Jumping Gears of War 4's setting 25 years into the future and choosing to follow Marcus Fenix's son instead of the big man wasn't just some idea The Coalition popped out to get the day done, says studio head Rod Fergusson. Instead, it was the result of carefully thinking how best to progress the series.
You can check out what we think of the new game in our preview but for now let's hear what Rod has to say about the Gears Of War 4s you could have won...
"A prequel wasn’t the right answer," explains Fergusson straight away. "Anything before Gears 1 is completely human on human and Gears of War is a monster game. If you don’t have a monster, I don’t think you have Gears, and so that made no sense." Then there was the small problem of established canon: "Eventually we hit our head against the beginning of Gears 1, where we have to put Marcus in the jail."
Simply carrying on the series was what Fergusson laughingly calls "the easy way" - a straightforward continuation: "'It’s Delta Squad against Locust. You didn’t get them all, they’re back, it’s six months after Gears 3, aaaand go’. That would have been so much easier. You would not believe how much easier that would have been. [Laughs.]" Easier, maybe, but familiar. "We thought people are going to get tired and we’d be beating this horse," he explains.
Next up on the ideas list came the reboot. Fergusson says the team talked about it but that it "[felt] disrespectful for The Coalition to get this franchise and then decide to tell our own version of it." A slightly softer version of a full reboot would have seen a game set on a completely different planet but that similarly felt wrong. "If we go to an alternate planet then we’re losing a touchstone that allows you to revisit the past and remember some of the stuff you’ve done before. We'd have a new cast, we have new creatures."
Using new faces did resonate though and seeded the idea of adding a little time on the clock to "create a new cast through the next generation." That, for Fergusson, was "the right way," giving The Coalition enough room for a fresh take but with enough familiarity to please old and new fans alike.
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