Interview with Cliffy B

Backtracking a bit, what ever happened to the four-player co-op you touted a bit for Gears?

Cliffy B: We talked about it a little bit here and there but ultimately we decided that we weren't just doing co-op in Gears, we were doing a story-based co-op mode for two players. So it wasn't just Marcus with a purple do-rag, it was an integrated story co-op.

Shipping with co-op, not only co-op but co-op that was story-driven, proved to be quite the challenge and we're really happy that it turned out that way. So I think we already went head and shoulders above what the initial spec was.

Four guys can team up and play against another four guys online and kick the shit out of them, so you can co-operate that way.

What do you think of PlayStation Home?

Cliffy B: I think PlayStation Home is very cool. This kind of psuedo Second Life-style setup and having a virtual space that I can call my own and invite my friends to hang out in or configure my character - it's neat stuff. Taking an interface in a 3D direction is always a good thing in my opinion.

Now that E3's down thetubes do you think there's a danger of GDC becoming more commercial?

Cliffy B: I think there's potential for GDC growing into a psuedo-E3 because people want to be around this business, they want to hang out with all the luminaries of the business and see the new technologies. It's possible that a lot of the spillover from E3 being down-scaled could turn GDC into a very big event in the next several years.

It could go either way. It could be cool if it's managed well or it could be a pain in the butt if it's not. It's not my call to make.

Do you think that's a good thing? It becoming a more consumer-driven event?

Cliffy B: To be honest I would love to see an E3 for gamers themselves more along the lines of people going to Penny Arcade Expo. I love meeting with gamers and aspiring developers at these conferences but at the same time things can get very crowded and that becomes very difficult. That's what happened at E3.

We are here [at GDC] to do business and I think there are separate venues for aspiring developers, existing developers as well as fans of games. I think having that split little more clearly defined would be really good.

So... UT or Gears?

Cliffy B: That's like asking a parent which child is the coolest. You know, Billy's good at soccer and Joey's good at football - or depending on what country you're from and what you call it. I guess it's a question of asking each gamer what he likes better, first- or third-person.