When we booked our GDC interview slot with Mark Rein, Gears of War 2 was just an inevitability. By the time we sat down with him on the Thursday, Cliff Bleszinski had carved up the stage with a Lancer chainsaw bayonet and we knew it would be "more badass". With that in mind, we tried to prise some more details out of Mark and also talked about the new technology Tim Sweeney demonstrated for Unreal Engine 3 on 360, Unreal Tournament III's reception and Epic's future plans, and what exactly the PC Gaming Alliance - of which Epic is a member - is going to do for PC gamers.
Yes, we're doing Gears of War 2! Did you ever doubt that? It's been in development since before Gears of War 1 shipped.
No. I mean...you never know. No! No. No.
It's a good thing I didn't have that beer.
How it works with our engine is that developers have access to our Perforce database, so whenever one of our programmers in the office checks something into the engine and checks it back into Perforce, it's available instantly to licensees. Licensees have a total transparency into that.
Now, that doesn't mean [a new feature] is a safe piece of technology ready to go - what we do is usually about once a month we do what is called 'blessing a build' where it goes through a QA [quality assurance] pass and we have testers make sure everything works, and then we say 'this is a blessed build' and then we tell licensees it's safe for them to go off and take these updates.
No, it's all the same tech. If it's in the engine, it's in the engine.
Yahoo! The European one is actually a slightly newer version and we're going to have a patch to the US one to match it.
That's all based on their proprietary technology and tools. We're still begging and pleading with them to try and get mod support. It's getting increasingly less likely by the day. It's just the difference between the way their system works and the way Sony's system works. Look, our customers who buy our game will be fine. We'll get them something - I don't know what, or how much, or how often, but we'll try and deal with it as best we can.
Great. I don't have a release date for it if that was your next question.
I don't pluck. I'm pluckless. Pluck off.
Oh, this year of course.
We're doing it. It's going to be a really good game.
[Laughs] We had an executive review the other day and I can tell you it is definitely more badass. It's really good. One thing I can say is that compared to where we were in the February before we shipped the last Gears, the game is in phenomenal shape. There are some good surprises for people. We'll start talking about it over the next few months.
I have no idea. I don't think anyone's put a day in the sand.
We figure it out based on when we think we'll ship it. Right now they said November. I see nothing that leads me to believe it won't be November. It's in great shape.
It is a game. You will like it.
[Very long pause.] So what else is up? I'm not telling you anything more about Gears of War 2.
Yeah, those were just test environments to show off the technology.
Yep. Those are features that will be in our upcoming games.
You never quit! I love you guys.