From the Gears of War Hollywood launch party

By Spencer . October 26, 2006 . 7:18am

12AM PST on a Wednesday night. Most people are sleeping, but on Santa Monica Boulevard Microsoft is busing in gamers for the Gears of War launch party. After a truck ride to the crypt and playing a couple of multiplayer rounds I had a conversation with Preston Thorne the QA manager of Gears of War. We chatted about the production of Gears and I mentioned some of the criticism that one gamer voiced at the previous Gears of War event about the all purpose A button. In Gears of War players hold down the A button to do a “roadie run” where the camera shakes from side to side and you dash forward. If you run towards a wall or a barrier your character will automatically take cover as long as you are holding the A button. It is a different experience than a first person shooter, probably because Gears of War isn’t designed as a FPS. Preston explained, “Gears of War is really a second person shooter. People that come from Halo or Call of Duty 2 are used to jumping. Have you ever seen a soldier jump? No. They duck and run into cover. If you run out with your guns blazing you’re going to die really fast.”

 

Preston is absolutely right. Whether you’re a fleshy human Cog or part of the Locust Horde you can’t take many hits. There is no magic force field that regenerates every couple of seconds to protect you and even if there was a single run in with a chainsaw marks the end. Instead Gears of War relies on a team dynamic where you and a comrade should travel side by side. Covering each other is the obvious advantage, but pairing up in teams also gives you an opportunity to be revived by your buddy if you happen to get shot down.

 

While Gears of War plays more like an action game than an FPS it is commonly compared to Resistance: Fall of Man. Both have humans versus mutants and both are next generation gun games. One thing Resistance: Fall of Man has that Gears doesn’t are large scale battles. Gears of War only has up to eight players on a map while Resistance has up to 40. “We tried making bigger battles and it just wasn’t fun. Forty person battles have to be time consuming you’re going to spend five minutes running for a thirty second gun fight. In Gears of War when you respawn and you’re fighting in seconds.” As soon as you’re on a map Gears throws you straight into action and the maps are small enough where you’re going to run in your enemy quickly. However, if you’re killed during a match you have to wait until your entire team wins or loses before you can play again.

 

Since Epic is working with the PS3 hardware and the Xbox 360 hardware could Gears of War ever work on the Playstation 3? “256 MB of RAM makes a huge difference. There is no way we could ever do Gears of War on 256, we had trouble fitting everything on 512MB. We pushed the 360 to the limits.” Another member from Epic’s team chimed in with the fact that there are currently more Playstation 3 programmers than Xbox 360 programmers. “It (the PS3) is in our future. We always had plans for the Playstation 3 and an engine already runs on it.”

 

What about the Wii could a game like Gears of War work with the Wiimote? “I love the idea of the Wii, taking a paradigm and completely changing it. For shooters getting the accuracy is really hard. Graphically, we couldn’t even get he engine on the Wii.” Is Epic planning on supporting Nintendo’s console in the future? “Epic has no plans right now, but in the future who knows.”

 

Want to see what the party looked like from the inside? Check past the break for photos of the event.

 

 

 

Before going to the event we rode these trucks stamped with the Gears of Logo to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

 

The trucks brought us to the crypt which was lit up by HDTVs playing Gears of War and an aura of red light.

 

 

 

What the crypt looks like without the red light and those really are graves.

 

 

 

Some lucky people get to go to all of the Microsoft parties, these guys went to last year’s Zero Hour event and were at the Gears of War party.

 

 

 

This party didn’t have any official swag, but at the end of the night a few partygoers claimed the Gears of War posters straight from the celebrity photo background.


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  • http://www.zoglog.com zoglog

    gah! No swag! There was those nifty cocktail napkins lol………. I doubt those’d be very desireable on ebay though ;). At least there was OPEN BAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • Burnt Toast

    Dude, those napkins were killer.

    Yah, I guess the celebrity party was earlier that night and the community party was after midnight.

    While I had already played the game before, working the Texas Chainsaw event, this was a blast.

