Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Entertainment Games

Inside View of Epic, Preparing Gears of War 2 106

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the cool-kids-club dept.
Subm writes "Lamborghinis, motion-capture rooms, secret new weapons — these are a few things included in the profile of Epic Games and its Design Director, Cliff Bleszinski. 'A Microsoft employee who works closely with Epic described the company as having a "band dynamic." Staff turnover is low, and many of Epic's most senior employees have been friends for more than a decade. This does not seem a very long time until one sits in on an Epic meeting and realizes that anyone over the age of thirty-five achieves the temporal stature of Methuselah. Epic's recent growth is regarded with wary gratitude by many of its employees, though some miss the old days, when, as Sweeney put it, "we were just a bunch of kids who had some cool ideas and were doing neat things."'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Inside View of Epic, Preparing Gears of War 2

Comments Filter:
  • Does it make anyone else smile when they spot the guy wearing the Frankie Says Relax shirt in the group photo in the booklet that came with UT3?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      NOW I SEE IT! It's so obvious to me now and i do not know how on earth i hadn't seen this before.

      The unreal engine is meant to make one kill the prime minister of malaysia!

  • CliffyB is a jackass (Score:4, Informative)

    by ushimitsudoki (1227468) on Monday October 27, 2008 @06:54PM (#25535353) Homepage
    Here's what you need to know about CliffyB's mindset:

    Do you see the Xbox 360 as the main platform as opposed to the PC? During the whole Unreal time it was very much PC focused.

    The PC right now is a fair amount different to what it was back in the day, with all the badly integrated video chips. Here's the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know bit torrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software. Therefore, high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC.

    So piracy was a main point for you...

    Right now, it makes sense for us to focus on Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Not least PCs with multiple configurations and piracy.

    But when the dust has settled, is there any possibility of Gears 2 on PC?

    No.

    Definitely not?

    No.

    From: http://www.totalvideogames.com/Gears-of-War-2/feature-13270.html [totalvideogames.com]

    • Wow... guess he doesn't realize that console games can be pirated too. Especially since GoW2 was leaked to the tubes more than two weeks early.
      • by vux984 (928602) on Monday October 27, 2008 @08:20PM (#25536013)

        Wow... guess he doesn't realize that console games can be pirated too. Especially since GoW2 was leaked to the tubes more than two weeks early.

        Not at all, he clearly realizes that.

        He's saying, essentially, there are pirates on both platforms, but on the PC platform, anyone with a system able to run our game is savvy enough to be a pirate, while anyone who owns an xbox can run our game, and most of them aren't savvy enough to be a pirate.

        Note also that he doesn't say that everyone on the PC able to run the game IS a pirate, although clearly thinks that a much higher percent of his potential market on the PC are pirates.

        • ...most of them aren't savvy enough to be a pirate.

          You'd be surprised. I've got couga^Wmiddle-aged lady friends who know about and use R4s, and there's folks who sell mod services in projects and on craigslist. It's not like the 360 is particularly difficult to mod.

          Console piracy has to have surpassed PC piracy just from the shear install-base numbers.
          FO3 was just leaked... guess which version~

        • by Ostracus (1354233)

          I've just came back from a multiplayer UT3 and you all know what I observed? Not people worrying about their OS. Nor wither someone at Epic's their friend or not. Nope. They were having FUN. And that's what matters.

    • by spandex_panda (1168381) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:33PM (#25535667)
      To be quite honest, I think about spending $80 - $100 on far cry 2 for Pc (through steam, very easy) and hesitate. Should be a great game but its a lot of money.

      Then I head over to TPB and see a discussion alongside an ISO for said game, its playable but multiplayer doesn't work. This option is also very easy, inexpensive and only limited by the no multiplayer factor.

      So I am sorry to say I am tempted by the latter option, which means sadly that I give the developers no money. Perhaps they should make singleplayer free and charge a small monthly fee for multiplayer?

      In conclusion, what he says is very sensible, they make money by selling games, not by having them used for free.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        "I think about spending $80 - $100 on far cry 2 for Pc (through steam, very easy) and hesitate."

