Thursday’s announcement of a new Gears of War was what could fairly be called an Internet-pointing-at-the-moon moment. There’s going to be a new entry in one of the best-selling franchises of the past six years! Epic Games will discuss it at E3 and Game Informer, one of the best-circulated publications in the U.S. partnered with one of the top three video game retailers in that country, will have exclusive details about the game on Monday following its reveal at Microsoft’s E3 press conference.
Well, yeah. Had you approached a betting man on Monday claiming this as a hypothetical situation, he likely would not have bet against it happening. Occam’s Razor applies: The most likely scenario is that Epic will make another Gears game on Xbox. Such a game would make the companies involved money dollars. Or, put another way: Doy.
What is surprising though is that it will not be one of the teams at Epic’s home base in North Carolina putting out this latest Gears. People Can Fly, the intrepid Polish studio behind Bulletstorm, will be slinging the Lancers at this rodeo.
Epic Games’ president Mike Capps let the proverbial cat out of the bag on Twitter on Friday, responding to inquires of, “Do I detect People Can Fly involvement?” with an emphatic, “YES YES YES!” Later, Eurogamer reported that People Can Fly’s creative director Adrian Chmlelarz Tweeted, “I detect Epic PR team’s heart attack.” That Tweet was promptly removed.
People Can Fly’s involvement in Gears of War is exciting first because it means that the studio is healthy and surviving. Capps confirmed in April at the PAX East Conference that Bulletstorm 2 had been cancelled after the first game didn’t meet publisher Electronic Arts’ sales expectations in 2011. “We had thought a lot about a sequel, and had done some initial development on it, but we found a project that we thought was a better fit for People Can Fly,” said the executive.
Gears of War is a series overdue for some fresh ideas. While the three Xbox 360 games in the series have only increased in quality, they’ve all been built around the same fundamental base of pleasantly leaden cover-based shooting. A fourth game using the same foundation with a new story simply wouldn’t be enough. People Can Fly’s style, as evidenced by Painkiller and Bulletstorm, is defined by faster, more kinetic action than what’s seen in the Gears series, not to mention a stronger sense of humor. Fingers crossed that there involvement means that the studio’s distinct perspective will be define this new game.
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