Gears of War 3 will sell "definitely over six million" copies when released in September. Cliff Bleszinski knows that. But can it go as high as ten million sales?
"Deep down, just to be perfectly candid and honest, I would die if we hit ten - that would be phenomenal," Bleszinski told IndustryGamers. "But I can only pray and hope. It's up to the gamers to vote with their wallets."
"Definitely over six million, obviously."
Gears of War 1 & 2 have combined to sell over 12 million copies.
Gears of War 3 will be up against Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 this autumn. In this battle Bleszinski believes Gears 3's dedicated multiplayer servers will be "crucial", as will the "meaty" campaign and unusual multiplayer modes.
"[MW3 and BF3] are going head to head in November, and we have a good month-and-a-half before then. I'm hoping if we get enough of that installed base of people who are hooked on our system of ribbons and unlockables and achievement points, gamers will be like, 'Damnit, no, I [don't] have to buy either Call of Duty or Battlefield, cause I'm keeping Gears.' That's what we're hoping for," revealed Bleszinski.
One way Epic hopes to spread the gospel of Gears is by releasing a Hollywood movie. In July last year, Bleszisnki explained that the film had been held up for having no love story.
Now it appears the whole project is on the ropes, although Bleszinski remains resolute that he'd not rather not release a film than rush out a turkey.
"It's in development hell right now," Bleszinski told GameFront. "Who knows what'll happen? It took however many years for Peter Jackson to make Lord of the Rings. Hollywood is a complicated beast.
"There's all sorts of weirdness going on with who's working on it, what's going on here and there. But, hopefully it happens. Maybe the Gears 3 success will generate more interest in it. I'd love to see it. I'd rather have a movie that's great and true to the franchise, than a movie that sucks.
"I'd rather not have a movie than a movie that sucks."
Gears of War 3 was delayed from an April 2011 release to September 2011. That extra time has allowed Epic to polish and beta test its beast. Digital Foundry explored for Eurogamer the Gears of War 3 tech during the beta.