Epic shares Gears of War insight and trivia at Comic-Con panel

Epic shares Gears insight and trivia at ComicCon panel

Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games, along with Production Director Rod Fergusson, voice actor Fred Tatasciore (the voice of Baird as well as "most of the Locusts") and writers Rob Auten and Tom Bissell all took the stage at Comic-Con 2012 for a panel about Gears of War: Judgment. The biggest piece of news out of the panel was that Judgment has a release date: We'll be killing grubs as Baird in the prequel on March 19.

The rest of the panel, however, contained a few juicy bits of Gears trivia, just for fans of the series. If you've lived and died with the COGs for three games now, read on.

A Next Generation Bayonet

The Lancer, that franchise's iconic chainsaw machine gun, wasn't created for Gears initially. "I wanted to see this gun in '98," said Bleszinski.

At the time, Epic was working on Overkill, and Bleszinski said he asked, "What would be the next generation of a bayonet?" The answer was a chainsaw on the end of a gun, and he showed off a few different design variations of the weapon, including one with a circular chainsaw tagged on to the end, and one that flipped out like a switchblade.

Healing from a Distance

Bleszinski thought of creating a pistol that could heal allies and revive people from a distance, but Fergusson shot it down after it was tested for a while. "I'd rather shoot people than heal people with a gun," he said.

Bleszinski got the last laugh, however: The idea has been implemented in Judgment, more or less, with the introduction of a healing grenade that also revives anyone it hits.

The Roly Poly Ticker

Another idea that never made it into the series was an armored ticker – a rolling, armor-protected version of Gears' annoying little self-destructive imps.

A video was shown with the armored ticker attacking Marcus Fenix in a test level. Though bullets bounced off of it, the force pushed the ticker away. In the end, said Fergusson, an armored ticker didn't feel as satisfying or as dangerous as the explosive one.

Fun Wins

One fan asked, if Gears of War: Judgment is a prequel, why there are more advanced versions of standard series weapons included in Baird's upcoming game. "We know that the chainsaw lancer did not exist at the time of Judgment [in the existing lore], but it will exist in the game," Bleszinski answered. Why is that? "Fun wins."

Fergusson agreed, saying that if there was ever a time where something that would be fun in the game bumped up against something more boring like continuity or reality, "fun wins." That's a rule the Gears series has had for a while, and it'll remain the case with Judgment.

Torque Bow Replica Incoming

In the past, Epic has released Gears of War replica weapons alongside new games, as pre-order bonuses or as separate purchases. The Lancer was created for real-life in this way, and the retro Lancer was the most recent special creation. Another fan asked during Q&A if there was another weapon tapped for Judgment.

Fergusson said there weren't any official releases planned, but that the replica creators for Epic were working on creating a "lifesized torque bow." At first, they'll just be creating it for Epic's own promotional use, but there's a chance that a torque bow replica will be available to sale to the public at some point.

Gears on the Big Screen

And finally, a fan asked about the Gears of War movie that's been a perpetual rumor around the series. Bleszinski confirmed that planning had slowed down a bit, but that he and Epic Games were aiming to restart the push closer to the end of this year.

"What would guys want it rated if we were to pull it off?" he asked the crowd just as the panel ended, and the audience responded with resounding yells of "R!" All except for one wisecracker, who snuck in an "NC-17!"