The Coalition’s Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, an Xbox One remaster and significant overhaul of Epic Games’ Gears of War which released almost nine years ago, is nearly upon us. Thus far, it appears to be a cut above the typical remasters we’re used to – The Coalition has improved the visuals immensely and helped update the gameplay to add more contemporary elements from the franchise in. Of course we still have plenty of questions to ask (*cough*Horde Mode*cough*) before getting our hands on the game.
Fortunately, GamingBolt’s Leonid Melikhov had a chance to speak to Peter Osgood, who’s the lead designer on Gears of War: Ultimate Edition to get his take on several aspects of the game as well as the tiniest bit of information on Gears of War 4. This interview was conducted during E3 2015.
"We still wanted to keep it fully remastered with all the update visuals, the lighting effects. It looks beautiful running at 60 FPS. That’s obviously like a big tech challenge."
Leonid Melikhov: A lot of people were surprised regarding the content of the remaster. Why is it not a complete remaster of all the games?
Peter Osgood: Gears of War is where everything started like nine or 10 years ago. We wanted to get back to the roots. We wanted to get something to the fans as soon as possible before Gears 4 comes out in Holiday 2016.
Leonid Melikhov: The game will run at 1080p, 60FPS, right?
Peter Osgood: Yes.
Leonid Melikhov: Along with all the DLC packs and everything?
Peter Osgood: Yeah. We have all 10 maps in Gears one. We have the two DLC packs, and the three maps that were exclusive to the PC.
Leonid Melikhov: How long was it in development?
Peter Osgood: I’m not sure. When Rod Fergusson came onboard and when Microsoft bought the IP from Epic Games, that’s when it started.
Leonid Melikhov: How was it like developing on the Xbox One?
Peter Osgood: It’s like any other game project – there are ups and downs.
Leonid Melikhov: What was the most challenging thing to do for the remaster?
Peter Osgood: Probably, technically making it run at 60FPS. We still wanted to keep it fully remastered with all the updated visuals and the lighting effects. It looks beautiful running at 60 FPS. That’s obviously like a big tech challenge.
Leonid Melikhov: I’m not sure if you can confirm this: there’s no Horde Mode, right?
Peter Osgood: There’s no Horde Mode.
"That’s why we make games. Just to make something people enjoy. And it’s cool with the community too because they’ve been playing Gears of War games for nine years and you want to make sure it’s for them."
Leonid Melikhov: Are there any plans to add that on later?
Peter Osgood: Horde Mode was a really cool feature in Gears of War and Gears of War 2. But we wanted to get back to the roots. We wanted to give fans the best possible version of the game as possible. We added a bunch of gameplay features here and there; all the remastering of the art; the cinematics are all new; making sure we have all the maps. With that undertaking if we were to have added a Horde Mode we would not have been able to ship it on time i.e. August 25th.
Leonid Melikhov: What are you looking forward to the most upon release?
Peter Osgood: Just getting it into the hands of fans, that’s the most rewarding thing. That’s why we make games. Just to make something people enjoy. And it’s cool with the community too because they’ve been playing Gears of War games for the last nine years. And you want to make sure it’s for them. What we are doing is totally amazing.
Leonid Melikhov: The game got leaked before the official announcemnt. I’m sure you guys noticed that. How do you handle those kinds of situations?
Peter Osgood: I don’t really know the details of the leak. We don’t comment on it. We are busy finishing the entire game.
Leonid Melikhov: It’s not that big of a deal?
Peter Osgood: It is what it is.
"We’ve added a bunch of small tweaks. We wanted to modernize the game too. The game is nine years old. So there are a bunch of things that have happened in the subsequent Gears games they wanted to get that in there."
Leonid Melikhov: When I first got my Xbox 360, Gears of War one was one of the first games I played. It was mind blowing, I remember that experience.
Peter Osgood: What we wanted to do here is when the original came out we wanted to show what the Xbox 360 could do. And with this game we want to show what the Xbox One is capable of and how beautiful everything looks. We really think we have the package for people and it’s going to be amazing.
Leonid Melikhov: Are you allowed to talk about Gears of War 4?
Peter Osgood: Not really. You saw the teaser?
Leonid Melikhov: Yes. It looked a little “early”. But I’m looking forward to it.
Peter Osgood: It’s coming out Holiday 2016.
Leonid Melikhov: What I liked about it was it has a horror atmosphere to it. Like the first one had. That’s the first thing that popped out at me. The second and third one weren’t as horror.
Peter Osgood: I would agree to that. We are trying to get back to the feeling of the first one.
Leonid Melikhov: It’s a numbered title, so I’m assuming it’s a sequel to something.
Peter Osgood: I can’t really talk about that but stay tuned.
Leonid Melikhov: Did you guys add any new features particularly to Gears of War Ultimate Edition?
Peter Osgood: We’ve added a bunch of small tweaks. We wanted to modernize the game too. The game is nine years old. So there are a bunch of things that have happened in the subsequent Gears games they wanted to get that in there. From Gears 3 you’ll have the Enemy Spotting where you can click the stick and spot them. It’s easier to pick up weapons. You’re not invincible when you’re chainsawing anymore.
"We have 1250 Gamerscore in total. A lot of the achievements are new. The story ones are reworked and tied to the new content."
Leonid Melikhov: What about host advantage in multiplayer (wherein the hosting player of a lobby has no lag and thus gains a major advantage)?
Peter Osgood: We have a really good way to not have it. In LAN play (inaudible, no time on audio given). Everything else is on dedicated servers. So we have private matches and public matches like that. But if you’re playing on LAN, we have spectators (inaudible, no time on audio given). So just make spectator the host. More correctly, make the host the spectator.
Leonid Melikhov: Is there going to be a photo mode?
Peter Osgood: No photo mode.
Leonid Melikhov: Are the achievements going to be the same, new or a mix of things?
Peter Osgood: A mix, I’d say. We have 1250 Gamerscore in total. A lot of the achievements are new. The story ones are reworked and tied to the new content. We have a bunch of new content. When you go through the campaign and pick up the COG tags you’ll unlock a digital content.
Leonid Melikhov: Do you still have the ‘Seriously?’ Achievement?
Peter Osgood: We do. Yeah. So you’ll have to earn that again.
Leonid Melikhov: Same number of kills?
Peter Osgood: I think so.
Leonid Melikhov: I think that will be it. Thank you so much for your time.
Peter Osgood: Thank you.