At the time of its release, Gears of War was arguably the most technically impressive game ever created. Its production values are as high as the very best games have managed, before or since. The developers even managed to distinguish it from the pack, deciding that desaturation controls were put in Photoshop for a reason, and they're bloody well going to use them. So, what's the problem?
The company that brought you Unreal, Gears of War and Cliffy B.
Sweeney is Epic's founder and CEO, and in many ways he is the company's Willy Wonka. There are stories of brilliant people locking their doors for months on end and emerging with never-before-seen wonders. Sweeney is one of those people. Much of the Unreal Engine's technology can be traced back directly to him, tinkering away in his office.
I sat down with Cliff Bleszinski in his action figure-adorned office, where he talked about how awesome the new Gears installment will be, the difficulties involved with being one of the last of the rock star designers, the movie Poltergeist, how many developers have ripped him off, why some online gamers are dicks, the importance of not playing games from time to time and his dog. I also tried to make him cry.
The Escapist travels to Epic HQ and captures some of the company's verve in this pictorial.
Sure, we watched a metric ton of cubed meat jostle rhythmically to the beat of a few shotgun blasts and gazed in awe at Cliff Bleszinski's pneumatic pelvic thrusts, but aside from the welcome addition of being able to lock chainsaws with your opponents in a kind of homoerotic lumberjack tango, new information about Gears 2 has been sparse. Nothing is accidental when multimillion dollar franchises are involved, however. When you're developing the biggest 360-exclusive title of the year, you don't ride the wave of hype - you create it.