Original Gears Of War Trilogy Director Believes New Games Lack “Heart”

Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer and game director of the original Gears of War trilogy, recently appeared on the IGN Unfiltered podcast to promote his new book and openly voiced some criticisms he had of the more recent titles in the series. Bleszinski was anything but unfriendly, saying: “[Gears of War] 4 and 5 were really, really good,” but he added that while he liked them, he “didn’t feel any of the heart” that was there in the first three games.

Bleszinski didn’t elaborate too much, but he did point out one particular design decision that he had a particular problem with. Not to miss the spoilers, Bleszinski explained how one of the more recent titles had the player decide the fate of certain characters towards the end of the game, to which his reaction was, “Dude, really?!” He adamantly pointed out the narrative choices, which were met by him and his team, who committed to their characters’ deaths, made them part of the established narrative canon, and left players no control over their outcome.


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It’s clear that he doesn’t think letting the player decide which character lives or dies is the best way, at least when it comes to this particular series, explaining that the developers are “putting themselves in a corner narratively.” painted”. In fact, other games with different endings had such problems where their sequels had to somehow adapt to the two or more separate branching paths available to players.

Often times, games must either decide which of the two was the ending of canon and continue that story, or make both endings relatively inconsequential in order to recalibrate the narrative. In both situations, the player’s choice basically loses importance at the end of the first game.

Bleszinski also addresses why the Gears of War franchise sold out after the original trilogy. The first three games in the series are well-known Xbox exclusives, but the IP actually belonged to developers Epic Games, who later sold it to Microsoft in 2014. “Epic had to keep the coffers full,” said Bleszinski. He believes that after his departure and that of other Gears of War developers, the company “didn’t really know what to do with the franchise” and chose to sell it to focus on other ventures.

Microsoft appointed one of its first-party teams to be the exclusive developer of Gears of War, so much so that the studio was renamed The Coalition. This team has since released two mainline contributions to the series, starting with 2016’s Gears of War 4, followed by 2019’s Gears 5. While both were generally well received, most would agree that they didn’t have that much of an impact on the series had industry like the original three games. Job offers have previously confirmed that the next entry in the series is in development, although it may take some time.

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