The Spike Video Game Awards are only a few short days away – and the teases keep coming. Along with reveals for Transformers: Fall of Cyberton, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, new BioWare and Tony Hawk games, as well as a fresh installment in the Alan Wake series, Gears of War developer, Epic Games, is expected to announce an all-new IP at the show.
While some fans were holding-out hope that the Epic VGA announcement would unveil a Gears of War spin-off or a sequel to the fan-favorite XBLA title, Shadow Complex, it sounds as though whatever the developer is ready to announce – it’s going to be an entirely new game experience.
In an interview with Games Industry, Epic Games president Mike Capps dispelled speculation that the game, which studio-frontman Cliff Bleszinski had already described as “new” and “fresh,” would have any connection to prior games in the studio’s line-up – such as an Infinity Blade spin-off, the often rumored Gears of War Kinect title, or a sequel to Bulletstorm or Shadow Complex.
“It’s something radically different for us. New IP, new game. We’re not really talking much about platform or anything like that, but I mentioned at GDCE Europe and my keynote there that we were working on a lot of new projects, and it’s been really refreshing to the team to try some new things.
We love Gears, it was a great trilogy, we’ve gotten a lot of great compliments and a lot of great fans, and we’re still supporting Gears 3 very strongly, but I’ve got guys that have been on it since 2001, and some of them need a break and to try something new.
So this is going to be one of those projects where we try something totally different, and it just went ‘boom’, because everyone had this pent up energy to do something new. And I can’t wait for them to get back to something like Gears in the future, because it’s sort of our bread and butter, and they’re going to be more energised for it to.”
We first got wind of a new Epic IP earlier this year, after the developer listed a job opening, and reaction was definitely mixed. While there are definitely plenty of fans that would love to see the Epic team permanently plugged into a computer in the interest of churning out Gears of War DLC stories, map packs, and spin-off content, there’s no doubt that the industry is over-saturated with annualized franchise installments and strings of uninterrupted series sequelization. As a result, it’s great to see the team at Epic challenging themselves, as well as their consumers, to try-out something new – even if it is “radically different” from the studio’s “bread and butter.”
Fans who are especially nervous that the announcement might fall short of their no doubt high expectations, specifically that Epic is going to break from their tried-and-true Gears format, can take some comfort in the fact that Capps, as well as the rest of the team at Epic, are equally anxious about the game’s reveal:
“I’m so scared that people will just say “oh yeah, that looks like an Epic game, oh sure” because I want them to see it as a departure, but I don’t want anyone to say “that doesn’t look anything like an Epic game, forget it, I’m not interested.” So we’re actually nervous, we haven’t been nervous like this for a while!
I’m nervous, this is something I pushed for a lot and I wrote some of the script for the trailer and if everyone hates it that’s it, I’m out of games for a while.”
While the developers might be nervous about fan-reaction, there’s no doubt that Epic has one of the most successful resumes in the industry with high-profile titles on multiple platforms and across several genres. As a result, while the game will surely have a steep climb to reach industry icon status, like Gears of War, it’s hard to imagine that the title is going to be an Epic failure.
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Epic Games will unveil their new IP at the 2011 Video Game Awards on December 10th.