SDCC 2015: Gears of War Ultimate Edition Panel
At San Diego Comic Con 2015, Gears of War fans had many ways of increasing their hype for the upcoming release of the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (GoW: UE). There was a GoW: UE hands-on for attendees at the Xbox Lounge and a panel followed by a poster signing with Rod Fergusson Fergusson and key Coalition members. Fans at the panel got to hear about GoW: UE straight from the leads at Coalition and had the chance to ask some questions themselves. One big announcement came before the fan Q & A. Starting August 25 2015, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will be packaged with every base Xbox One console purchased until the end of the year.
RFMag attended the panel as well to give you the cut and dry on what was talked about including the fan Q and A for your listening (or reading) pleasure.
Panel Members (from left to right):
John Dimaggio – Voice of Marcus Fenix
Rod Fergusson Fergusson – Co-creator, Studio Head
Peder Skude – Lead Designer
Kyle Gaulin – Cinematics Director
Bonnie Jean Mah – Narrative Producer
John Dimaggio moderated the panel and started it off with the base question:
How do you modernize a classic? When you knew you were going to reboot it [Gears of War], what did you guys do?
The first thing to do was to figure out what to change, if we were going to change anything. We knew we were going to rebuild everything from the ground up…How do you manage nostalgia? The game is 10 years old now. And people have a really fond memory of Gears of War 1, so how do you remaster that?
Rod Fergusson continued on about nostalgia for Gears of War 1 and about how it really may not be what you remember it to be if you were to revisit it. So the Coalition had to make decisions as to where they wanted to actually modernize the game. It had to go further than just retouching textures and colors. All of the cinematics were remade beyond just the graphics as they again performed the motion-captures for the rebuilding of those scenes. The redone scenes were also intended to fill any gaps that were in the original Xbox 360 version.
How did the resonator just appear on Cole’s back when he met up with Baird? Where did the knife that Raam stabbed Kim with come from? These scenes addressed nuances like these to make cinematics as sensible as they are beautiful. In the content department, every cog you pick up through the campaign will open up a page in a gears comic book that you’ll be able to build and read in the game.
Rod Fergusson and the Coalition recognizes that the campaign is where the nostalgia lives, but understand that the multiplayer needed its own modernization as well. After 10 years, they have the task of taking the 10-years-old Gears of War 1 and making its gameplay feel “current” without stretching too far away from a traditional Gears of War 1 game. So anticipate tweaks like being able to weapon toggle while roadie running, or being able to hold down on “X” before passing over a gun to pick it up instead of having to wait until the option appeared on screen.
They had to resist many urges to change to much. An example of something that was intentionally left out was the popular Hoard mode. Hoard mode made sense in Gears of War 2 and beyond thanks to the new bevy of characters, enemies and features that were introduced in those games. A Horde mode using the Gears of War 1 limited roster of enemies would be an experience that would grow stale fast. If you’re looking for more changes, we have more confirmed tweaks mentioned in our E3 coverage here.