Is it possible to copyright a game mechanic? Many have tried. At the dawn of videogame time, Magnavox sued Atari for copying its rudimentary tennis game to create Pong. More recently, social game developer Zynga, creator of FarmVille, sued rival Playdom for allegedly stealing the 'Zynga Playbook', a document outlining valuable concepts, techniques and best practices for developing successful online games. While the first case was settled out of court and the second continues today, as yet unresolved, the line between inspiration and plagiarism is a fine one, yet to be legally clarified with regard to videogames.
Nevertheless, to describe Quantum Theory as merely "inspired by" Gears of War would be untrue. While it's tiresome to draw attention to the great many ways in which Tecmo Koei's game apes Epic's multi-million-selling third-person action series, it's necessary. The game is, in terms of its raw mechanics, nothing short of a direct copy.
Peel away the visuals for a moment - the hulking player character and his squadron, whose boulder-like torsos throb with testosterone, first cousins all to Marcus Fenix and his cronies – and in the hands, each game's buttons map directly to one another. Raise one of your three equipped weapons – selected via the d-pad – and the reticule will tighten over your shoulder with easy familiarity. Run hunched while under fire and the camera drops, wobbling behind you, providing a war correspondent's view of the action.