In part two of GamesIndustry.biz's GDC interview with Epic Games vice president Mark Rein, he discusses the success and the criticisms of Gears of War, plus why Unreal Engine 3 isn't just designed for making shooters.
The secret to Epic's success, Rein says, and high sales of Gears and Unreal Tournament, is that the studio "makes games we love to play. So we know we've got an awesome game when we're playing it in the lab, and we won't stop until we love the game."
Rein is modest when it comes to suggestions that as one of the first triple-A titles for the console, Gears helped to sell Xbox 360 units - "I hope so. I don't have any numbers on that. Microsoft released statements pointing out it definitely helped sell subscriptions to Xbox Live, so you've got to think those were new people who didn't previously have an Xbox 360. Every time a new title comes out, it helps."
Gears may have done well in terms of both sales and critical perception, but not everyone was entirely positive. Eurogamer.net, sister site of GamesIndustry.biz, gave the game an 8/10 score, and was consequently praised by EA executive Alan Tascan for recognising the game's faults. Did it bother Rein?
"Well, you know... You can't win 'em all," he says with a chuckle. "I think Eurogamer just has very different standards to most reviewers, right? Sure, I saw it and went, 'Eight? Come on!'. But then I went and looked at other reviews and they gave Halo an eight, too. There were these other very, very good games they gave eights to, and I thought, 'Well, I get it, for them this is an eight.'"
While Rein says he wasn't too happy that the score pulled down the GameRankings and MetaCritic ratings for Gears, he accepts that overall it was fair. "It's down to opinion. Not everybody's going to love a game equally. When I looked back at the other reviews, I thought you put it in a pretty good crowd. Based on what you've done in the past, I'm happy with an eight... Let's see if you stick to your guns. Just be consistent.