Talking Gears of War 3 with Epic's Mike Capps

Behind the scenes in the Microsoft suite at Gamescom 2011, we're ushered into a room to await the arrival of Mike Capps, President of Epic Games, and Chris Kimmell, Executive Producer of Gears of War 3. Mike gives us a quick rundown of the latest Gears of War then takes to the demo chair to show us what a sharp shooter he is. Here's how our session went . . .

So what's Gears of War all About . . . ?

[Mike Capps] 'So, how many of you folks have played Gears of War in some incarnation? Alright, so Gears of War is a videogame! It's won a few awards, it's a third-person shooter and it's sort of a story about a band of brothers in the military who are trying to help humanity survive. Monsters come from beneath the ground and nobody knows why they've come, and they quickly almost take over all of humanity. So it's a story of the survival of the human race.

In the second game you're back down to the very last city that's protecting you, and at the end you realise that the only way to save humanity is to destroy the whole thing. So you do, which means that your last safe point has been destroyed.'

Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3 - Fenix glances at the flames

'So Gears of War 3 starts, and you're on a boat, the military is basically over, although you're a military organisation, you're trying to keep things together, but the government is dead. And if you've seen any previews, you'll know that the very first thing that happens to your boat is it gets destroyed! So now you don't even have a safe boat to be on! The Gears 3 story is about trying to find a desperate way to save humanity from this infection that's taking over the entire planet.

The Best Game Epic's Ever Made?

'In terms of the game, it's the best game Epic's ever made. It's the biggest game that Epic's ever made. We delayed the project a little bit as Microsoft had something they wanted to do, and we were happy to do it, and that gave us a lot more time to add to it.

It's a bigger campaign than ever before, we added four player co-op, we added female soldiers for the first time to the game. We added an arcade mode on top of co-op, so it's easy to play the game again and again for points, and those points feed right into our multiplayer experiences. So if you want to grind experience and medals, you can do it in single-player, co-op or multiplayer.'

Multiplayer: Dedicated Servers for the First Time

'On the multiplayer side, we did the beta in April and that was massively successful and really, really cool, and we did dedicated servers for the first time.

So yes, we have dedicated server support now for the game and that's been really nice and the players loved that during the beta. It went super smoothly, we had over a million players, 23 million chainsaw deaths, you name it. We tracked the stats really closely and we've learned a lot about what people liked and didn't like, and had plenty of time to make changes before we ship the game, so it's really, really polished and I'm super happy with it.

And all that statistics gathering is still in there so as the game launches we'll watch it and see what happens so if nobody's able to get kills with the Retro Lancer we'll tweak some numbers and keep this game alive for a long time.'

Gears of War 3 - Beastly multiplayer action

New Version of Horde

'On the multiplayer side we were very successful with Gears of War 2's Horde mode which is a co-operative mode were just waves of enemies come, and lots of games have made copies of it since then, which is cool! So the new version of Horde has fortifications where you can build turrets, walls, chainwire fences that sort of thing and defend your own base against the enemies. So that's really cool, it adds a little more depth to Horde mode.'

Now You Can Be a Beast!

'And we have the opposite of Horde, which is Beast, where you get to play as the monsters in the campaign and attack the humans who have built a little base. It's too cool to play as a Ticker, which is a little creature that scurries up and can blow himself up, running into enemy lines and blowing yourself up, like a kamikaze is a lot of fun. Or you can play the big monsters with guns and swinging flails, and all that. I'm really happy with it.

And of course, we've got the great multiplayer we've always had and some new twists there too.'

Gears of War 3 - hugely detailed environments

Gears of War 3 Demo Time

'So the demo I've got today is from the first act of the third chapter. Marcus, Dom and some of the other squad members were on the boat, while Cole, Baird and some of the other new characters were foraging for food, and eventually they'll all come together, but right now in this third chapter we're playing as Cole and Baird. So we're returning to Cole's hometown, you know the story and all, he's a thrashball player, and he gets to go back to town where he used to play professionally, go back to the stadium, that kind of thing. Alright, so I'm going to hop right into that then.

You can play different difficulty levels during co-op, which I love. I can play with my wife, and she was on casual and I was on hardcore mode. It was really fun, but I kept hiding behind stuff going "Kill the boss, kill the boss!"

Demo Transcription

<Game starts up, Cole, Baird, Carmine and Sam, one of the game's new female protagonists, are engaged in banter. Baird questions why they are there to find food, and Cole replies that they need to trust him to come up with the goods. They spread out and find a Stranded outpost, where they find a dead human, but no food. So they decide to keep looking. Baird complains that the area must be full of polyps, but the other character quietens him. They explore some more and find another outpost, but are challenged by a guard, who demands they step into a light, or they'll be shot. Cole intervenes and offers to trade with them for food, but the outpost haven't got anything to spare, but offers trade some bacon for the female member of the squad. Baird is all for the deal (he hasn't had bacon in months), but Cole politely declines and asks if there's anywhere else that might be willing trade. The Stranded point him to a warehouse downtown, near the stadium but warns that the area is crawling with Lambent. They decide to press on>

So I hope you can see that the level of detail here is even higher than Gears of War 2. It's the same engine but we've got some new lighting techniques.

<Back to the game, and the team come across an impassable gate. Cole laments the fact that Jack (the door-busting robot companion from previous games) isn't with them to open it, so Baird suggests they open it "the Delta way". Cole steps up and kicks the gate open, and they enter an abandoned children's play area. Suddenly, a massive tentacle shoots from the ground and the team are confronted with a monstrous new enemy. A fierce battle ensues as the team work together and pour fire on the new threat. It appears to recede and a few regular Locust grunts join the fray, but moments later the stalk forces its way through into a different area. They retreat through the streets, fighting lambent along the way, until the situation calms down again>

Gears of War 3 - The gang's all here!

So the characters we're playing with here, we've got Sam who's one of our new characters, and Carmine. If you know the story of Gears of War you'll know that the first two Carmine brothers both died in action in the first two Gears of War games and everyone assumes that this Carmine will also die. But we did a fundraising effort for Childs Play where we sold t-shirts that said 'Save Carmine' or 'Kill Carmine'. We haven't said yet what happens, whether he lives or dies in the game. We've actually built both to keep it a secret. But he lives through this bit!

So . . . How cool could Gears of War 3 really be? It is that cool . . . yes!

SKU: Features-150317
Release Date: 13/09/2011