"We haven't done a sequel like this at Epic, I think... ever," Epic Games president Mike Capps says of Gears of War II, and that's yielded a lot of lessons.
At the GC Developers conference, Capps was sharing experiences from building the follow-up to the original Gears of War, which sold 5 million copies and 1 million downloads of its first downloadable map.
"This was amazing, because we told them we were going to give it away for free and people still purchased it in droves," Capps says. "In fact, when we announced there was one week left before we were giving it away, another drove of people bought it in a rush before it became free!"
But there's a lot that goes into creating such a franchise, says Capps -- it's more than building a game. "You have to support the franchise and have numerous anchors, such as [making] the game something that people find easy to relate to, and managing player expectation."