RipTen founder Chad Lakkis is a well known Gears of War fanatic.  He famously drove over six hours to get himself the original Gears of War and his fandom has only grown since then.  As an artist, he’s been responsible for things like the Gears of War movie poster and the Maple Leaf of War, but it’s always the games themselves that he’s looked forward to messing around with the most.

Recently, Microsoft gave Chad the chance to test out Gears of War 3 – what they didn’t tell him was that he’d be locked in a room with Epic Games design director, Cliff Bleszinski.

RipTen has spoken with Cliff on several occasions and we can usually be found bothering him on twitter, but this was the first time Chad had the chance to sit down and spend some quality time with the one and only Cliffy B.

After being so impressed with the game that we gave it two Best of E3 awards – Chad had a few questions that Cliff was happy to answer:

RipTen: I liked the variety in Gears 2 overall.

Cliff B: Yeah. Variety is key.

RipTen: How does the variety in Gears 3 stack up?

Cliff B: Basically it gets back to crunchy combat bowls. There was an image that went around on the internet a while back that showed a FPS map design from 1993 of DOOM E1M1. It showed this really cool kind of porous environment that you could kind of explore around a bit, and then it showed 2010 and it was like ‘line, cut scene, line cut scene, line, cutscene, line, cutscene.’ And I feel like, you know, not to slag our old work, because we’re still proud of it, but there were sections of Gears 2 were a little more of the latter image and less of the prior image.

This is The Picture He Mentioned - Sad But True

Cliff B: Gears works when it’s the fountain fight in Gears 1, or the East Baracade Academy first fight where you go in and ‘ok what’s my strategy? I’m gonna go to the right. I found a Long Shot. I’m going to try sniping. Okay, that didn’t work. I died. Respawn, go to the left. Oh, I found a Torque Bow in the closet and I’m going to use that… and then I killed the Boomer and I got his Boomshot for the next wave of enemies.  It’s kind of a free-form crunchy combat bowl and we’re going to get back to that a lot.

So environmentally, I assure you that if you were to map out the color tone of the entire campaign across the board, you’re going to see quite a bit of variety in there, from the different types of villages you can go to.  You saw in the War Pigs Trailer, there’s actually a level that’s under water as well. So there’s lots of really cool variety in there.

RipTen: Now, when you design the weapons for Gears – what’s the thought process that goes into your weapon design? You’ve always had unique weapons implementation.

Cliff B:
Well, I think the pendulum goes back and forth between just regular ol’ guns and unique weapons. I mean, I’ve wanted to see a Digger type launcher weapon for a while right? We’re not the first company to do that also, but I think our implementation is great.  The mentality for Gears 3 is to just add more regular guns, right? That’s where the Pendulum Lancer came from. I mean, you know – different recoil rate, a different clip size, different damage, different stopping power – these are things that gun nuts just cream over.

The Pendulum or "Retro" Lancer

So, sometimes it’s okay to just have more interesting rifles that are just guns, because we have plenty of unique kind of goofy things that go on, as far as the different weapons.

RipTen: You guys are talking about this being the end of a trilogy, the last of three parts. If the fan interest is still there, considering the impact of the characters you have developed and the following they have, are you open to continuing the brand in some way?

Cliff B: Well, there’s always the Peter Jackson route, right? Do The Hobbit or something like that. I mean, we’re business people. Gears 1 and 2 sold about 6 million copies, so if this game comes out and, God willing, sells 8 or 10 million it would be completely dumb to not do another one, right? It’s just business 101.  So, I mean, the key is figuring out what’s appropriate. What makes sense for this connected world that we’re moving into?  So, that remains to be seen. That’s the million dollar question…

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Stay tuned to RipTen for more on Gears of War 3 and Cliffy B.