Look, I know he prefers Cliff Bleszinski these days but when you're looking back at the original Gears Of War you've got to play things old school.
CliffB's been tweeting a ton of old info on the first game with the hashtag #GearsFacts and it's a gold mine of trivia. Here's my favourite:
Rod snuck in the SP fatigue meter when I was on a biz trip to fix streaming issues. I was furious. #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
Elsewhere he reveals that he'd wanted a chainsaw gun for a while before he got it in GOW, and the cover system was inspired by an old cult-ish shooter called Kill.Switch. That was the first game to really push the idea of cover shooting as a core third person mechanic.
He also covers pitching the original game:
Before I pitched it to Microsoft I did a bunch of pushups in the hotel and listened to Eminem's Lose Yourself because dudebro. #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
Pitching Gears 1 was hard. New IP, new camera, new campaign, new MP, new console, etc...On paper it was set to fail. #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
It's interesting to see how some of the stylistic ideas came about too. Anya's breast size was downgraded from her original "huge boobs", Carlos Ferro was cast as Dom because Cliff was "tired of hearing Speedy Gonzales voices in Splinter Cell games", and laser guns were taken out to give the game tech a more Vietnam feel.
He also admits that the idea of the Beserker being female and chained down for breeding was "pretty fucked up" in hindsight. Adding that he "was in a dark place". The game's tone apparently has an oddly personal source as well:
A lot of Gears 1's inspiration game out of my sadness from the failure of my first marriage and a visit to London. #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
Mad World was my anthem when I was going through the failure of my first marriage. Somehow marketing felt this and suggested it. #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
Finally there's some really nice insight into design ideas that did and didn't make the cut:
In SP the last bullet in each magazine is 25% stronger so the chances of "oh shit" fighting a bad guy are high in the game. #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
I wanted players to not drop weapons upon death unless you execute them as incentive. @EpicRayD shot it down. ;) #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
I always wanted a "long range revive pistol" in Gears but Rod always thought it was a dumb idea. ;) #GearsFactsAugust 25, 2015
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