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Cliff Bleszinski: The Escapist Interview

Russ Pitts | 13 May 2008 20:15
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TE: Compared to where you were at this point in the development cycle for Gears 1, how do you feel about where you're at?

CB: I feel really good. It's a tremendously deeper, darker game. It's bigger - the whole pitch about "more badass" ... I think is completely true. Since we had that base game to start off with, we could just layer on top of that. We're no longer saying, "Should we do cover?" or "How's that chainsaw going to work?" Now we're like "What new ways can we use the chainsaw?" or "How can we make that cover mechanic that much better?" ... Feels good. Feels really good.

TE: Does it get stale for you at any point? In a way it's like working on a licensed game.

CB: It's our IP, though, and if we want to have some wiggle room ... we'd be like, "Hey let's do a monster that does this or have a character that does that." That comes from us.

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It'll be a cold day in hell before I would ever do a licensed IP. I believe the most creative minds in any entertainment are in this business, and I think we need to lead the way by creating new and original intellectual property.

TE: So, looking back - Jazz Jackrabbit days - put yourself there seeing yourself here now. (This is the "Barbara Walters/I'm going to try to make you cry moment.") Is this everything you imagined and more?

CB: It's not, because I'm not done yet. We're just getting started, and I think the world is just starting to catch on to how cool games are.

I think you have an entire generation of gamers that are hitting 30, 32, 33 ... they have kids, those kids are being raised with games. I want to know what games are going to look like when those kids are grown up and they're like 15 and 16.

I think it's only going to get cooler when you look at some of the innovations that are happening with AI, with animation, with mind control with video games, how displays are getting nicer. Everything is converging into this amazing pot of innovation, and I want to be around for it. I want to see where it goes. I want to see this medium become the dominant entertainment form of the next hundred years.

TE: You were talking a lot last year about your favorite games of the year. You had a lot to say about BioShock. How does the success of that type of game inform what you guys do?

CB: I think when you look at a game like BioShock, gamers aren't stupid, and gamers will call out designers on any BS that they pull or anything that assumes the audience is stupid. Your average gamer, I believe, is smarter than the average film-going customer, and you need to understand and respect that. I think coming off of BioShock, with BioShock selling over 2 million copies, there's definitely an audience for games that, while it's a shooter, it's a shooter that tackles deeper themes.

I think gamers are more mature, and I think they're ready for games like that. Look at GTA4 coming out this week and the amount of mature elements in that. It basically plays out like a great Scorsese crime drama that lasts 36-plus hours, and that's where it's going. I think players want something like that. We're giving them a deeper, darker story this time around as a result.

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