Gears Of War 3's Designer On Betas, Bugs, Cheerleader Outfits

Gears of War design director Cliff Bleszinski wants you to play his game's upcoming beta, not only to extract a "metric fuckton of data" from your playing time, but for you to upload whatever bugs you see to YouTube.

Bleszinski, who says the April-due Gears of War 3 beta is as much about weapon and map balancing as it is about generating "hype", is an opportunity to squash bugs, publicly if need be.

"I want people uploading their bugs to YouTube," Bleszinski says. "When the game's released and that happens, it kind of breaks your heart. But now I want that to happen. In hindsight, we should have had a beta for Gears of War 2. That would've prevented a lot of the rocky online start, which I think really hindered the online success of the game."

Gears 3's beta, which is estimated to last "at least two to three weeks" when it launches this spring, is an opportunity for players to unlock virtual goods in the retail release, due in September for the Xbox 360. Gold-coloured weapons and a special Thrashball uniform, Epic Games hopes, will motivate Gears of War fans to partake in the beta.

"It's all cosmetic - but cosmetic is powerful," Bleszinski says of the unlockable virtual items, which also include a "Flaming Fucking Lancer" gun for those who own Bullestorm. "People in the real world, they look at what shoes you're wearing, what shirt you're wearing... Thrashball Cole, that's a very cool model, once you see him running around, you're going to feel bad that you weren't able to get into the beta and unlock that character."

I asked Bleszinski whether a virtual goods model, the actual purchase of cosmetic items - a very profitable endeavour for game makers like Valve who sells hats and accessories for Team Fortress 2 - is something Epic Games is pursuing for Gears of War.

"It's kind of amazing that Valve can do that," he said. "Normally when you talk about microtransactions and what gamers perceive as nickel and diming, and then Valve - who I absolutely adore - that they can 'get away with it', that says something about the current state of a gamer's mind on buying virtual goods."

"We may experiment with it. We're still feeling it out as far as what we can do."

One item you won't ever see in Gears of War 3 is a piece of content suggested by one games media member, a Thrashball cheerleader outfit for female COG Anya, newly playable (and chainsawable) in the next entry. Bleszinski says that's out of the question.

"I have an overall riding mantra for Epic of making sure that female characters are treated well and respected in regards to the fiction," Bleszinski said. "It's kind of ironic considering that our guys are so big and 'Grrrr!' - almost caricatures of men - that the women aren't."

Asked about the component of Gears of War 3's multiplayer that he's most proud of, it's a simple one: Team Deathmatch. Epic's implementation of that largely standard mode, in part inspired by dodgeball scoring, flips the scorekeeping rules on its head. It's a gameplay mode Bleszinski says Epic "resisted" for a long time, but is now a "light meta-class" experience that keeps drawing him back.

Finally, we asked about the promised "new Gears of War gameplay" that was originally set to debut on the Spike TV Video Game Awards, a premiere that was pulled at the 11th hour. Cliff calls that "whole debacle" a "tricky subject."

"At any given point we have multiple irons in the fire and we were about to announce some cool stuff, but it was decided it wasn't the right time for it at the last minute," he explained, chalking it up to an executive decision. "Whether or not that ever sees the light of day… it could turn into something else... who knows?"

"That unannounced thing, who knows what it will ultimately become."


    Only 2-3 weeks, I should hope its longer than that :(

    Bleszinski's a knob. The more and more he opens his mouth and spews out useless crap onto the internet that will be archived for all eternity puts me off buying any of Epic's games. I'm seriously considering not buying Gears of War 3 because of him. What's next Belszinski? A Kinect game that involves an initiation ceremony for a fraternity centered around paddling eachother's butts? I bet you'd be collecting a "mega fuckton" of data for that Beta test.

      I don't understand why you're complaining about at all. The fact he's actually honest with customers and willing to listen to what they have to say and deal with the problems they find? Wow, what a terrible designer, games are so much better when they're made in a sealed room with no feedback from the outside world, look how perfect and polished GT5 was at launch...

    Bleszinski’ have to keep in mind that Gears 2 was the biggest disappointment ever.. The on-line game play was and still is horrible... if epic dont bring it back to the way the game originally was (GEARS 1) its going to be a big!!! fall...
    and the beta for 3 weeks only ,,?? thats bull shit... I spend $63 on BullshitStorm just to play the Beta....GEARS 1 is what made EPIC give us back the game we love...

      1. I found Gears 2 to be a MUCH better experience than Gears 1, in nearly every shape and form. And really, even if you disagree with me, a solid sequel being the biggest disappointment ever is a bit of a stretch.

      2. Seriously, if you've bought an entire game ONLY for a beta, then you've only got yourself to blame. Odds are they'll expand the beta out anyway.

      3. Gears 1 is what made Epic? Have you never heard of a game called Unreal Tournament?

        I agree that GOW2 multi was more polished than the first but the matchmaking was, and still is, the largest pile a shit I have ever had the mispleasure of smelling!
        I can come home after a gutfull of piss and have nothing more on my mind than pissing of a few yanks with contant beat downs and curb stomps, fall asleep, dream of my brutal yank skull crushing, wake up a few hours later and still be searching for a game (ranked of course).
        I know if you have a party that is somewhat diminished but sometimes you do find yourself online alone.
        I know there are lobbies out there Cliffy, so LET ME FUCKING JOIN THEM!

      The only thing about Gears2 that was disappointing was the MP, and even that had redeeming points like the very excellent horde mode. Other than that Gears 2 was one of the best sequels ever imo and improved on the first game in every way.

        is this guy for real.....?? the only thing that matters after finishing the story mode is the fucking MP you dum shit head....MP its what keeps the game alive.... why you dont see no one playing gears 2 ...?? cause it suckss... and we still play gears 1...till this day shit head...

    well its obvious you are not a gears fan, -->Unreal Tournament<-- was another first shooter lump of shit...and it came out after Gears 1...

    and if you say that gears 2 its better than one you havent been looking at the stats of game play..,, till this day gears 1 is play more ....on-line.. than gears 2.. have you sto to wander why/..? im not talking about story-mode..
    and WE CAN PLAY ANY DAY.. we will spank you ..
    Gears 1 is been play more than gears 2 and Unreal Tournament put together.... a five year old game.. picture tha shit...

    Gears 2 did suck, which is why I'm remaining optimistic about this one UNTIL I ACTUALLY PLAY THE GAME (something you should be doing too).

    I'd love to be able to enjoy a Gears game again like I did Gears 1.
    And the fact that Epic have acknowledged the fact that Gears 2 had so many issues makes me hopeful that at the very least, Gears 3 will be a better game than Gears 2. Thus not worthy of hate from the fanbase just yet.

    Have you never heard of a game called Unreal Tournament.... yes it was another lump of shit...

    Gears2 was made for the masses (eg; easy) and Gears3 will be made to gain an even greater player base (eg; easier), including more female gamers.

    I agree that Gears1 was well crafted, but Gears2, while easier, was still a fun romp. Both my wife and I play Gears2, even though she's terrible at it. The whole infinite roadie run thing in Gears2 just gave me a WTF moment.

    Thank God Q3A is still the king!

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