        According to my Steam store window, Far Cry 2 is $49.99. Maybe you should try lying about things that aren't so easily proven to be false?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by MrMista_B (891430)

          It wasn't $49.99 at release. Who's the liar now? People like you who are quick to accuse, insult, and point fingers when they feel their sacred cows are being threatened are the reason 'fanboy' has become an epithet to most.

        • by Pinckney (1098477)

          According to my Steam store window, Far Cry 2 is $49.99. Maybe you should try lying about things that aren't so easily proven to be false?

          The grandparent is probably someplace outside the US. If memory serves, Australia, in particular, suffers through particularly high prices for video games.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by boarsai (698361)

          According to my Steam store window, Far Cry 2 is $49.99. Maybe you should try lying about things that aren't so easily proven to be false?

          At the time of this post: 49.99 USD = 82.6223 AUD

          Perhaps he's not american?

        • For posterity, I am in Australia where 49.95 USD is around $77 Australian dollars today, more yesterday and a lot less two months ago ... Sorry I did guess the conversion rate, it shouldn't make me a liar though I guess I did exaggerate a bit!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        The main problem with PC gaming is the fact that it doesn't always work. Wheras if I buy a game for the Wii/PS3/360 I can be 100% guaranteed that it will work on my system. The most I might have to do is spend $20 for an extra controller. On the other hand, if I buy a PC game I have to worry about if I have enough RAM, graphics card capability, the right operating system, a fast enough 'Net connection, etc. For the average person, that just makes making a PC game a total hassle, not only that but the game's
        • by Kneo24 (688412)

          Wheras if I buy a game for the Wii/PS3/360 I can be 100% guaranteed that it will work on my system.

          Not entirely true. Fable II, a very current release is having freezing issues. Bully: Scholarship Edition also had some technical issues which needed to be patched. This is just on the 360. The PS3, GTA IV had some technical issues too. I call this "not working". Crappy firmware updates for the PS3? Yup, those are there too!

          • There are quite a few famous Xbox and 360 games that have very poor code quality. And are plagued with all the problems we've come to accept on the PC platform.

            Remember the Morrowind port to Xbox? Shesh!

          • Ok, fine, I should say "any decent developer can test and debug a game easily that is for a console" on the other hand, its impossible to test every single hardware configuration for a PC.
        • Conversely, this can be turned into an argument for PC gaming.

          When a PC game crashes on my system, 9 times out of 10 there's some driver inconsistency or hardware I can disable to get it working. Forums are great for this reason- I fixed my Fallout3 freezing issues yesterday, hours after the game came out.

          At least on the PS3/360/Wii, you're at the developer's/Sony's/MS's/Nintendo's mercy until they can provide a fix. I remember being really pissed that I couldn't play GTA IV for the first week or so bec
      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        If they had to make the singleplayer free they wouldn't put much effort into it. Doesn't work for games where the focus is singleplayer.

    • by Anpheus (908711) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:35PM (#25535691)

      He's unfortunately right. He wouldn't say that unless there was a strong business case for a PC release not being very profitable to them. The same happens with games not being released simultaneously on Mac and PC. If the Mac release doesn't meet a certain threshold it's a loss and they want to avoid it.

      Now, of course someone will reply, "Bu, bu, bu, Blizzard and Valve make scads off PC games." But I -can- play their games on my PC, and my PC is better than most commodity PCs, but not good enough to play Gears, or Crysis. The best I can do is Oblivion I think at 30FPS, maybe.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Rennt (582550)

        He wouldn't say that unless there was a strong business case for a PC release not being very profitable to them.

        How much would it really cost to port from the 360 to PC - it's nearly the same platform.

        When you compare no PC games sales to any sales at all - for a game you have already developed - I would think you can make a pretty strong business case to release, piracy or no.

        It feels more like spite than sound business practice to me.

      • He's unfortunately right. He wouldn't say that unless there was a strong business case for a PC release not being very profitable to them.

        His argument is flawed because he assumes that 360 and PC players are mutually exclusive. They're not.

        Unfortunately, GoW was engineered to have the worst possible PC sales. The game came out on the 360, then a year later on the PC. By then, many PC gamers (like myself) would have already had the game on the 360, and saw no reason to buy the game over again. If Epic had released the PC and 360 versions simultaneously, he might see PC gaming more favorably.

