Gears of War Judgement Writers Interview With Tom Bissell and Rob Auten
Developer Epic Games / People Can Fly
Platform Xbox 360
Release Date 22nd March 2013
Below is a interview with the writers from Gears of War Judgement Tom Bissell and Rob Auten. This is a interview that was sent from Microsoft not one we carried out ourselves, but we still think you might be interested in reading it.
Q. How did you go about crafting the story for Judgment?
A. We had the pleasure of coming in at the conceptualisation point. We knew it was going to be a Gears game set prior to the events of the first game. That was kind of all we had. We talked
about a lot of different ways of doing it, including short stories with interconnected chapters. At one point the randomization was going to play a larger role than proved technically possible.
Every time someone speaks in the game we had three or four versions of what they might say. We essentially wrote four scripts for one game. A lot of that survived, but the degree of randomization that we intended just couldn’t be implemented. There’s what we wanted to do, and then there’s what’s possible in this generation of games, what would fit on the disc. Writing four scripts for one game and having dialogue be randomized yet still make sense no matter how it comes out – that was a real brain twister. At the same time, the various secondary plot lines that weave in and out are there for the player to discover on his or her own was a hugely exciting part of writing the game. I don’t think a Gears game has done that yet.
Q. How collaborative is the writing process for a game like Gears of War: Judgment?
A. We both have separate paths and a long-term interest in games, coming together and then having the opportunity to work on a project like this was unlike anything I’d ever worked on before. We came in at the point of conception, really – which in itself is rare and awesome.
A lot of game writers like to say, ‘I wish I could have been part of the team early on.’ We not only were part of the team early, we also stayed part of the team. We spent a good part of the last year and a half coming out here [in Raleigh] — basically living here — cranking things out and staying until impossibly late in the morning, playing the game over and over again. Taking notes and sharing those notes with the team. Doing all we could to take an iterative and almost naggy approach to the storytelling aspect.
We did that with the full support of everybody on board. They were so cool in embracing our nerdiness and letting us really go, ‘Can we work on some of the street signs? Can we work on some of the store names?’ It’s been a really magical process.
Q. Was it difficult to write a prequel for such a popular/established franchise?
A. We got lucky on this one, because it’s telling a story with a slightly smaller scope. Baird and Kilo Squad aren’t saving the entire planet. There’s a limited thing they need to do. They want to kill
[primary Locust villain] Karn, they need the tools to do the job, and they want to not die. That gives us more time to have the characters talk and react to each other.
Q. What made you tell the story from Baird’s perspective?
A. We came to the table with pretty much a blank slate. There was some data that the guys had collected and some ideas bandied about. Ultimately we liked Baird, the team at Epic loved Baird and so did the fans. Then next stage was talking about a time and place. I think it was about finding a moment in the franchise history. Something where people would know, something they’d want to see and hadn’t already been covered in the comic books. Considering how many comics and books there are, it was actually hard to find a place that hadn’t been featured.
We conducted research and liked E-day, but the thing about literal E-day is that neither Baird nor Cole would have been soldiers as they enlisted afterwards. They were both living their own independent lives. Click forward a little bit and we found some moments in one of the books about the fall of Halvo Bay.
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