Way back in 2006, the current behemoth that is Epic Games created Gears of War, an iconic Xbox franchise in this day and age. However, back when the first game was in development, Epic was a very different company made up of a much smaller team. Gameplay designer at the time, Lee Perry, has now sat down with Ars Technica to discuss the birth of Gears of War, and how multiplayer almost never happened.
Perry discussed how making recognizable characters was core to the creation of Gears of War. The team wanted friendlies and enemies that you could clearly identify on the battlefield, and that idea informed a lot of the game's design choices.
"One of the things that massively framed how Gears of War worked, was this drive to show off 3D characters. [...] how do we get enemies close enough to you that you can see them, how can we narrow in the camera enough that they're filling enough of the screen [and] that they matter. It was a very tricky balancing act to try to get a shooter to work with somebody who's 12 feet away from you in-game."
Boy oh boy did it work though. Gears of War went on to become a smash hit on Xbox 360, hitting a Metacritic score of 94 and birthing an entire series that Microsoft now owns. That being said, multiplayer has become such a core part of the series that, it's hard to believe it almost never happened.
"We were very much on the fence that like, I don't even know if multiplayer is gonna make it in Gears at that time. We were at the start of summer, and this thing is shipping in fall, and there was a very specific moment where we were having those discussions of 'do we just cut this?'"
In the end, it was a playtest on the Gears map now known as 'Gridlock' that ultimately made up the team's mind. Once the good times started to flow on Gridlock, the team made it their mission to ship multiplayer with Gears of War. The rest, as they say, is history!
What are your favourite Gears of War memories from Xbox 360? Let us know down in the comments.