The lights are on
In a recent interview with RipTen, Epic Games lead level designer on Gears of War: Judgment, Jim Brown, discussed the thought process behind the big changes in the latest installment. One of the recurring themes was accessibility. At multiple points in the discussion, Brown cites test sessions and communication from players as the reasons for streamlining the experience. This includes the drastic shift in control scheme, including moving grenades to the left bumper and eliminating the directional pad for weapon switching. The gameplay tuning methodology was changed in this iteration, bringing it more in line with other shooters.
In the past, the campaign weapon balancing informed multiplayer. In Judgment, the team decided to go in the other direction, leading to the notable removal of grenade tagging and the increased versatility of the Boomshield. Much of the interview was focused on multiplayer, including the removal of "down but not out" from many of the modes and the relative sparseness of game types. "There are gameplay modes we had in there that people just weren’t
playing," Brown said. "[They] really didn’t warrant the effort of us maintaining and
updating them just to have them ship again when people aren’t playing."
Of particular interest was the section of the conversation focusing on the shift from COG versus Locust to COG versus COG. According to Brown, in previous installments, win percentages ever so slightly favored the COG team. Following the change to red and blue teams of hero characters, the distribution is almost even.
For more on upcoming DLC, dedicated server access and interesting conversation on the open, vertical map design, check out the rest of the interview on RipTen.