Gears Of War Multiplayer Almost Never Happened

A former Epic Games developer recently revealed that 2006's Gears of War could have never gotten its multiplayer. The team struggled to make it fun and even considered cutting the whole thing out of the game just a few months before launch.

Gears of War is much appreciated for its online modes and even treated as one of the core Xbox multiplayer shooter experiences alongside Halo. However, few of us know that back in the day, the developers were wondering if multiplayer was really necessary. According to Lead Level Designer Lee Perry (via Ars Technica), the studio was quite small in 2006, so while they wanted to include multiplayer "from a very early point," there were just not enough people to focus on that side of the game.

As a result, the team put off multiplayer level design until near the end of development, assuming it would be much easier to create than campaign maps. When prototyping finally began, the studio was drawing upon the most popular shooters like Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament. The developers quickly discovered that something felt wrong and soon put the blame on the fact that all of these games played differently than Gears of War. Instead of lightspeed encounters, the combat in Gears of War is more about tense, tactical, close quarters firefights over cover, so the whole thing needed a new angle.

Another problem was the imminent release which implied heavy summer crunch for the team in order to deliver competitive modes. At one point, when multiplayer wasn't coming together, the developers were openly asking "do we just cut this?"

They of course didn't. The team started designing multiplayer levels just for the signature playstyle in Gears of War, creating open spaces that allow players to control what's going on. "It's important to see what the enemy is doing as opposed to they just pop out of the door next to you," Perry explained. The online component was expanded upon significantly in subsequent installments, becoming one of Gears of War's biggest strengths.

Fans of the franchise will be happy to hear that Gears of War 6 remains in the works. The developer behind the game, The Coalition, seems to be collecting motion capture data for the upcoming title. Rumors have also been floating around to the effect that Gears of War is about to get the Master Chief Collection treatment later this year.

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