        Other developers have used engineered PC releases

    • And what do you find wrong with this decision? What would you say to change his mind?
      • by Kneo24 (688412)

        I'd tell him that his opinion is not a very educated one. That the decisions his companies make don't foster a lot of sales in the PC market anyway.

        Consider that each iteration of any game they have released has usually needed a bleeding edge PC, or very close to it. Scalability for systems that are say... 3 of 4 years old is poor. Their games are just a tech demo of the new engine they've created. Tech demos usually stop being fun after you realize that's all they are. You see how the games generally lack

        • by skaet (841938)

          Epic have always done a better job than most at optimising their "tech demos" for low-spec systems while maintaining cutting edge graphics for high-spec. The latest-and-greatest software is the driving force behind the upgrade cycle, and from my personal experience general consumers tend to upgrade every 4-6 years. Making a 3-4 year lifespan on the engine is then a good idea since it keeps the game playable for many years to come.

          Name me one tech demo in history that hasn't lacked depth. I must have missed

          • by Kneo24 (688412)

            Name me one tech demo in history that hasn't lacked depth. I must have missed the memo that said tech demos needed to have depth to be classified as a mindlessly entertaining game, yet Gears had more depth than anything Epic had released to date and they did a damn good job of it.

            Well, therein lies the problem. While Gears wasn't actually meant to be a tech demo, I'd say their Unreal games are. You can't expect huge sales on tech demos. And of course, everyone loves to blame piracy when sales don't meet expectations. It's the convenient scapegoat for many a developer and publisher.

        • I'd tell him that his opinion is not a very educated one.

          yes; because you with no games to your name are obviously more educated in platform sales statistics than someone who's made millions selling games on the said platforms. I see no reason not to take what he says at face value. I suspect you've just spent big dollars on upgrading your pc in the last 6 months, and are feeling a little bitter that consoles are getting 2x as many good games this Christmas. sucks to be you

          • by Kneo24 (688412)

            Despite your unfounded trolling, I'll bite.

            Let's see...

            Sales on PC sucks. Let's blame piracy!

            Instead of blaming piracy, they could blame a few other things (and I'll do this for Gears instead of their tech demos of games).

            • Wasn't advertised enough. (i.e. almost no advertising)
            • Was buggy.
            • Average game.

            I'm not going to argue that piracy can't hurt sales. But when you already have one foot in the grave, it's obvious to anyone with half a brain to see that it's clearly not the only problem. Take a loot at Spore. Despite it being a pretty boring game

    • by kafros (896657)
      It is not just the pirates. EPIC has to battle all these invisible ninjas too
  • by Anonymous Coward

    He has not earned the right to be called Cliff or Clifford. He has to own up to hundreds of stupid comments yet.

    Like, you know, "all PC gamers are thiefs". Which version of GoW2 was leaked, genius?. 360, you say?. In your face, bitch.

    It's a pity the New Yorker is losing valuable time with this idiot.

    PS.- GoW is an average game, although I admire the big amount of bugs you were able to put into the PC version. Congrats.

    • Your point is moot, a pirated copy will work on any powerful enough PC without extra expense or serious drawbacks while modding the xbox to play pirate games costs a fair bit, voids the warranty and removes accessibility to Xbox live. Not to mention the added hassle of getting the correct version to burn for each region. I think I can see which one I'd rather pirate on.
      Also what do you mean

      Which version of GoW2 was leaked, genius?

      There are no other versions so again, moot point.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Firehed (942385)

        Your point is moot, a pirated copy will work on any powerful enough PC without extra expense or serious drawbacks while modding the xbox to play pirate games costs a fair bit, voids the warranty and removes accessibility to Xbox live. Not to mention the added hassle of getting the correct version to burn for each region. I think I can see which one I'd rather pirate on.

        And you think that a PC with the horsepower to run Gears at Xbox 360 quality comes cheap? You can now pick up the baseline 360 for $200. You'd probably spend twice that on just your graphics card to run Gears PC at 720p.

        Yes, you can download and play the games more easily on a PC than on a 360, but I've seen the high-end graphics card from a generation after mine called ancient recently, and my card (a 7900GT) is only a couple years old. For the cost of updating my graphics card to something that would r

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by mobby_6kl (668092)

          >You can now pick up the baseline 360 for $200. You'd probably spend twice that on just your graphics card to run Gears PC at 720p.

