3.24.2008

Flattery

Some days it must feel really good to be Cliffy B.



















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8 comments:

Michael said...

Nice homage. As the great playwright Tom Stoppard once said, "If an idea's worth having once, it's worth having twice." But 9 times? Hmm.

FreakyZoid said...

Not sure what you're trying to say here. That he invented cover systems in games? Or that he popularised it? Either way I wouldn't claim that all of the games you've shown have cover because of Gears of War.

You have a video of Rainbow Six Vegas there - that came out within a month of Gears of War. And you're missing a video of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter which predates GoW by about a year, if memory serves.

ryan said...

Well, I'm sure he'd feel better if kill.switch never existed. :) To be fair, he commented on its influence in his design, but there's no way that form of cover would be so popular without Gears of War...

n0wak said...

Metal Gear Solid 4? Seriously? Everything in that clip is an evolution of the original game. A decade ago. Me thinks you give Cliffy too much credit. Some of this is just natural unrelated progress/evolution.

Steve Gaynor said...

re: n0wak

on over-the-shoulder camera:

MGS4 screen

Gears of War screen

Ryan Payton, producer on MGS4: Gamasutra interview

"Because it's Metal Gear, you expect to play it a certain way. You expect for the camera to to be that bird's-eye view camera, you expect to shoot just from first person, without being able to move. But in MGS4, we have the auto-aim option, and we also have an over-the-shoulder camera where it's more like Gears of War style; where you can move around while shooting...

One thing that I did was put an Xbox 360 in an area of the studio where there's a lot of foot traffic, and I also have a PS3 there, and I'll bring in western-developed games. I'll be playing them, or I'll just have it on and running through the intro, to be repeating on the title menu. People will pick it up and play it, and so now we have a lot of Gears fans, and people are playing Bioshock. So people are checking out games that they wouldn't normally check out, and they're getting ideas and inspiration as far as, 'OK, this is how things can work for us; this is what we like.'"

on cover icons:

MGS4 gameplay screengrab

Gears of War screen

Note the cover icons, bottom center of each screen.

Ryan Payton:

"Interviewer: Those little icons are reminiscent of Gears of War.

RP: Absolutely. I mean, we've played a lot of Gears.

BS: And they're useful.

RP: They're very useful."

brkl said...

Yes, they all have Resident Evil 4-like aiming. What does that have to do with Cliffy B?

Bran said...

That is all old news to Sam Fisher. Cliffy is cool. He just didn't invent sticking to a wall.

Steve Gaynor said...

I like to give people enough credit to think I don't have to spell everything out, but okay:

I'm not claiming that Cliffy B "invented" any particular mechanic; what he did was popularize a cohesive character control scheme which is now being lifted, in whole or in part, by other games.

The Gears of War Scheme is comprised of a number of core elements, all of which very clever readers can find in earlier games:

-3rd-person over-the-shoulder WASD-based camera scheme (Max Payne)
-Dodge dive (Max Payne)
-Zooming in over the shoulder to aim (Resident Evil 4)
-Sticking to cover, and popping out from behind it to aim & fire (Kill.zone)
-Stamina-limited sprint mode (various)
-Recharging health (Halo)
-Dynamic cover icons

This scheme has become a template onto which other games can overlay their own fiction. All of the games noted above lift the Gears scheme either partially or fully. Cliffy may not have invented any single aspect of it, but he created a game which popularized a versatile character control scheme which has been picked up on by developers and publishers the world over.

And yes, Rainbow Six Vegas could easily have been influenced by Gears, even though they were released within a month of each other. R6V uses the Unreal 3 engine, which includes the Gears of War source code when licensed by a developer. Even barring that, Ubi could have been looking at preview videos of Gears long before it reached retail. A game doesn't have to be on the shelves yet for someone to draw inspiration from it.