Gamers take Gears of War 3's graphics "for granted".
That's according to executive producer Rod Fergusson, who told Eurogamer in a new Gears of War 3 interview that developer Epic battles against gamers' memories of Gears 1.
"They take it [Gears of War 3's visuals] for granted," he said. "That was one of our biggest problems with Gears 1 to Gears 2. Your memory is far better than reality.
"With Gears 2 we were competing with the memory of Gears 1 and what people remembered it was like. We got to the point where, at the review event in San Francisco, I suggested we put up a single station of Gears 1 so the press could play it and realise it wasn't as good as they remember. They were saying, "Oh, it kinda looks like Gears 1." I'm like, "Really? No it doesn't at all. You just remember it looking better than it actually does." Not only were we competing with the state of the industry, we were competing with our own memory."
Gears of War launched in 2006 as a visual showcase of high definition home console gaming, wowing fans with its Unreal Engine 3-powered visuals.
Now, five years later, Epic faces stiff competition in the graphics race on the Xbox 360 console.
But, Fergusson explained, it is the continued evolution of Unreal Engine 3 that ensures Gears of War 3 will once again raise the graphics bar when it launches later this year.
"The nice thing is Unreal Engine 3 is always changing. It's the same number, but every day hundreds of code changes go in and the engine improves. We keep pushing our engine team and ourselves art wise to keep taking it up.
"Yeah, people have closed the gap. We were far ahead of a lot of games when Gears 1 came out. Everybody's been catching up, and a lot of people are fighting for ownership of that title. But we continue to push the box and what HD means."
The Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta launches today for those who bought the Bulletstorm Epic Edition.