          Welcome to two years ago. There's a $130 card that runs Crysis at 1680x1050 at 40 fps [techreport.com]. And really, if you'd be content with playing the games on consoles, why don't you save those $200 too and just continue playing on low detail? This way you'd get the same experience you get on the consoles, without spending anything extra!

      • by iVasto (829426)
        Modding an xbox 360 costs 0 dollars. All you are doing is flashing the firmware of the dvd drive. [360mods.net] So actually, your point is moot.
        Yes, it voids the warranty (unless you have skills with a hair dryer), but are you honestly too stupid to figure out what region a game plays on?
        Example (The most recent xbox 360 release): Dance.Dance.Revolution.Universe.3.USA.XBOX360-APATHY
        That means region USA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by philspear (1142299)

      He has not earned the right to be called Cliff or Clifford. He has to own up to hundreds of stupid comments yet.

      Looks like one thief is a little upset about being called a thief!

      (I joke, calm down)

      Serious point: who hasn't said stupid things? Find me one person who has never put their foot in their mouth and I'll show you someone who doesn't have a mouth (or maybe a foot, but that strains the metaphor.) I've said dumb stuff today. Fortunately for me, there were no reporters present and no one really cared enough to blog about it. Saying all PC gamers are thieves sounds like something that's been taken far out of

    • He has not earned the right to be called Cliff or Clifford. He has to own up to hundreds of stupid comments yet.

      Considering the enormous number of women he's slept with, he has earned the right to be called "Cliff" or "Clifford"

    • by antic (29198)

      "Like, you know, "all PC gamers are thiefs". Which version of GoW2 was leaked, genius?. 360, you say?. In your face, bitch."

      First leaked is a little irrelevant, isn't it? Surely they'd be more concerned about overall numbers?

  • Epic FAIL (Score:5, Funny)

    by syousef (465911) on Monday October 27, 2008 @07:55PM (#25535847) Journal

    Oh come on, it's obligatory! You just wish you thought to post it first!

  • Fuck Epic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by apoc.famine (621563) <.apoc.famine. .at. .gmail.com.> on Monday October 27, 2008 @08:03PM (#25535903) Homepage Journal
    Yes, karma bedamned, Fuck Epic.

    After a fucking YEAR we're still waiting for a useful version of UT3 to show up. The same damn game that they once talked about having linux and mac ports for, linux and mac editor for....doesn't have a decent linux SERVER, let alone non-windows Client! And the editor? It doesn't even friggin work in Windows half the time. And of course, it's not ported yet. To ice this cake of stupid? They are bitching about piracy hurting their games. Piracy? How about releasing Shit? Any chance that has hurt sales?

    At the moment, the entire god damn game still has limited functionality compared to UT2k4. Despite my friends and I having a one of the better UT3 servers, those of us who still play have pretty much abandoned the game. This, after 9 years of playing the UT franchise.

    Fuck Epic. We'll go play something else.
    • Re:Fuck Epic (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WDot (1286728) on Monday October 27, 2008 @09:12PM (#25536451)
      I was pretty miffed at Epic for making comments insulting PC gamers, but I picked up UT3 for the PC anyway because I figured I'd at least I'd try to show that not all PC gamers were 'thieves' as they suggest. It was underwhelming.

      The reason PC gamers aren't going wild for Epic's games recently is because Epic stopped caring for PC gamers. The only thing UT3 has going for it is that it's prettier than UT2k4. There's less content, less features, and it's buggier. There's a fantastic mod community for it, but I'd expected much more official extras (like the prequels). There's no word on what's going to happen for patch 1.4 or indeed, if there will be a patch 1.4 (there damn well better be, voice chat still gives me issues over private Hamachi games!). Epic hasn't rereleased a stable demo yet, preferring to just keep offering their garbage "beta demo."

      I hate to sound crusty, but Epic had a big hit in the form of Gears of War and all of a sudden decided that PC gamers weren't worth paying attention to. So they shit on us and then complain that we don't buy their games? I'm not going to buy any more Epic products until Epic issues an apology and makes a PC game worth paying for. Anybody who enjoyed UT/UT2003/4 on PC should do the same. I have a 360, but I'm not buying Gears 1 or 2.
      • I hate to sound crusty...

