Gears of War 3 senior gameplay designer Lee Perry has waded into the Xbox 360 exclusive's weapon balance debate.
Perry's personal take, outlined in a lengthy post on the Epic Games forum, is that thee Gnasher Shotgun is the most powerful weapon in the game.
"I firmly believe that if you're skilled with the Gnasher... you are on average winning your games (or at least losing to people who are also good with Gnashers)," he wrote.
"You can correctly say 'Gears is a game about Gnashers' based on that belief, and I would agree with you. But, it's not a game exclusively about Gnashers. There's valid arguments to be made for 'all Gnasher' playlists and special events, but overall Gears multiplayer, is not that experience."
Perry goes on to explain that it is better for skilled players to see less skilled players as somewhat of a threat than no threat at all. "If you're the one outclassed in a match, a game where you're never effective is one you won't go back to," he said. "You don't mind losing the games, but there has to be moments of success for everyone."
Despite the Gnasher Shotgun's strength, Perry doesn't believe it is "broken".
"My personal opinion is that I want a one-weapon game about as much as I want a fighting game with one character that everyone uses and is clearly the best. A variety of play styles makes the game more fun for players of all types, even Gnasher players who might not realize it."
Fans have complained that the Sawed-Off Shotgun allows new players to achieve cheap kills - the weapon is devastating at close range but useless at medium to long range.
Perry addressed this issue, denying the Sawed-off is the Anti-Gnasher.
"Hiding around corners isn't the sole domain of the Sawed-off, it's long been the tactic of Gnasher players, chainsaw fans, nade taggers, and nearly everyone who does anything besides run straight at opponents since Gears 1 was released and people realized the camera position meant they could get away with it," he said.
"'Beyond Melee range' is a term I wrote for 'the area very near a player'. I can see the confusion, and apologize for the wording; it's never been meant as a specific technical term describing a precise range equal to that of your weapon bonk. We would never include such specific data in the interface, as those attributes can change with updates.
"To call the Sawed-off the 'Anti-Gnasher' isn't quite accurate, maybe I said it in some random interview I don't recall, but that has never been the heart of it. There are people who simply don't get the Gnasher, and suck with it regardless of practice. The Sawed-off is meant to be an effective option for those players, a useful tool to keep in that half of the inventory, and a means of mixing up the combat."
In conclusion: "Stats still show the Gnasher is clearly the way to go for those skilled in its use, and that's absolutely fine with me. Just try to change your mindset a bit when the bottom couple guys in a match kill you once in a while."