Making new Gears of War 'refreshing' after departure of former Epic leads

Gears of War: Judgment is a "first" for the franchise in many ways. It is the first prequel, and the first game in the series to come from Epic subsidiary People Can Fly. It's also the first game to release after the high-profile departures of many key Epic employees--an opportunity to change things up for the franchise.

"It feels to me like [People Can Fly] brought fresh blood, fresh perspective, and progressive evolution," producer Alan Van Slyke told us. "They're familiar with the Gears franchise but they're fresh to Judgment."

The franchise is one of Epic's most iconic brands, and it started its life on the Xbox 360. This is very likely the last Gears game on this hardware. So, is it bittersweet saying goodbye to the hardware? "It was actually a lot harder for me to finish Gears 3," Epic's Jim Brown told us. "Because that was 10 years of my life, this huge story arc, building all this stuff and seeing this story end, was hard emotionally. A lot of that stuff was Rod [Fergusson] and Cliff's [Bleszinski] and Lee's [Perry] and all of our lives. In a way it's kind of refreshing to come back fresh from a new perspective and get new stuff in. Where we go from here, it's a huge universe and we could do anything."

"It's such a huge, rich universe," Brown continued. "Especially doing a prequel, setting it where and when it is in our timeline has given us the opportunity to explore a little more of that and tell the stories that people have been asking us for. I don't think it was ever just about Marcus. The universe is what the universe is, there’s a lot to it." Brown even suggested that, just as Baird and Cole are getting their own game after being secondary to Marcus and Dom, the new characters of Sofia and Paduk could eventually find similar success.

For more detail on how the series' first spin-off is finding its own identity, check out our single-player preview.