        Well, you were a whole lot more elegant than I was, to be sure. Generally I'm a bit more refined in my thoughts. But Epic has pissed me off more than most other gaming companies have. It's one thing to put out a crappy product. It's an entirely different thing to piss in the face of long-time loyal customers.

        My hat is off to you for your elegance on the subject. My ire prevents such elegance on my part.

    • by Sparton (1358159)

      And the editor? It doesn't even friggin work in Windows half the time.

      That's nothing new, as the editor from UT2004 wasn't any different. And despite that, the editor is still better than many that is used by professional game development studios, crashes and all. Why do you think so many companies license it?

  • UT3 Linux client (Score:2, Informative)

    by L0stm4n (322418)

    Epic can kiss my ass after that fiasco. The ut2004 had a great linux client. Was supposed to be one for UT3 as well as the editor. Hell it's even done but Ryan Gordan can't release it.

    • by Atriqus (826899)
      That's what sucks about this situation. I want to support Ryan Gordon's work by buying a copy on release. But considering the piss-poor way Epic handled the non-launch of UT3 for linux, I just can't in good conscience in this case, even when/if it comes out.
      • by LDoggg_ (659725)
        Well, I went and bought it on release based on their previous track record and their promise of a Linux port.

        I have a useless 60 dollar box with a year's worth of dust on it. Their lie cost me a tank of gas.

        You live you learn, I guess. Though it would be nice to at least hear them officially say they won't release Ryan's port because they're in bed with Microsoft.
  • my 2c (Score:2, Insightful)

    by null8 (1395293)
    I have played the first gears - the graphics was great, the testosterone-laden pieces of hunk were entertaining to watch, but after some time it just becomes boring. For me, there was no point in playing it, there was no drama, no engaging story, no twists to explore, nothing to justificate endless hours of repetitive wasting the same enemies. I mean, I wonder what all the hype is about, when someone will ask me of what can change the nature of a man again? What's the point in those unreal 10 & gears 20
    • by Saffaya (702234)

      One word : Co-op

      Gears of War is terrific to play with a buddy.

      Covering your partner when he gets surrounded, taking risks you wouldn't if you were alone, rushing the enemy to get the first chainsaw slice of the level is lots of fun.

      Co-op is 95% of my play time on Gears. There's the real value of it, imo.

  • He's a douche... (Score:2, Informative)

    by madhatter256 (443326)

    He's a douchebag. Stole Reality Engine for pennies, hired its programmer and then dropped his ass. Small community indeed... my ass.

  • is "CliffyB". Fail more kiddo.
  • I think that epic games are better when their multi-player and video game console are better game erady now a days that PC. Not everyone has a computer that can handle a game like this. I think that games like this are on a good for the face you get to challenge others and compete with your crew.

  • I was dicking around in Raleigh for a few years after graduating from NC State and worked at the Starbucks around the corner from where he lives and saw him almost daily. He was always a pretty down to earth and engaging person. We'd talk about things ranging from new movies to weekend plans to what he thought about last years E3. I don't really have any opinion of Epic and what Cliff has and hasn't done as part of ensuring that the company he works for continues to be successful, so it's possible that he's
  • I have WAY more respect for Cliff after reading his involvement with Jazz Jackrabbit, a criminally underrated PC game which took itself much less seriously than anything using the Unreal Engine. (Imagine Sonic with guns.) Although the article is dismissive of Tim Sweeney's portfolio back when the company was called Epic Megagames, many of their titles were ahead of their time. From Jazz Jackrabbit's episodic content to Epic Pinball's mix-and-match pricing to One Must Fall 2097's customizable characters in
  • While i have no doubt piracy was an issue i do think its arrogant and extremly shortsighted to blame piracy for the lack of sales. The 360 is basically at its heart a PC dedicated to gaming. And for me at least that was the problem. I played gears to death on the 360, when it was released for the pc most of us were done with it and the additional content wasent enuff to justify buying a second copy of the same game. I will admit i downloaded the pc version but not with any intention of playing it. At the ti

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.

Working...