GDC 07: CliffyB on designing Gears of War
CliffyB hosted a panel at GDC to discuss the design process for Gears of War. While the panel didn't exactly contain much in the way of news (apart from Jazz Jackrabbit), it was interesting to see the beginnings of Gears of War and see how it became the phenomenal success that it is today. Cliff shared some early design work from Gears of War and how it changed and evolved over time. For instance, the Locust were originally called Geist. However, the name was trademarked by Nintendo, so we wound up with the Locust we know today. Cliffy also discussed the inspirations for Gears of War, which was originally designed as an extension of the Unreal franchise. In fact, many of the original concepts for Gears of War made it into Unreal Tournament 3. He uses the phrase "Resident Killswitch" to describe the title's inspirations from both Resident Evil and Killswitch.
A few more entertaining tidbits of information were revealed, too. For one, the cinematic Y button was actually created by accident. Epic originally decided to emulate the Halo control scheme. After mapping the weapons to the D-pad, the team was left with an empty Y button. So, they had to figure out what to do with it. As Cliffy put it, one of his leads suggested that it become the "look at cool sh*t" button. And so, the "points of interest" function was born. Finally, Cliffy revealed that the infamous "roadie run" is very misleading. You see, the roadie run is, in fact, only 1.2 times faster than regular movement. The illusion of speed is created by the camera angle and the wobble effect.
Just remember that next time you rush the torque bow.