Gears Of War: Judgement Developer Interview – Telling A New Old Story
Just when we thought the Gears of War story culminated with the end of Gears of War 3, Epic Games and People Can Fly (Bulletstorm) announced Gears of War: Judgement, the prequel to the original game. Judgement is set to deliver the most intense and challenging “Gears of War” game in the series with new modes, characters, and of course a fully featured multiplayer suite for cooperative and competitive gamers alike.
I recently sat down with Quinn DelHoyo, Multiplayer Designer at Epic Games to chat about telling Baird’s story, their brand new multiplayer mode “Free-For-All,” the women of Gears, and brand new control schemes.
Check out the full interview after the break.
JTM Games: A lot of people thought that the series ended with Gears of War 3. Why was it decided to create a new game with Gears of War: Judgement?
Quinn DelHoyo: First and foreomst was we wanted to make a game for the fans. Secondly, we felt like there was a story untold that we wanted to tell and that was Baird’s story. Baird is one of the main characters in Gears 1, 2, and 3 and he’s a big time fan favorite but he never really got the spotlight. Marcus was the main character of the Gears trilogy, Dom had his story with his wife, and Cole had his moment with his Thrashball and career flashbacks.
So we were like “hey, Baird has a story; and we want to tell his story and let’s not try to worry about doing an official Gears 4; let’s make a prequel and let’s tell a really dark, cool, intense story that takes place before Gears 1.”
JTM Games: Could you tell us a little bit about Gears of War: Judgement’s story and the trials and tribulations that Baird will face in the game?
Quinn DelHoyo: Gears of War: Judgement takes place about 13 years before Gears of War 1; Baird is a Lieutenant (and if you remember Gears 1 Baird was a Private) so something happened that made got him demoted. This is that story, him leading up Kilo Squad (4 members including Cole Train) and the tough decisions that this squad and particularly Baird makes to deal with the Locust threat which is brand new for them because again, it takes place 13 years before the first game. So basically, that’s the game’s story in a nutshell; the hard decisions and choices they make that gets Baird in trouble but becomes a hero in the process.
JTM Games: Could you talk about some of the gameplay changes or tweaks that Gears of War: Judgement fans can look forward to?
Quinn DelHoyo: First and foremost is the control scheme; which is different from Gears of War Trilogy which relied heavily on the d-pad to switch weapons. In Gears of War: Judgement, switching weapons is simple; it’s mapped to the Y button. Basically you switch between two weapons and it’s really quick and now the left bumper works as your offhand grenades. When we were making the game, it was really fast, deadly, and intense so we wanted to make a control scheme that was just as fast and just as mean.
JTM Games: Are there any new weapons or equipment that Baird uses that’s never been featured in a Gears title before?
Quinn DelHoyo: In this demo, we actually have what’s called the Breach Shot and that is a Locust precision weapon and it’s got a mean blade underneath it that you can slash people with. That’s currently the newest weapon we’re debuting for Gears of War: Judgement that’ll be in the “toolchest of fun” if you will for the game.
JTM Games: I also noticed that there are a lot more female characters in Gears of War: Judgement. Are they part of the game’s story or are they exclusive to the multiplayer modes?
Quinn DelHoyo: In Gears 3 we debuted playable female characters and that was well-recieved. In Gears of War: Judgement, one of the main members of Kilo Squad – which is Baird’s squad – is Sophia Hendrick. She’s really cool; she’s a fresh cadet out of the Onyx Guard Academy and she’s the by-the-rules member of the squad because she’s just come out of the academy. She quickly learns of the gruffness of Kilo Squad and how they do business. So there’s that contrast between her disciplined upbringing and how to deal with a real war instead of just the books in the academy.
JTM Games: You’re debuting the brand-new mode called “Free-For-All” here. Could you talk about it and why it’s unique to Gears of War: Judgement?
Quinn DelHoyo: In Gears of War, it’s classically been a team-based game; you always play with a team (COG vs Locust) and for the first time (in Gears of War: Judgement) we made Free-For-All where you go in lone wolf-style. You have no team, and you’re pretty much trying to kill everyone. It’s something that fans have always asked for and we thought “hey why not? Let’s make it happen!” We then designed levels that work with it, and the fast pace of the game totally worked with it. It’s definitely a blast to play and that’s why we wanted to really show it here to show Gears of War fans that we’re listening to them and we’re making Free-For-All mode.
JTM Games: Could you tell us about the two multiplayer maps that you’re showing for the first time?
Quinn DelHoyo: The two levels here are for Free-For-All mode and that is Gondola – which is a European looking town with terraces, hills, and roads and it’s got a gondola that goes through it. It takes you from the lowest part of the seaside up to the top part.
We also have Library; which coincidentally takes place in a library. Something that we’re trying to get into our maps is some dynamic player interactivity kind of like the gondola you can ride. In library, there’s secret rooms that you can open up by pulling on certain books and bookcases.
JTM Games: How many players can join in a multiplayer match? Also, when can we expect the game to be released?
Quinn DelHoyo: Currently we are sticking with our staple of 10 players, five versus five. And Gears of War: Judgement is coming out March 2013.
Featuring fan-favorite Baird’s story before Emergence Day, Gears of War: Judgement looks to bring a dark, intense, yet fun singleplayer/four-player cooperative campaign featirung new weapons, equipment, and characters. Judgement will also feature a faster and more streamlined combat style that Gears of War fans will definitely dig.
We expect big things for this Gears of War prequel and cannot wait until it’s released next year. In the meantime, check out these Gears of War: Judgement screenshots below: