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View Full Version : [INTERVIEW] - Cliffy B: 2 Months Later on Gears of War


bapenguin
01-15-2007, 05:00 AM
Now that Gears of war has been out for a while, what's been your impressions of the feedback? Is it what you expected?

CliffyB: Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive at both a critical and commercial level. Everyone is thrilled with the game and we couldn't be happier.


Is there something that has surprised you from the feedback, whether critical or praise?

CliffyB: To be perfectly honest I'm amazed at how good players became at sticking grenades to one another. We played the game locally for thousands of hours and found tagging to be a useful tactic but not quite the mega attack it became online. We ultimately wound up reducing the distance in a recent update and players seem far happier with it now.


Is there something that very few people have commented on that you thought would be more popular?

CliffyB: I'm surprised at how few users or reviewers have called out the fact that the game has little to no loading screens when playing through the single player campaign. Great features like these that make a game more seamless and immersive often become invisible to the player. The game is just better for it.


Do you play online in Ranked matches? If so how do you fare?

CliffyB: I play both Ranked and Player matches and I can hold my own. (I have, after all, had a head start with practicing active reloading for nearly two years prior to the game's release!) The meta-games of leaderboards and achievements add a whole extra element of depth to the online experience. It all adds up to a very addictive social experience.


Do you think the online multiplayer will have the longevity that some other multiplayer games have like Halo, Counterstrike and even Call of Duty 2?

CliffyB:Due to our ongoing level of support for our products I believe Gears will have legs for quite some time. In fact, we just released two great new combat arenas for the game, "Raven Down" and "Old Bones." Both have been a great success online. I have a sneaky feeling that this won't be the last content that users see from Epic Games!


Who would win in a battle to the death, Master Chief or Marcus Fenix?

CliffyB: That's the million dollar question. Odds are that Master Chief's helmet would limit his peripheral vision and allow Marcus to come in from the side and tag a grenade or chainsaw Chief in half.


Editor's Note: There was one question that I really wanted answered that Cliffy apparently couldn't answer, or maybe he just didn't' want to answer.

Between ActIV and ActV there seems to be a chunk of the story missing. It almost seems like there should have been a vehicle level bridging the two acts or something. Was there something planned there that didn't make the final cut?

agentgray
01-15-2007, 05:14 AM
Very cool you scored the interview, but I think I could have responded...with the same answers.

Meat! Meat! Meat!

EDIT: I do agree though. You could tell they were surprised about the grenade tagging as much as everyone else. Games will always be exploited. I'm glad they took care of it. Sucks for those guys who didn't think it was an exploit. They'll have to play as a team like everyone else.

TurboKinny
01-15-2007, 05:43 AM
Is there something that very few people have commented on that you thought would be more popular?

CliffyB: I'm surprised at how few users or reviewers have called out the fact that the game has little to no loading screens when playing through the single player campaign. Great features like these that make a game more seamless and immersive often become invisible to the player. The game is just better for it.


Interesting- he's right. I hadn't consciously noticed this, but I do appreciate it.

Roc Ingersol
01-15-2007, 06:00 AM
CliffyB: I'm surprised at how few users or reviewers have called out the fact that the game has little to no loading screens when playing through the single player campaign.
Perhaps they were mesmerized by "cut-scene -> empty hallway -> cut-scene"
=p

DesignerKid
01-15-2007, 06:07 AM
The lack of loading, while nice, isn't exacting revolutionary at this point. Lots of games have streamed in the environments, enemies, etc.

See, I would've mentioned the fact that there was no loading except for the fact that I could actually tell when it was loading and it ultimately worked against in my opinion (E.g. Walk down hallway, game pauses momentarily, prepare for an onslaught of whateverthehell they're called). I'm sure that's probably a minority opinion but it's still legit.

Jenga
01-15-2007, 06:13 AM
Is it just me or does Cliffy look a little...hunched over in that picture?

Rirath
01-15-2007, 06:14 AM
Oh come on, quit being so cynical. A game with GoW's graphics and no loading? Geesh, who cares if it takes a hallway? Give me that any day over Half Life 2's constant immersion-breaking "LOADING..." or Oblivion's loading screens every single time you enter/leave an area.

And part of the reason why we're seeing it more often now in because of the Unreal 3 engine.

DesignerKid
01-15-2007, 06:20 AM
That's not being cynical at all. The fact is, I actually made the observation as I was playing through the game. I didn't say it ruined the game but it tipped me off any time something was going to happen.

