Video game designer and Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski explains that the original version of the wildly popular shooter almost didn’t have multiplayer.

According to a recent interview with IGN, Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski explained that during the development of the first title in the third-person shooter franchise, its seminal multiplayer content was close to being eliminated from the final cut of the game altogether. Although it’s hard to imagine multiplayer not being included, the way Bleszinski describes it, Gears of War was being closely scrutinized by Microsoft due to its being a major holiday release for the Xbox 360, which almost resulted in it getting the axe.

Since Gears of War‘s multiplayer obviously remained intact, Bleszinski went on to describe the process of creating the gameplay mode’s maps, explaining that they “felt a lot like Counter-Strike,” as well as his initial inkling to have players buy weapons in between rounds. Naturally, even though Cliffy B, as he’s more endearingly known, was able to retain the integrity of Gears of War‘s now-classic multiplayer, the process wasn’t without its pressures. Regarding the original title in the franchise’s potential exclusion of the game mode, Bleszinski explained:

“It was just like we always say even with the current game [LawBreakers] we’re building, ‘We’re building a freeway while the car’s going 9000 miles an hour on fire.’ We were under intense pressure from Microsoft to get this game out for holiday, doing the E3 demos and all that, and they didn’t really think the cover-based gameplay would be any fun.”

As found in the lengthy interview’s footage above, Bleszinski not only discussed the original Gears‘ multiplayer, but also his favorite entry in the series overall. In fact, when asked which installment has been the best so far, the franchise’s creator chose Gears of War 3, because as he put it, “That’s when we really honed things and had dedicated servers and everything. We had multiple game types, different characters, women in battle . . . it was cool.”

Of course, with Microsoft buying the rights to the franchise, the series is moving on with a fourth chapter without Bleszinski at the helm. However, it’s not as if the Gears creator is upset at the prospect, but instead, rather excited. As a matter of fact, Cliffy B’s reaction to the sequel’s first trailer was filled with praise, as he’s even gone on to state that fans will be “pleased” with Gears of War 4‘s outcome. While some might be skeptical about Bleszinski’s applause for the forthcoming game, our multiplayer beta preview backs up his claims, as we can confirm it builds upon the original’s mechanics and makes for a rollicking good time.

What do you think about the original Gears of War almost not having multiplayer? Do you think the game would have still gone on to such massive success without it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The original Gears of War is available exclusively for Xbox 360, while its Ultimate Edition can be obtained for PC and Xbox One.

Source: IGN (via GameSpot)