set pieces of the Hammer Gods raining down around you and things like that, blowing up the building, so that's cool," he said. "But the problem of this current generation is that we've relied a little too much on that – QuickTime events at the expense of gameplay.
"What I remember from Skyrim is not a castle collapsing," continued Chmielarz. "What I remember is that it was night and I saw a deer and situations like that, where it felt like the discovery was all mine. This was special for me. So we are trying to create these sort of memories.
However, those worried that they'll be confined to watching Locusts bouncing gaily in the woods, need not.
"Of course, this includes dismemberment, blood, bullet and chainsaws," he added. Phew.
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