I'm not as impressed with the fact that they have high quality visuals and no loading. Sorry. That's what the hardware should be capable of so to me, it's moot. I've seen high quality visuals and streaming before. Just not at the same level but both equally impressive (SSX3 on the PS2).

Roc Ingersol
01-15-2007, 06:27 AM
If I'm doing a whole bunch of nothing, because it's loading crap in the background, it doesn't really matter whether I'm staring at a loading screen or walking down an empty hallway. That's still a load time.

Gears is a very impressive title. There's no need to mislead people.

Rirath
01-15-2007, 07:06 AM
Frankly, I don't think you guys have any clue how this stuff works in the background or what a challenge such a task is. It's not misleading people, and it's certainly not just some throw-in feature of the hardware.

But that's the problem, isn't it? You do something really impressive and you do it well, and everyone will simply adjust to it in the blink of an eye. People are just so jaded anymore it's not even funny.

DesignerKid
01-15-2007, 07:36 AM
Um, I work for large publisher / developer and have for several years.

We've disected the game at our office; most of us really love what they've done but in the process of looking it over it's easy to identify how they've pulled everything off (technologies, etc).

I'm not saying it's incredibly easy but it's certainly not new. Give anyone 3 - 5 years to make a game and those SHOULD be the results. Otherwise, what the fuck are you doing with all that time?

That's not being jaded.

EternalGamer
01-15-2007, 08:12 AM
So what exactly was his response to the question about the gap in the story, Bapenguin?

Roc Ingersol
01-15-2007, 08:18 AM
Frankly, I don't think you guys have any clue how this stuff works in the background or what a challenge such a task is. It's not misleading people,
I said it was impressive. But that doesn't mean that walking down an empty hallway while the game's loading is necessarily superior to looking at a loading screen.

fitbabits
01-15-2007, 08:19 AM
Nice interview, bapenguin, but I'm confused - given that you're not a professional journalist, how did you get the interview? I mean, we all know (thanks to Draft) that us reds have no contacts and no sources in the industry, so I'm left with only one explanation - YOU MADE IT UP!

bapenguin
01-15-2007, 08:49 AM
Nice interview, bapenguin, but I'm confused - given that you're not a professional journalist, how did you get the interview? I mean, we all know (thanks to Draft) that us reds have no contacts and no sources in the industry, so I'm left with only one explanation - YOU MADE IT UP!

Dang...you got me.

fitbabits
01-15-2007, 08:53 AM
Dang...you got me.
You're reputation, and that of Evil Avatar, is on the line here. I, and I'm sure many others, DEMAND you reveal your sources. Time, place, and those present at this 'interview' will suffice.

This is fun.

Philonious
01-15-2007, 09:34 AM
You're reputation, and that of Evil Avatar, is on the line here. I, and I'm sure many others, DEMAND you reveal your sources. Time, place, and those present at this 'interview' will suffice.

This is fun.

Be nice Fits.

Yeah, there was definitely missing something between between gaining access to the data and hopping on the train. Cause I didn't know about the train until they told me to get on it... The other drag was a number of the cut-scenes could have been interactive, and making them cut-scenes seems to have been a cop out. First introduction to RAAM is a great example, you could have been fighting hordes of Locusts and have to escape to the copters. As was the escape from Fenix Manor, you could have driven away instead of watching it happen. The RAAM fight was also felt out of place and tacked on... I was reminded yesterday how brilliant the ending of Halo was.

My conclusion is that despite they great job they did, Epic wash pushed to get the game out the door ASAP to counter the launch of the PS3. In the end a great decision business wise, but one I think hurt GoW and kept it from being the game is could/should have been. Hopefully this doesn't happen with the dozens of sequels they have announced.

Food Nipple
01-15-2007, 09:39 AM
I said it was impressive. But that doesn't mean that walking down an empty hallway while the game's loading is necessarily superior to looking at a loading screen.

Ok, i'll bite. Walking down an empty hallway is ALWAYS superior to looking at a loading screen. I think you're confusing pacing decisions with load times, the game emulates Halo's pacing with lots of self-contained encounters with down time for story in between. Most of these "empty hallways" have dialogue, so their purpose is greater than to just mask load times.

Bap, I think you asked some really good questions, it's too bad that it was mostly canned PR answers. I'm glad someone finally asked Cliffy what was up with the transition between Acts 4 and 5.

