“I love chainsawing Locusts in half.” If I were to make that statement, you would immediately know to what game I was referring – Gears of War. Over the last five and a half years, the three installments of the Gears of War franchise have taken gamers on an extraordinary journey laden with triumph, tragedy, and more emotional drama than most shooters are willing to display. Through all of this, there has been one constant: chainsawing Locusts.
Cliff Bleszinski, lead developer for Epic Games, states that the need to keep chainsawing Locusts dictated where the next game would fall along the Gears of War timeline. While Gears of War: Judgement is a prequel, most fans anticipated that it would be based in a different portion of the Gears of War history. The game takes place several months after the Locust came up from the ground to assault the human population on the planet Sera – the event otherwise known as Emergence Day. Many thought that the next Gears of War game would be focused on E-Day. Others predicted it would be centered around the events of the Pendulum Wars, the 79 year long conflict that preceded E-Day. According to Bleszinski, neither of these settings would have been appropriate for a Gears of War game.
“The time came, we finished Gears 3 and obviously it’s done well for us, and a prequel seemed like the next logical step. So we started looking at the timeframes and what we could do. I looked at E-Day and was like, ‘Yeah, there’s no chainsaw on E-Day.’ It took the COG a little bit to figure out that the Locust have thick skin and their bayonets are breaking, things like that.”
As for the human versus human conflict of the Pendulum Wars, the link to the core elements of the Gears of War franchise is even more fragmented. Not only are there no chainsaws, but there is also a complete lack of hideous subterranean beasts.
“Now you have no chainsaw and now you have no monsters,” Bleszinski said. “And now we’re not Gears of War anymore. So we looked at the timeframe, looked at the timeline, and figured that there’s a window there of several months after Emergence Day, where humanity got hit and quickly got their shit back together and figured out, hey, put a chainsaw on the end of the gun – that’ll help. So that’s the timeframe for the game.”
Gears of War: Judgement will be released for the XBox 360 in early 2013.