Earlier this year, Microsoft bought the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, and handed development duties to Black Tusk Studios. Rod Fergusson, former director of production at Epic, was then appointed to help Black Tusk bring the franchise to Xbox One, and said that developing the sequel is all about balance.
"It's the same thing with all sequels," he told OXM."This isn't a great way of phrasing it, but I always talk about shipping a sequel to customers as 'managing betrayal'. They want something new but they don't want something so new that it doesn't feel like what they want. But if you put out something that's very familiar and is the same as the game they just had, then it's like 'I've already had this. This isn't new enough.'"
Microsoft head Phil Spencer said that the company has no plans to rush the next Gears of War installment onto the Xbox One, and that it wants to allow Black Tusk enough time to evolve the series' gameplay. That is, the next Gears of War needs to "reignite the franchise and grow it, and won't be a quick turn."
Fergusson said that making the sequel is about not only progressing the series gameplay conceits, but also maintaining the Gears of War flavor, so players don't become too distanced from the property.
"You actually have to betray them enough to give them something new and surprising but not so much that they disconnect, and I think that is a big thing that we have to focus on," he said. "It's how we can innovate and bring something new to the franchise while at the same time really proving that we understand Gears - that this is the franchise that you know and love.
"So I've already given multiple speeches to the team like 'here are the core tenets of Gears, here are the things that won't be changing, and here are opportunities for us to innovate that we think we can knock out of the park.'"