Interview: How People Can Fly is shaking up Gears of War's multiplayer

By Steve Watts, Dec 12, 2012 1:15pm PST

Gears of War: Judgment's multiplayer owes quite a bit to the recent acquisition of Polish developer People Can Fly. Epic Games and PCF are partnering on the game, and the new blood paved the way for OverRun, the standout mode of the new game.

"They initially set up OverRun and it was so good we put more resources into it here at Epic to make it even better," senior producer Chris Wynn told Shacknews. "At first it was literally just mashing [Beast and Horde mode] together. We thought about the structure which was two alley, into a funnel. So from there that's when it started to flesh itself out."

The concept of Beast vs Horde then naturally led the team to introduce a class system to the COG faction. "When we were balancing Beast Mode in Gears of War 3, we talked in a way that was class-based," Wynn said. "So those Locust abilities sort of tailored themselves around that. We had the Kantiss that was a healer, so okay, we need a healer on the COG side. We need someone who can control the battlefield, so we need a Scout. We had four characters so it fit perfectly to just slot them right in."

I noted that the COGs seemed more powerful than the Locust, to offset the naturally defensive position of the game mode, but Wynn pointed out that doesn't mean they'll be able to withstand punishment with ease. "We assume you'll die more as a COG. There's going to be massive attacks of Locusts and not necessarily massive defenses of COGs," he explained. "So we have to make sure that maybe two to three COG have a chance against five Locust before their buddies come support them."

The other new mode, free-for-all, was born out of the community itself. Wynn said that people were making their own FFA matches by setting King of the Hill with friendly fire on. "So because people were doing that, let's just give them what they want. We just embraced what it was. It's pretty chaotic, so instead of forcing it to be different we just embraced what people want."

And on that note, Wynn revealed that the downloadable content for the game will similarly follow the community's lead. "There's plenty of stuff we had to cut out for various reasons because we couldn't get it working quite right that we'll revisit. I think we had some pretty good ideas of some other things that were specifically targeting the community. We'll be starting to talk about DLC pretty soon, we just haven’t gotten the chance to talk about it."

As for the involvement from People Can Fly, Epic seems positive on how the teams are working together. "We really try to treat it as one big team as opposed to an Epic team and a People Can Fly team. The second you do that, you put a wall up, and that causes dysfunction. 'Oh, it's their fault, throw it over to them, it's their job to fix it.' We've made a lot of effort to make sure that doesn't happen."

Whatever the teams are doing to ensure cooperation, it seems to be working. The OverRun mode was a hit during my play time, and sure to be a hit in the community as well. Check out our multiplayer preview for more details.

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