Something owed to the fans.
Gears of War 4 is out, and it’s a great game, on the whole. It’s a great game that fans of the series will definitely enjoy, but it suffers from a feeling of familiarity, from a sort of staleness, as it treads old ground and doesn’t dare to venture outside of the comfort zone the series established for itself a long time ago.
That familiarity, or that staleness, if you will, was deliberate on the part of the developers. Speaking to Eurogamer, The Coalition’s Studio Head Rod Fergusson explained that the studio felt like it had to prove itself, before it went about upending the boat too much.
“We came in a little bit tentative because we felt we needed to prove ourselves,” Fergusson said. “When I started here there were lots of great innovative ideas that I felt were just too outside the box, for a studio that hasn’t proven itself. There’s a lot of room now to push the campaign further, mess with the formula a little bit, because people will just see it as the natural growth of our game, versus messing with it in order to mess with it.”
Creative Director Chuck Osieja added that the team had ultimately done such a good job of deconstructing Gears to its essentials that future Gears games would be really easy to make- for The Coalition, or for any other studio that may some day follow in their footsteps.
“If everything went sideways tomorrow we could hand it off to somebody else and they would have a really good understanding of how to build a Gears game from the ground up,” he said. “Deconstructing and archiving all this stuff – it was not only good for us, but every time we brought somebody in we could put all that documentation in front of them and say: ‘OK, this is why cover is laid out the way it is, this is why these weapons exist and these are the roles they fill. When you think about enemies they need to fill one of these three roles, because that’s what happens in a Gears game.’ We haven’t had the chance to reflect on all that yet, but now we’re near the end, able to think about what we’re doing next… is how quickly [new hires] will be able to get up to speed because of all the groundwork we’ve done.”
Gears of War 4 is available now on PCs running Windows 10, and on Xbox One.