A Future for Gears of War May Go Beyond the Shooter

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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A Future for Gears of War May Go Beyond the Shooter

Sometimes a game franchise takes on a certain look, and the idea of going beyond that can be unnerving to say the least. It can turn off gamers, and make a release that required a lot of time and cash to put together little more than an afterthought. It's been done before, though, and it may well be done again, this time, for Gears of War.

Word from The Coalition director Chuck Osieja and Xbox head Phil Spencer suggests that Gears of War could go in a different direction, and not necessarily the shooter. While discussing the topic at Xbox Fanfest, an unexpected move emerged as Spencer warned Osieja visibly to frame his response carefully to the notion of different genres. Osieja took the hint and promptly dropped a profoundly safe non-answer, saying "At Microsoft, we evaluate all opportunities for our franchises. So, if the right opportunity presents itself, we'll explore that as something we can offer our fans."

This actually isn't out of line. Though the thought of Gears of War outside of the shooter field might disorient some fans, consider a similar property in Halo. Halo started out as a shooter and did quite well. But when it went to a top-down strategy game, it did reasonably well. Consider also Dead Island, as we proceeded to get pretty much every game under the sun except for the one we wanted: an actual sequel. We got first person shooters, we got third person action RPGs, we got a 2D sidescroller...we got a complete clinic of just what an IP could do with a different perspective.

While it's not always smart to go off in such a direction, there's certainly some value in branching out. After all, an FPS turns into a strategy game fairly readily, and if it fits smoothly into the narrative, then does it really matter what format it's presented in? If it's fun to play and handles the story material right, then where's the problem?

There will always be some unhappy about change, but when it comes to games, there's often something to be said for taking a few chances. Sometimes some really impressive developments can come out of that change.

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