This past Thursday, Microsoft and EB Games held the consumer launch of Gears of War: Judgment at Berkeley Church in Toronto. The event was organized for 75 EB Games pre-order contest winners and their guests. Yours truly was invited to attend and enjoy the event, which included a mock trial, 5 on 5 vs, competitive OverRun game-play. and prizes for the top performers. Oh. And meat. Lots and lots of meat.
I was also lucky enough to score an interview with Paul Patinios from Xbox Canada. Check out the gallery at the end for photos from the event!
Interview with Paul Patinios
TT: Paul, you work for Xbox Canada, can you tell us a bit about your role there?
PP: Yeah, I manage games and accessories for Xbox Canada. What I mean by manage is marketing the games. I get them out to consumers via retailers.
What do you think makes the gears of War franchise so special that makes it stand out from the other franchises you guys have?
One of the things that makes Gears of War stand apart is I think it’s a little bit [more] relatable from an emotional standpoint. I think as people watch humans as opposed to aliens and with the humans defending their planet which looks very similar to Earth (Planet Sera). Us being in a Church1, looks like one of the scenes from planet Sera. So I think that’s one of the things that stands out. You feel the emotion when someone is looking to find their father or their lost spouse in defending their planet from an alien race I think there is an emotional element that a lot of other games and franchises don’t have.
That’s a whole lotta fans…
Marketing-wise, I haven’t seen or heard much about Judgment. Particularly in comparison to the launch of Gears of War 2, for example, which had a marketing campaign that included an advertisement that stands out as one of my personal top 3 video game ads of all time. I actually had friends email me after seeing the ad to say “We gotta pick that up. We gotta play it”. Not that there isn’t excitement around Judgment, but is there a difference in how the marketing has progressed with Gears of War, specifically for this launch?
I think the one thing we did even from the development of this game is make this a game for the fans. So I think if you look at Gears of War 2, it was more about broadening and bringing new people to the franchise. With Gears of War: Judgment, we said “this game is for the fans”. From the ground up we said we want a true Gears game; we want to also make sure we innovate on it. Because you don’t just want to be iterative and create the exact same thing so that’s why Gears of War: Judgment was made for the fans so we marketed it that way too.
In a few short words, what is your favorite thing about Judgment?
It’s harder and it looks beautiful.
There’s been some concern about the new control scheme, and from what I’ve heard the intent was to make the pace of the action quicker. Do you have anything else to add to help get us excited about this change?
Like anything, especially in the video game industry, change can be evil – but it’s not in this instance. If you’re used to the controls, it’ll be just like switching to a different game. It takes about 10 minutes to get used to it and it makes things easier. By easier I mean more efficient. Throwing grenades, switching weapons, reloads…it’s a lot more functional now and I think it’s an improvement. We’d never want to upset our fans and like I said about how we marketed it the fans are #1.
This logo is getting people very excited these days.
On a scale of 1-10 how much am I going to miss Marcus?
I don’t think you’ll miss Marcus that much. It’s a different story.
So Judgment is the first of a prequel trilogy2. Is that official, that it’s going to be another trilogy or are we not sure yet?
Nope, it’s not a trilogy. It’s a side story with Baird and Cole, who are two fan favourites. It also tells a bit of a different story because you feel the intensity of the day after Emergence Day. So aliens came out of the ground and these guys broke all the rules to try to defend millions of people and now you’ve got this judge who is telling them “you didn’t follow protocol”. You feel the intensity of people saying “you didn’t follow protocol” and others saying “our lives are at stake” so it’s a whole new story and that’s why it’s good not just for the fans but new people coming into the franchise.
With the next gen Xbox to be announced this spring, is there anything you can share or fans can expect for the next generation for the Gears of War franchise?
It’s an interesting rumour that there’s a new console; but there’s nothing to say at this point.