    Got my buddy Ryan, who doesn’t have a 360 currently, raring to get one before Gears is released.

  • http://thegamespoilers.com Louise

    I thought the multiplayer maps were a little too small. They look gorgeous, but I can’t imagine playing very many matches with those same maps. I would have liked multiplayer better if more players were allowed to join a match. 4 vs 4 on something that small gets tedious.

  • snake

    I think your information on the PS3′s system specs are a bit out of date, the Xbox 360 has 512MB of DDR3 ram, the ps3 has 256MB of DDR3 plus 256MB of XDR ram, XDR is faster than
    DDR3 so technically the ps3 has more ram than the Xbox 360.

  • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

    Just to clarify something I never said that the PS3 or Xbox 360 has more or less RAM. When Preston and I were discussing the PS3 I asked him if Gears would ever work on the PS3 and he responded with the quote about the RAM.

    You are right about having 512MB of total RAM in the PS3 it has 256MB XDR Main RAM for the main memory and 256MB GDDR3 VRAM.

    In comparison the Xbox 360 has 512 MB of 700 megahertz GDDR3 RAM shared between the GPU and CPU.

  • HaloSux

    Appart from the programmer that seems to think that 256 of graphics memory has mysteriously vanished from the PS3 it seems like we have a kind of confirmation that GoW will be comming to a PS3 near you.

    Allright!

  • king skins

    Also the chat about RAM, the PS3 is split between CPU and GPU as stated. So maybe his point about it not be possible on PS3 is that the CPU or GPU needs more that 256MB. So the engine and/or game in its current state would not run on PS3. Although this could technically be changed but you might have to make some trade off’s, i.e. Lower Res Textures, Les Geometry, Draw Distance, more streaming from the DVD, etc.

    And no, they haven’t used 100% of the 360 capacity. Never in the History of gaming has anyone maxed out a console with the first year of its release and now with the added complexity of multi-core systems its going to take even longer to max out the system.

    @ HaloSux: GoW is being published by MS, I really don’t see them publishing it on the PS3 as well. But keep dreaming if it makes you happy.

  • Tephlon

    I think you guys missed what he was saying, and the differences between 512 megs of dynamically shared ram (system and video) and 256 system/256 graphics.

    snake: The xdr is faster ram, but to say \”so technically the ps3 has more ram than the Xbox 360\” is not only plain wrong, its laughable. Aside from \’xdr being faster\’, the ps3 has other bandwidth issues that make that the extra speed pretty negligible compared to DDR3. Either way, your comment is simply untrue. Too much even, for jest or sarcasm.

    Secondly, like Spencer has already pointed out, that was the epic guy talking about \’only 256\’, not Spencer. He said that because it\’s true from his standpoint. The maximum amount of vram availble for the ps3 ever is 256. The 360, on the other hand, can dynamically use more for vram and less for system if it chooses, so they can use much more for texturing and such than 256. It isn\’t to say that the ps3 can\’t run the game, it\’s just that the texturing would have to be handled differently. Either way, he was just saying that they only have 256 mb of vram to work with on the ps3, which is true.

    halosux: trolling much? Epic is developing UT2k7 for the ps3 as we speak, and just got finished with GoW on the 360… so I\’m guessing he DOES know what he\’s talking about. You just took his comment out of context, like I explained above to snake.

    also, assuming, jokeing, or postulating that this means Gears is comming to the ps3 is downright awful. I can\’t detect sarcasm in your comment (especially provided your name is \’halosux\’), so I\’m gonna guess you\’re serious.

    Either way, you\’re wrong. Gears of War is published by Microsoft, and the game was made for them by Epic with a great deal of involvement on microsoft\’s part. The game CAN\’T be released for the ps3. MS basically owns it.

    Sorry.

  • Tephlon

    crap. king skins got to it first. but yeah, he\’s right too.

    touche\’, king skins. touche\’.

  • http://www.zoglog.com zoglog

    Man My friend kept on complaing about the framerates in gears that whole nite =p. I believe Siliconera was there with our coworker.

