Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski’s nightmare scenario is if he were to wake up one day and be fired from Epic Games. While Bleszinski says the prospect of this would be terrifying, he also knows what he’d like to do if he ever left Epic: be a consultant to help Japanese developers make their games more global.
It’s a fact, by Bleszinski’s own admission, that Epic’s hit Gears of War series was inspired in part by the strides made by Resident Evil 4’s over-the-shoulder view and pacing. Bleszinski’s love for Resident Evil is still strong, as is his love for horror games like Fatal Frame and Silent Hill. “I will never forget playing Fatal Frame II, where I had to pull my feet up from underneath the sofa, because I was afraid a ghost would grab me,” he shares in an interview with Gamasutra.
Bleszinski says he’d love to work on a horror game himself some day, where the player can feel just as scared, but also feel empowered like in Resident Evil 4.
“I think the proper way to do that—if I were to work on an RE game, hypothetically—would be to alternate between those moments,” Bleszinski believes. “Maybe do an RE game where there’s two kinds of characters—you know, you’ve got a Leon-type guy, and then mix in a scared little girl, and so you alternate between the empowerment and the fear. We had a little bit of that, actually in Gears 1, right? And I think you can pull that off, and then maybe have a choice, even, and you can appeal to two types of gamers.”
As for Japanese developers in general, Bleszinski’s advice to them would be not to ignore multiplayer. “I’m not saying tack multiplayer onto every game,” he clarifies. “But for instance, Shadows of the Damned, that was a wonderfully crazy adventure, the dialogue had me laughing out loud, just even the key-door systems in there; it was a beautifully crazy game with really fun gameplay, but no multiplayer co-op experience in there.”
He reiterates: “I’m not saying tack on a versus mode; there’s a billion different ways you can do some sort of ‘players interacting with other players’ mode.”
Another multiplayer idea from Bleszinski: “What if I had a Fatal Frame where anonymous people could join my game and be ghosts and try to scare the crap out of me, and then I rate how well they scared me? Basically a fancy hide and go seek.”
Bleszinski also expresses admiration for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls as games that have inventive multiplayer. “That’s ironically one of the most innovative games with what we call “mingle player” that has had those kinds of blending and blurring of single player and multiplayer—and it came from Japan!”
Coming full circle, what game is Bleszinski particularly disappointed didn’t have a multiplayer mode? Vanquish, the stylish third-person shooter designed by Resident Evil creator, Shinji Mikami.
“I’ve often said on record that if Gears is the kind of Wild, Wild West coal train chugging along, then Vanquish is the Japanese bullet train, with style and everything,” Bleszinski says. “There is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t have been zipping around, doing the mega slides, diving up in the air in an arena with other players.”