If you’ve heard of Gears of War, there’s a good chance that you know about the new type of multiplayer gameplay that the team at Epic Games came up with for Gears of War 2. Pitting a team of players against wave after wave of enemies seemed like a simple enough idea, but fans soon turned the challenge into a science. Epic picked up the fan response and ran with it for Gears of War 3, implementing all new depth and mechanics. Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski has opened up about the fan impact on the creation of Horde 2.0, and why the game style caught on like it did.
Gears of War 3 has pushed nearly all aspects of the series to its next evolutionary step, as we explained in our review. While that’s easy to see in the expanded narrative and set-piece moments, the complete overhaul that Horde mode underwent resulted in a giant leap forward in multiplayer gameplay.
It was clear to anyone that Gears of War 2‘s Horde Mode struck a chord with gamers, as the style was quickly adopted by Halo into Firefight. Having Halo adopt a competitor’s idea is high enough praise, but Epic took the idea and ran with it, instituting all new fortifications and mechanics for Horde 2.0.
In an interview with EDGE, Bleszinski explained where some of the inspiration for the new changes came from, and just how important the development team took the task:
“You could say a little bit of it might have been inspired by tower defence type games or Call Of Duty‘s boarding up the windows, things like that. But we knew if we were going to do it we were going to make it an integral thing and go deep with it. Our mantra for Horde 2.0 was “don’t f*ck it up”. Because for many people Gears Of War 2 was Horde mode.”
Epic certainly achieved those goals of creating a deeper experience, even without the added incentive of various weapon and character skins. But Bleszinski isn’t claiming all of the credit for himself or his team, but credits the fans for showing how the new mode could serve even more desires. Who knew just how much impact Boomshield-planting would have:
“We weren’t doing a lot of that before Gears 2 shipped, but then it became this thing online where you hoarded the shields and boarded up. Later on we added in the ability for some of the enemies to kick over the shields. That desire to build your fort goes back to childhood; there’s multiple things I tell designers I work with: first and foremost make your project personal but when in doubt go back to when you were a kid, senses of exploration, senses of wanting to strike out and build your own fort. Your instinct as a human being is to have your own home. So it’s just turned out to be a natural fit for the game, as far as fortifying and building things and actually upgrading it eventually to laser fences and mechs.”
It’s funny to think that a video game franchise as successful as Gears of War would owe part of its success to remembering how children build forts, but you can’t deny Bleszinski’s reasoning. Horde 2.0 demands that every player build fences, turrets, and sentries before preparing for an onslaught against their built-from-scratch base.
While the mode seems to be far more extensively designed than its predecessor, we can only imagine what unique changes and exploits the community will come up with next.
Have you tried out Horde 2.0 yet? Think more developers should spend their time getting players in touch with their childhood, instead of maximizing profits and DLC content?
Gears of War 3 is available now for the Xbox 360.
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