Saying that "high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC," Bleszinski noted piracy and the challenge of designing games for open systems as two reasons why Epic will not be porting Gears of War 2 to the PC. The sequel is set for an exclusive Xbox 360 release on November 7. nopeMany longtime fans of both Epic and the PC platform were angered by the comments. During an interview with Bleszinski at a recent Gears of War 2 event, I posed a few questions to the designer on the subject.
What did Bleszinski have to say in response to fans?
Shack: When you made the decision to not port Gears 2 to the PC, were you basing that decision mostly on the performance of Gears 1 PC, or the platform in general?
Cliff Bleszinski: Look, we put a lot of work into Gears PC. There was basically a whole new act in there. And we thought that that section was a very well done section of game, filled in some plot points that might have been missing from the first game to be perfectly honest.
But we just believe that collectively we can laser-focus this franchise, keep it on console, and it will be stronger as a result. I mean it's just plain and simple. It's not that I don't like the PC, but we want to make an Xbox 360 game that kicks ass, plain and simple.
Shack: I know you mentioned piracy as one of the primary reasons behind the decision, but I'm wondering if you've considered any others. Do you think the idea that many of the potential PC customers had already purchased the 360 version a year prior had anything to do with it?
Cliff Bleszinski: That could be a potential factor, but it's a very complicated formula. And honestly in regards to strategy and platform strategy, I'm the guy that sits around and says, you know, "Let's make a gun with a chainsaw on it." It's not my call.
And because I'm the one that's doing all the interviews, suddenly everyone's assuming that I'm the one that makes that call. It's like, alright, I'm going to make the best game I can with the talented people I work with, and it's up to the powers that be to decide where it winds up.
Shack: So you wouldn't say that your attitude toward the PC applies to Epic's ventures down the road?
Cliff Bleszinski: Too early to comment on future products.
Shack: What would you say to fans that claim you've abandoned your roots by not doing a PC port of Gears 2?
Cliff Bleszinski: We're a business and we're going where the market is. There's a hundred guys at work, a number of which have wives and kids, and there's a certain amount of responsibility to make sure that they can afford their Pedialyte and their Enfamil. And you know, we're a business, and it makes sense for Gears to keep it on the 360 and have Microsoft market the hell out of it and make the best game that we can.
I'll always love the PC. That's where our roots are, but, you know, companies evolve and their strategies sometimes shift, and that's an unfortunate reality of business.
Shack: Do you think that fans don't consider the business end of the equation often enough?
Cliff Bleszinski: Well, people are passionate. People care about their platform. I mean you witnessed this with the PlayStation 3 versus Xbox 360 arguments, because people vote with their dollars.
You know, a lot of people were very upset about my comment, and make no mistake, I find it very upsetting to read it. But it is what it is, man. Gears of War is a console franchise first and foremost.