For an existing franchise that is now being handled by a slew of new game developers, maintaining what a series has always been about is essential. Developers who are working on Gears of War 4 certainly understand the importance of keeping the heart of what a Gears game is at the center of what they create next.
For The Coalition though, they have the right man leading the charge as they get set to launch Gears of War: Ultimate Edition this Aug. 25 and Gears of War 4 in holiday 2016. In an interview with GI, The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson talked about some of the early things the studio did in order to establish what the core tenants of the Gears of War were, are and will continue to be.
“I did several studio-wide talks and some of the early ones were around branding, here’s what the brand of Gears Of War means. And then we got into pillars and very specific topics about here are the things, Gears Of War is brutal, it’s heavy, it’s grounded and what those words mean. One of the things we did was put up pillar documents that explained here’s what our mission is and how we live within that in the Gears world. Hung them up on walls to remind people what you’re building,” Fergusson said.
For a studio with developers who have never worked on a Gears of War installment before, having an exact sense of what this franchise is will be essential for Gears of War 4 staying true to the series’ roots. If the next iteration were a reboot, then the studio could be a bit more flexible with how they define and create the next installment. That said, since it is by definition the next chapter, it will need to live up to the series’ name and what it has done well in the past.
It’s completely natural for any creator to want to add their own flair or flavor to an existing franchise, but this again is why it is so important to have Rod Fergusson heading things up. Having a knowledgeable and experienced Gears veteran means people have the right person to bounce new ideas off of and still know that he has the ultimate vision of Gears of War in mind.
“A lot of times when you bring a new team to this sort of thing they’re like, how can I innovate and really change it and make it my own? And you’re like, I hear you but first we have to do it right before we do it different. And so it was really focused on here’s the sandbox you can play in, here’s how far we can push and generally a lot of it was we locked collision on the levels, what level is the level.
“We took the actual Gears 1 simulation from Unreal Engine 3 and we kept that pure and then it was just, okay now build the art up around it and replace all the assets as opposed to, okay let’s go on back and reimagine that gameplay,” Fergusson said.
People who don’t know what Gears of War is about can experience the game’s first iteration come Aug. 25 on Xbox One. Gears of War 4 will be coming during the holiday season 2016 exclusively for Xbox One.