  • http://www.nig.com Nexxusty

    ” 10. zoglog Says:
    October 27th, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Man My friend kept on complaing about the framerates in gears that whole nite =p. I believe Siliconera was there with our coworker.”

    I hope to god it has good framerates. I am very dissapointed with Xbox 360 because of the framerate games hold, its pathetic. Anyone here play Marvel Alliance? That game should NEVER drop below 60fps and it does, alot. I own a 360 and personally if Gears of War isint what I have been waiting for I am selling it. I am so sick of this framerate shit, get it right publishers FRAMRATES MAKE GAMES GOOD!! #1 factor for me in a game, if the game has a bad framrate, wont play it. Missed out on Splinter Cell Double Agent as the framerate is unacceptable.

  • the man

    RSX can access both 256 Blocks of memory

  • killr0y

    Nexxusty, you must really hate the PS2 & Gamecube. 99% of all their games have even worse framerates! I suggest you quit gaming altogether if you think the Xbox 360 has bad framerates. And I don’t know who your friend is, but GoW has a pretty rock-solid 30fps framerate. This is very evident in all of the gameplay videos released on gametrailers.com… Stop being such a Sony fanboy.

  • snake

    According to the system specs the 256XDR is reserved mainly for the GPU but the CPU is able to access the full 512MB if needed.

  • http://migente Supergalactic

    WELL IT SEEMS FRAMERATE ISSUES WILL NEVER GO AWAY , 360 GOT QUITE A FEW IN THEIR GAMES. IT SEEMS NO MATTER HOW POWERFULL A SYSTEM GETS ITS ALWAYS GONNA HAVE THESE ISSUES.
    AS FOR GEARS OF WARS , IT REALLY SHOWS WAT 360 IS CAPABLE OF AND THE GAME FRAMERATE RUNS GREAT , THERE SOME MINOR BUGS IN THE GAME BUT NOTHING THAT RUINS THE GAMEPLAY.
    TONYHAWK PROJECT 8 A GOOD EXAMPLE HOW SOME DEVELOPERS ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH PS3 , THE GAME RUNS WORSE THAN THE 360

  • brennan

    i know this is late but just incase there are NO issues with fps in gears, it runs beautifully.

  • PS3rulz360suxbalz

    by saying the 360 has more ram than the PS3, you are basically saying that 256MB of ddr1 is the same as 256MB of ddr2. you all are a bunch of freaking morons…

  • KMo_9000

    First of all I just want to say that anyone who wont buy a Xbox 360 or says it sucks, halo sucks, Gow sucks because of “low framerate”(how the F**k do you see the fps when you play your games anyway?), or dis any of that stuff before you ever try it are complete morons.

  • KMo_9000

    First of all I just want to say that anyone who wont buy a Xbox 360 or says it sucks, halo sucks, Gow sucks because of “low framerate”(how the F**k do you see the fps when you play your games anyway?), or dis any of that stuff before you ever try it are complete morons.
    I bought GoW after reading reviews, watching movies and hearing all the hype from people who played it. I couldent find it for like 2 weeks after its release, but when i did get my hands on it I knew it was worth every cent.
    I have a 360, PSP, PS2, and a DS. If I wanted to i could buy a PS3 but there are no games that I want to play for it. The best game right now for it is Oblivion and I’ve been playing that on my 360 for months.
    Anyone who hates Halo or GoW or the 360 are just jelous because for some reason or another they cant buy one. Or they feel that having the most expencive console gives them the right to dis everyone else.

    And about the ram thing, it does not matter at all. look at how much ram the Wii has and compair its sales. Its all about games and as long as a console can support competative games people will buy it. Just stop arguing over things you have absolutly no understanding of.

    Who knows maybe I will buy a PS3 in a couple of years if some kick ass games come out for it. For now im just waiting for Halo 3, BioShock, Unreal 2007, Assasins Creed…

  • KMo_9000

    Halo Wars

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