Epic Games' Chris Perna: Gears of War: Judgment the 'best looking so far'
The video game industry is cluttered with clones. All you really need to do is look at Facebook's game section for proof. Ripping off the clever ideas of others is a big part of the gaming industry, and even some of the biggest franchises, like Gears of War, have fallen victim to copycats.
"When Gears came out it was fresh, it was dark. That’s what it’s meant to be, right? No apologies there. It was a brutal game – it was meant to be," explained Epic Games art director Chris Perna. "Then everybody copied us and copied our look, and the market was flooded with Gears clones, which hurts the original.”
Tecmo Koei's Quantum Theory is the first to come to mind, but there have been many more. To adapt to these clones, Epic Games has had to evolve the Gears franchise; though, I would argue that's not necessarily a bad thing. Whether fair or not, copycats tend to push the original minds to think even more outside the box. For Epic Games, this mean having to evolve the game's visual style without losing its identity.
"We evolved the color palette, and the engine and the lighting and the technology and stuff through Gears 2 and then on to Gears 3," said Perna. "Gears 3 was so colorful because we upgraded the renderer and global illumination lighting, which just worked better with more color, brighter lights and things like that."
Epic Games and and co-developer People Can Fly are evolving the Gears series once more with Gears of War: Judgment. "We’ve enhanced the bloom in the renderer so fires will bloom better and won’t be a blown out, ghostly type of thing where it looks like Vaseline is smeared on the lens. I think it’s really, really soft looking."
“We’ve evolved the color palette even more, to make a lot more color yet still keep a more somber tone. We’ve done things with post-processing to really enhance the visuals and our cinematics, too. I think visually, it’s the best looking Gears so far," Perna concluded.
Gears of War: Judgment is due out on March 19, 2013. You can decide then if the franchise has evolved for better or for worse...and then you can thank the copycats.