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'Gears Of War' Creator On Gaming's Future

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'Gears Of War' Creator On Gaming's Future

'Gears Of War' Creator On Gaming's Future
Published by forahobby on Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tagged: Gaming, Xbox 360, Xbox Live,
Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski chats about his inspirations and innovations with the guys from forbes.com.

A chainsaw revs. The heavily armored Marcus Fenix lumbers forward, ripping through a Locust soldier as if he were shredding turkey with an electric carving knife. The combination assault rifle and mechanized saw blade, known as a Lancer, is one of the most recognizable components of "Gears of War," the Xbox 360 shooter that asks players to save humanity from an alien horde.

The most recognizable man behind the franchise happens to be Cliff Bleszinski. The 33-year-old design director of Epic Games has cultivated a rock star aura, despite the videogame industry's general lack of celebrity. He started out in the business when he was 17. Now he is in charge of one of the largest franchises on Microsoft's (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) console. "Gears of War 2," his latest title, launched in early November and sold 2 million copies its opening weekend. The game is expected to be one of the best-selling games this holiday season.
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Bleszinski, who recently unleashed a new pack of multiplayer maps for "Gears 2" over Xbox Live, talked to Forbes.com about the impact downloadable content has on games, making hardcore shooters appeal to casual audiences and his love for "Super Mario Brothers."

If you are browsing the HQ homepage be sure to click the read more to view the rest of the interview and a link to the official news source.. :)

Forbes.com: What game inspired you to make games?

Cliff Bleszinski: The first game I ever played was "Space Invaders" on the Atari 2600. I was instantly hooked by the idea of manipulating images on my television screen but wasn't quite old enough or aware that this could be a possible career. The title that inspired me the most would have to be the original "Super Mario Brothers" on the Nintendo Entertainment System. There was something about these cartoony worlds that unfolded before me that were filled with secrets that, at the time, I believed were not meant to be discovered by the designers.

What is the defining moment of your career, so far?

I'd have to say presenting the original "Gears of War" at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2006 to a crowd that was incredibly impressed is right at the top of the list. I hope that there are many more exciting moments like that in store.

What will define this era of game design?

This era may very well be defined as the time period that helped bring back a lot of gamers who hadn't touched a game in years or would never consider playing a game. Those that are savvy will figure out a way to capitalize on this.

Where do you think the industry has gone wrong?

I think we have to continue to make attempts to keep our core audience while trying to remain accessible and interesting to a broader crowd. If you're making a hardcore shooter game, try to make the easiest setting actually easy instead of just easy for the developers; make the tutorials interesting, and come out swinging to ensure you impress early.

How has the influx of casual game players impacted how you approach game design?

We're always concerned with this, and we strive to make sure our games are accessible. We make sure "Casual" mode is truly casual, we allow for players to play "Gears 2" on different difficulties in co-operative play, and we also allow the blood, language and gore to be dialed back a notch for those who are not into those elements.

What is the next evolution of cooperative gameplay design?

Co-op is a perfect way for a more hardcore gamer to give a leg up to a less experienced gamer. Games like "Lego Star Wars" know this as do shooters like "Gears" and "Halo." We wanted to deliver a summer blockbuster experience that two people can enjoy as well as a blistering arcade-like mode in Horde [a mode in "Gears 2" that has players fending off waves of enemy troops] for up to five gamers. I believe that we're in a world where co-op has shifted from being a "nice but not necessary" feature to a "must have" in the business.

What is the longest game-play session you've had? What game?

I played the original "Zelda" for over 24 hours in a row. I was hooked from the opening screen--the waterfall, the music and the setting were all fascinating to me.

What game do you wish you had made? Why?

"BioShock," because I'm a huge fan of the "System Shock" games as well as "Deus Ex." I love the environments, the universe, and the action RPG elements. (See "Games Are The Convergence of Everything.")

How long a shelf-life do you expect "Gear 2" to have and how will downloadable content impact that?

We hope that "Gears 2" will continue to sell for months to come. We've tweaked our matchmaking systems so that they're much faster than before, and we just announced that the "Combustible" map pack is available on Xbox Live. It's one thing to have a great opening week for a game, but it's essential for a game to have legs and to continue to remain in the hands of gamers. More and more developers are considering downloadable content, and it's a great way to offer a value online that otherwise might not be available at retail.

How big of a threat is the used games market to your livelihood?

We'd simply prefer that our customers buy our games new rather than used, and continue to try to find positive ways to encourage this.

What game are you playing right now?

Right now I'm obsessed with "Fallout 3." I haven't been into RPG games for years, and this is the first RPG to really drag me in hook, line and sinker. The world oozes with atmosphere, and even the simplest actions such as scrounging for bottle caps is somehow entertaining.

Outside of gaming, what do you spend most of your time doing?

I enjoy travel, time with my dog, shopping and eating out--from great dive restaurants to fancy joints.

If you weren't making videogames, what would you be doing?

I'd probably be working somewhere in Hollywood doing god knows what.

Please be sure to check out forbes.com for more interesting news articles..

News-Source: http://www.forbes.com
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