Roc Ingersol
01-15-2007, 09:49 AM
'bite'? wtf, is everyone assumed to be trolling here?
The meta-posting bullshit is a bit unnecessary.

I disagree that 'walking' is innately superior to 'watching'. If there's nothing to interact with, there's no point in making that sequence interactive. If there's important 'dialogue' to be delivered, it should have been contained in the cutscene that preceeded the empty hallway, or the cutscene that followed.

It doesn't bother me that there is 'down-time' where you travel from one set-piece to the next. That's fine. What specifically bothers me is the: "cutscene -> empty hallway -> cutscene" phenomenon. Down-time for pacing purposes was already established before the hallway, and reestablished afterwards. The intervening hallway is a gussied up load-time.

motor
01-15-2007, 10:04 AM
The lack of loading, while nice, isn't exacting revolutionary at this point. Lots of games have streamed in the environments, enemies, etc.

See, I would've mentioned the fact that there was no loading except for the fact that I could actually tell when it was loading and it ultimately worked against in my opinion (E.g. Walk down hallway, game pauses momentarily, prepare for an onslaught of whateverthehell they're called). I'm sure that's probably a minority opinion but it's still legit.

I think it should defintely be called out, because loading simply wrecks a game. People too often forget to tpraise it and then some idiot thinks it is not important and wrecks a game by have it full of loading screens.

Philonious
01-15-2007, 10:18 AM
I think the issue with loading is that several games have already removed it from the equation, a while it used to be a necessary evil, more and more people are coming to realize loading screens are not always necessary. It is the direction the industry is, and should be, moving. Cliffy's self-praise for lack of loading screens seems somewhat ridiculous because it is a feature that we're starting to demand/expect from games. Also, as has been pointed out, despite the lack of loading screens breaking up the flow of the game the cut-scenes and com-chat portions of the games broke up the action as effectively as a load-screen would have.

I say the lack of load screens is cool, but certainly not as cool as it was for GTAIII. Might as well be touting their use of HD graphic as revolutionary... Oh wait.

Venkman
01-15-2007, 01:17 PM
Cliffy's self-praise for lack of loading screens seems somewhat ridiculous because it is a feature that we're starting to demand/expect from games.

I disagree. With the amount of Geometry and textures and sounds they are pushing, to have no real load screens in that game is some fine work. Except when you die, but even then it is only a few seconds.

So many games still have loading screens. I just got a 360, but so far all the games I played have them except for Gears. Lost Planet, Call of Duty, Tomb Raider, Prey, Dead Rising, Oblivion, etc.

I could list others, but it doesn't make sense to say "why does a racing game have load time?" Because nobody knows what the user will pick next, I guess.

It isn't a huge deal, but it is nice that a developer put that thought into creating an uninteruppted game flow. It is just spit shine and polish and the fact that people didn't mention it is because they mainly don't notice it, because we are too busy playing or listening to the dialog.

Food Nipple
01-15-2007, 01:47 PM
I disagree that 'walking' is innately superior to 'watching'. If there's nothing to interact with, there's no point in making that sequence interactive. If there's important 'dialogue' to be delivered, it should have been contained in the cutscene that preceeded the empty hallway, or the cutscene that followed.


I diagree completely. Any kind of interactivity is inheirently superior. Look how much praise Half-Life recieved for letting you run around during cutscenes. One of the things I really liked in Gears was that the story was told in lots of little bits throughout the level rather than in big cutscenes in between levels.

You seem to be making the blanket statement that all mid-level dialogue would be better off in a cutscene at the begining or end of a level. This may be your personal preference, but this approach is in no way superior or inferior to the more continuous storytelling in Gears.

Tel Prydain
01-15-2007, 02:11 PM
I never even noticed that there were no load-screens.
That is pretty impressive.

maja
01-15-2007, 04:48 PM
No load screens is impresive in my book. Never really noticed that it didn't have any until I read this interview. Nice work Cliffy!

sol740
01-15-2007, 08:21 PM
I think the point of the empty hallway is to keep you in the game. Even if it is loading you're still thinking " Wheres the next bad-guy ? " instead of " Boooooo loading." Is it the first ... no, but I never even thought about it till now, and thats the impressive part.

Philonious
01-15-2007, 08:33 PM
Next question... Are we pro- or anti-power-cord-signaling-the-demise-of-all-enemies? Though kind of nice, it removed a lot of tension from the game.

Also, does the sniper rifle result in insta-kill on all difficulties or just the easier ones? I have to say that there is something satisfying about getting an actual headshot.

