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Casual Gaming Doesn't Scare CliffyB

| 29 Sep 2008 18:40
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Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski says he doesn't feel threatened by Microsoft's new emphasis on casual gaming for the Xbox 360, despite Epic's reputation for "chainsaws and blood" in its games.

Microsoft announced a new advertising campaign focusing on "family, children and movies" last week, according to a report by GamesIndustry. "With the single largest investment to date, we're speaking to consumers through a fully integrated consumer marketing campaign aimed at reaching the casual and social segments," said Stephen McGill, head of Xbox gaming in the U.K. "It's an exciting time for consumers to experience the entertaining word of Xbox 360, and this campaign will embrace product experiences for all interests which celebrate people and tap into how consumers feel to create an emotional engagement with new audiences."

It's a position Cliff "Please Stop Calling Me CliffyB" Bleszinski says he understands. "Microsoft currently has to walk that line right now where they're selling a game that's a bit more hardcore like a Gears while trying to expand the installed base in regards to casual gamers," he explained, adding that while some developers feel "threatened" by the rapid growth of casual gaming, Epic is pleased to see it happening. "We say anybody playing videogames in our opinion is a very, very good thing," he said.

He also implied that despite the obvious hardcore styling of Gears of War 2, the game's design has been softened somewhat to broaden its appeal. "Thankfully I'm in a position where I'm just trying to make the best game possible, but at the same time make sure that Casual [difficulty] is truly, truly easy, as well as having a little bit of heart in the story with a game that, yes, it's about monsters, yes, it's about chainsaws and blood, but it's also about a guy who's looking for his wife," Bleszinski said.

"There's still a fair amount of jock, fratboy, macho bullshit in the game - I'm not going to lie," he continued. "But at the same time, there's a little bit more personal elements in there, and some of the themes in the game with loss, retribution and the sadness of war, I think they're coming through a lot more in this game."

Gears of War 2 is currently in development for the Xbox 360 and is slated for launch on November 7.

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