If I was a betting man, I would have bet on it failing, but I believe we have the experience and know-how and the dedication to pull something like that off. I feel so confident now with the sequel, the fact that we have such an established base to start with, that we're just going to knock it out of the park this time.
TE: What do you think was the real key to the success of being able to bring a new IP to a new platform?
CB: The obvious thing is that the game is freaking beautiful. It looked like nothing that anybody had ever seen. I can guarantee, at the same time, if it had been the exact same Halo-style of gameplay, people would not have been as excited about it. It was not only a beautiful game, it was also a new universe that was interesting and accessible as well.
When we talk about clichés, we're like, "Oh you have these big, bad guys as well." Yeah, but they don't look like guys with top hats and clown makeup that nobody can relate to. They look like an idealized sci-fi version of what your average teenage boy would like to be.
Then at the same time we made the game very accessible. We threw you right into the action. We didn't have cut scenes that were like 40 minutes, because players didn't want that, and we leveraged in the cover mechanics so it felt like ... yes, it was a sci-fi shooter, but at the same time, it was a new style of play. Now, in so many games you see so many cover mechanics being used, you see roadie run features, you see even buttons that lead players to new locations kind of like points of interest, etc., etc. Co-op in the single-player campaign is also becoming standard, and on and on the list goes on. I think it's very flattering to see that happen, and we want to take it to the next level.
TE: We talked briefly - it may have been at an airport - about the supposed lack of innovation in Gears of War that other games have gone on to copy. How does that make you feel? And do you think Gears of War 2 is going to introduce anything similar in that respect?
CB: The fact that other games have taken a lot of the features that are in Gears I think is just wonderful. Back in the day, when we did Unreal Tournament and Double Kill and Headshot and all of that suddenly started appearing in other games, that was cool. I'm all for it. I want to see other games take what we started and run with it. Hell, we weren't even the first ones to do the cover mechanic. ... Winback, and Killswitch did it, and we took it and perfected it with the new universe.
We're going to take what we learned and continue to deliver hands down the best cover system that you've seen in the business. It's flawless, it's seamless and it plays like a freaking dream, and there's going to be a lot of surprises in there that people are suddenly going to start sitting up and taking notice. Play the game, rip it off, we don't care. As long as you license our engine.
TE: What's your favorite game that you've worked on, hands down?
CB: Gears. Gears of War. And I'm still nostalgic for the first Unreal Tournament. I think there's a certain lightning in a bottle that we had there that was phenomenal. I'll always like Jazz [Jackrabbit], too.