TurboKinny
01-15-2007, 08:38 PM
Next question... Are we pro- or anti-power-cord-signaling-the-demise-of-all-enemies? Though kind of nice, it removed a lot of tension from the game.

Also, does the sniper rifle result in insta-kill on all difficulties or just the easier ones? I have to say that there is something satisfying about getting an actual headshot.


I just realized I've never used the sniper rifle. Hmm. Maybe I should try that.

KamaItachi
01-15-2007, 08:45 PM
Next question... Are we pro- or anti-power-cord-signaling-the-demise-of-all-enemies? Though kind of nice, it removed a lot of tension from the game.

Also, does the sniper rifle result in insta-kill on all difficulties or just the easier ones? I have to say that there is something satisfying about getting an actual headshot.

An active reload will be an insta-kill, on anyone, but a regular shot is only 1 hit kill on enemies without helmets, at least on Hard/Insane.

Philonious
01-15-2007, 08:50 PM
I just realized I've never used the sniper rifle. Hmm. Maybe I should try that.

They usually have one lying around when a sniper rifle will come in handy so you don't really need to be toting one around... But there are a couple times where it comes in handy (Fenix Manor). For the most part I think its more useful when playing two players, because your partner is actually competent and can watch your back. Otherwise you're just leaving yourself open to be shot.

TurboKinny
01-15-2007, 08:53 PM
They usually have one lying around when a sniper rifle will come in handy so you don't really need to be toting one around... But there are a couple times where it comes in handy (Fenix Manor). For the most part I think its more useful when playing two players, because your partner is actually competent and can watch your back. Otherwise you're just leaving yourself open to be shot.

I'm usually the one watching the sniper's back. I can shoot shit, but I'm not very accurate (as several here can attest to)

Philonious
01-15-2007, 08:54 PM
An active reload will be an insta-kill, on anyone, but a regular shot is only 1 hit kill on enemies without helmets, at least on Hard/Insane.

Which brings up my next question: Is active reloading more challenging on Hard/Insane. I got that down pretty pat asap. I'm not sure what I think about the lack of body part specific hit detection. Like I said, there is something rewarding about pulling off a head shot. (Also weird that it takes 8 headshots to take out RAAM... But I have nothing but complaints about him.)

Philonious
01-15-2007, 08:56 PM
I'm usually the one watching the sniper's back. I can shoot shit, but I'm not very accurate (as several here can attest to)

Well, as we've pointed out, you don't have to be much of a shot in Gears. For better or for worse... I was a little disappointed that my patented "One Shot. One Kill." tactics were so easy to pull off. Of course I just shrugged it off and enjoyed.

KamaItachi
01-15-2007, 09:08 PM
Which brings up my next question: Is active reloading more challenging on Hard/Insane. I got that down pretty pat asap. I'm not sure what I think about the lack of body part specific hit detection. Like I said, there is something rewarding about pulling off a head shot. (Also weird that it takes 8 headshots to take out RAAM... But I have nothing but complaints about him.)

Actually I think the one hits HAVE to be headshots, I've hit with active reloads and done squat damage in the body.

Didn't notice any difference in the active reloads, but then on the step up from hard to insane you've got a lot more to worry about.

Also, fuck Raam, what a cheap bastard.

Jack B
01-15-2007, 09:34 PM
Nice interview, bapenguin, but I'm confused - given that you're not a professional journalist, how did you get the interview? I mean, we all know (thanks to Draft) that us reds have no contacts and no sources in the industry, so I'm left with only one explanation - YOU MADE IT UP!

Yeah, that's the 1st thing I thought of too... Must have been done by a real journalist, not Penguin. It's virtually impossible for any red from EvAv to have ever met in person or spoken to anyone other than normal everyday people. I wonder how they avoid you at trade shows and launch parties etc. Hmmm.

I also have been wondering how you fake the podcast's every week too... Very clever. Must be celebrity voice impersonators.... ;)

Note: Keep up the good fake work... :)

Major Dan
01-16-2007, 12:58 AM
Actually I have found a few times, after my first play through, that you can cancell a cut scene by pressing X and when you do, a loading screen come up. I have doen this twice in the scene at Fexix Manor when you first get up the hill and Cole and Baird come and tell you about the APC. I think I have seen it one other place also. But for the most part there aren't any loadind screens and I appreciate that. That hallway scene sucks after the first time IMO though.