Field trip. Everybody loves a field trip. Pack a sack lunch, get your permission slip signed, cram onto the bus, "A"s in the front, "Z"s in the back and don't forget your sweater. Nobody cares where we're going, we're on the road. It's good enough just to get out of the school/house/office.

A few weeks ago, The Escapist took a field trip. Our permission slips had "NDA" and "Microsoft" printed on them, our sack lunches came from Chick-fil-a and our sweaters ... we left those at home. Where's Mom when you need her? Notepads, voice recorders and cameras in-hand, we packed into the van and headed out to Epic, the Cary, North Carolina, studio that brought you Gears of War and Cliff Bleszinski. We'd be looking at both.

Epic was kind enough to open their doors wide to us. No room was off limits, no executive too busy to sit for an interview. We took the whole tour, saw a studio more extravagant and state-of-the-art than we imagined and talked to the people who've been making PC and now console game history since 1991.

This week, in Issue 149 of The Escapist, "Epic," Jordan Deam spills the beans on Gears of War 2, with exclusive access to a secret meeting of the game's developers; Joe Blancato speaks to Epic founder Tim Sweeney and current president Mike Capps; Kieron Gillen explains why being hyper macho is a good thing; and I spend some time with Cliff Bleszinski, in an exclusive interview.

All that, plus a first for The Escapist, a feature length photo essay composed of pictures from our trip. And, in another first, a short film documenting the event. You can also read the interview that was too massive to make it into the issue this week, my exclusive interview with the producer of Gears of War 2, Rod Fergusson, from yesterday's Daily.

It's an exclusive, in-depth expose of one of the biggest developers around, and you'll only find it at The Escapist. Beats the hell out of the Natural History Museum.

Russ Pitts

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