Generation: Gamerz What?s New in Gears of War 2?

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SuperGuido may no longer work at Generation: Gamerz, but he still plays well with others.  In this case, he has decided to share information for GC in Leipzig, Germany.


I sat in the keynote today by Michael Capps from Epic Games talking about the making of Gears of War 2. No, he didn’t spill the beans...well not a lot of them anyway. But he did talk all about what’s changed with Epic’s "New, Better, More" approach to the game’s development.

Epic went a different route than traditional FPS sequels. They are focusing on the fun-per-minute aspect instead of more guns, more levels. Michael Cass was the first to say that Gears of War was totally plot-light and that the sequel will change that with more plot and more character development along the way.

But the development started by taking a look at 16 key systems in the game and then determining the strong and weak and fixing both. Well fixing the weak and improving the strong. Systems he specifically mentioned were AI, the Cover system, Multiplayer, Coop, technology and gameplay.

In regards to technology a lot of the improvements are on the Xbox Live side of things with stats, partnering and a whole slew of other things getting the once over and being beefed up in the background. Nothing that I can really talk about at present as there’s just not all that much to tell.

Now he did say that this game will be MASSIVE WAR and that the Locust Horde is called a horde for a reason that will be seen in this game with literally 100s of enemies on-screen simultaneously in parts.

The environment is destructible as well and that cement pillar you’re using as cover at the moment isn’t going to last long from Reaver attack or Boomers so you might think about fighting or moving. This sounds like a fantastic aspect of the game and was always an unbelievable part in most FPS where you could stand behind a wooden wall indefinitely and not get shot. Well now your time in cover is limited, so make the best of it.

They also realized that co-op vehicles were cool and so you can expect much more of them including what he called the "monster truck with a tank on top" where one player shoots while the other drives...ahh yes, monster trucks. He also mentioned that other vehicles would be available to drive as well including...the Reavers. So one player will fly and the other will man the rocket launcher! Hoo-Ha!

On the co-op side of things they also worked to improve drop-in and drop-out and make it less dependent on the beginning and ending of chapters as it was in the first title. That means if you’re playing and get caught in some heavy fire you can just dial up a friend and have them jump in to save your butt.

They also implemented individual difficulty level for each player in co-op so the wife or girlfriend doesn’t need to run for cover only coming out to heal you when you get in trouble.

He said they are also working to expand the save slots so you can run through the game with your brother, girlfriend, father, work colleague and more and save them all along the way.

Michael stated that they worked hard to create more asymmetry in the co-op play so there will be a lot of "you take the high road I’ll take the low" or "you go left I’ll go right" areas where each experience will be different to make for some replayability. This includes more flanking paths in the game as well.

On the Multiplayer edge they sharpened up the AI Bot support so you can go into battle and not be dragged by or drag your bots around with you. They also are implemmenting some new gameplay options including Wingman - 2-man team deathmatch against other 2-man teams, Submission - Locusts take hostages, you shoot locusts, hostage shoots at you (he’s a political dissident) and 5 vs. 5 play. They are improving the matchmaking as well so to even out games and are implementing a Horde mode which is basically wave upon wave of Locust coming at you and your pals with no where to go and limited ammo.

On the gameplay side they also are working on chainsaw duels and he talked more about the dynamic cover. The hostage is one new form of cover. You can wound an enemy and then pick them up and use them as mobile cover. There is a Rockworm that moves and you can hide behind as it works its way through the area and the Boomshield. The boomshield can be used as a regular shield or stuck into the ground to become stationary cover allowing you to switch weapons etc.

Michael also talked about the ’down-but-not-out’ facet of the game where you might get your legs taken out but still be able to crawl around shooting, heal yourself or make it to your friends who can heal you. With that comes better friendly AI, which is funny in his demo because his AI ran away, unfortunately right off the edge of the building...better? maybe. Smarter? Definitely...he was smart enough to run away when things got really bad.

He stated they added on new finishing moves and one in particular that he called the Golf club Kill which one can imagine without description I’m sure and before getting into a demo of the game itself he said

MORE LADDERS! The thing was it [the ladder scene] got finished a month before release of the first title and they just didn’t have time to implement more. So now they did and there are more ladder usage areas.

I nabbed some videos from his demo and I apologize for the quality but it was a handheld camera and he was rather funny so there’s some bouncing as I tried to not laugh...

I hope you enjoy...they took a lot of time to beef up the look and feel of the game as well and he showed us the difference between environments in GoW and GoW2 and I have to say it’s a huge improvement and they certainly look more realistic.

He wouldn’t give us any juicy tidbits aside from chainsaw duels and the monster trucks which I’m not sure I fully believe but I can see how it would work...a turret on a 4x4 truck chassis could be a useful weapon when a thousand Locust are bearing down on you.

In : PC

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