CliffyB on Gears' film prospects

Plus: characters, multiplayer, downloadables and achievements.

Cliff Bleszinski reckons the only way Gears of War would become a film would be if "the absolute right people were attached who understood not only the game and its universe but also the (hopefully!) rabid fanbase that we'd like to acquire".

Speaking to Xbox.com, Gears' lead designer also explained how certain characters came about, talked about the decision to include multiplayer, hinted at how some of the game's 360 achievements will work, and even revealed that the game's locations drew inspiration from St. Paul's Cathedral.

"I kept pushing for beautiful environments; you can have a post-apocalyptic world but why does it always have to be boring industrial buildings and concrete bunkers?" he asked rhetorically.

"One of the most inspiring moments that really secured the idea of this European influence on the architecture happened one day at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London," he added, directing readers at one of his personal photographs of the London skyline.

Certain elements of the design drew inspiration from closer to home. "Your best friend in the game, Dominic Santiago, is somewhat based on one of our artists named Danny Rodriguez," Bleszinski reveals.

"They say 'do what you know' and that's what we set out to do. We knew we wanted the main anti-hero of Marcus - sure he's gruff and a badass but he's smart as well. Dom is the best friend, we've also got the asshole of the bunch - a guy named Baird and then there's the one and only Augustus Cole aka the 'Cole Train'. He's a former Thrashball champion and he seems to love fighting the war."

We're also told that despite its inclusion now, multiplayer "wasn't a huge priority initially". "We knew we wanted to push a cinematic single-player experience that you could play with a buddy. After a while we realized that people come for the single-player and co-op and that they stay for the versus so we started pumping effort into the versus."

Obviously that's something Epic, creator of the Unreal Tournament series, knows a bit about. So is there a difference between the Gears characters and the Locust hordes they're up against in multiplayer?

"The difference is primarily cosmetic," we're told - "we simply wanted to leverage the war in the Versus realm. I prefer to play as the Locust because whenever you pull off a successful Active Reload you get to hear your character make a sinister chortle."

It wasn't all revelations though - Bleszinski says they're keeping quiet about vehicles for now - but he did hint that we can expect Gears to take advantage of the downloadable content aspects of Xbox 360. "No promises here," he noted, "but I can assure you that I'm as addicted to Marketplace and Live Arcade as the rest of you. And now you can finally download stuff and play another game!"

Finally, there's good news for those of you farming gamerpoints. Gears will certainly keep up the tradition, with hidden "Cog Tags" to find for achievements.

Gears of War is due out later this year exclusively on Xbox 360.

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