Gears of War 3 has been dominating the charts and the Xbox Live multiplayer scene since its release two weeks ago – selling over 3 million units in its first week alone. Set to hit Cliff Bleszinski’s dream of 10 million worldwide, the rockstar-esq developer has made it clear that while Gears of War 3 is his pride and joy, the proverbial buck will stop there for now.
Striving to be remembered for more than just the Gears of War franchise, Bleszinski has already accomplished this feat by breaking all pre-defined characteristics of how developers interact with fans. A developer with hundreds and thousands of followers on his Twitter page and a roving fan base when he’s out in public, Bleszinski has helped design a new standard for the industry and how they conduct themselves – both internally and publicly.
In an interview with Develop, Bleszinski pleads the case that, if you want to make it big in this industry, it’s not just about the work anymore, it’s about how personable you are – connecting with fans when possible, going to the big name conventions, and essentially showing your true self:
First and foremost, make a great game but also have a personality. Be the guy with the hip glasses, with the one gauge earring and the gamer tattoo all the way to the sleeves with a skateboard. Stand out… Be a person, be a brand. Just do something so that people know who you are. Have an online presence more than ever. Understand social channels. Look at people like Veronica Belmont who puts herself out there and now has over a million followers.
Bleszinski went on to discuss that once a developer has the persona and an idea – be sure to inject who they really are into the title, thereby bringing the title to life full-spectrum. Getting caught up in trying to fulfill what the market wants, versus what a developer can deliver, can be the difference between a hit and a massive disappointment:
Don’t make just what you think the market will want. Don’t make it like ‘I loved bunnies when I was growing up so I’m gonna make a game about bunnies’. Make something that’s deeply personal… So make games personal and ultimately they’ll resonate, and you know if the game sells well maybe you’ll have a chance to keep exploring those themes.
Though Bleszinski did admit that, as proud as he is of Gears of Wars 3 and the franchise as a whole, there are moments that he wishes he could go back and change, tweak, and erase just like any other major artistic designer.
Creatively, the second you ship a game all you see is the holes. Earlier, me and some colleagues were talking about George Lucas and how he can’t resist putting his grubby little mitts all over everything. That’s because, if I could go back, there’s tons of things I would change about Gears, tons of things I’d change about Gears 2, and even Gears 3. I’d tweak things in it.
However this doesn’t mean that a Gears of War 4 is any closer to becoming a reality, nor does it mean that the rumored Gears Kinect will be fleshed out either. What it does mean is that while Cliff Bleszinski talks a big game, sets precedents, and makes waves, he’s still ultimately a person trying to do right by the rest of the gaming community.
Follow Will on Twitter @ Ayreesfoxx.