When it comes to porting Gears of War to a new console, the less that's changed the better. In fact, we've gone hands-on with Gears of War Ultimate Edition and the fact that the only real changes are cosmetic makes us very happy indeed. This particular port isn't the product of laziness either - the decision to retain the original's recognisable feel was a deliberate one by studio The Coalition.
"The fundamentals of Gears haven’t changed," insists creative director Chuck O'Shea in the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine. "All the metrics and mechanics are the same. What Epic created initially has endured over ten plus years. There’s a magic there in what they created, so it wasn’t a lot of work on our part to make it better. It was more about finding rough edges and filing them off. There were things Gears of War didn’t originally do because they didn’t have time or they didn’t have the resources.”
The remaster now runs at a smooth 1080p and 60fps (althoughgetting the multiplayer modes to run at 60fps was the biggest challengeof all); the split-screen is now bisected horizontally to take advantage of large, wider screens; even the cutscenes have been given a new lease of life, with new animation techniques to give character movement and lighting a more dynamics. Yet, for all these changes, the central goal was to retain that GOW magic. "The original Gears of War really defined the first generation for HD gaming with Xbox 360," notes lead designer Peter Skude. "It showed us how beautiful games could be at that time. In bringing it back we really wanted to do the same thing for Xbox One."