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Gears of War Originally Started Off as Battlefield-Styled Shooter With Class-Based Mechs

Gears of War franchise holds a sacred and exalted place in my heart for it was one of the first games that I played on Xbox 360. Its compelling story-telling, brilliantly fleshed out characters, fast-paced action, and brutal themes kept me hooked for years for it was a novel journey never experienced before.

And all of this wouldn’t have been possible if the game was just another shooter and not what we today know as Gears of War.

The reason I’m saying this is because when the franchise started, it was nothing like GoW, but a class-based shooter somewhat resembling Battlefield.

Unreal Engine lead programmer James Golding told GamesTM that the original idea for GoW was to have classes, mechs, and to be a game which was heavily multiplayer focused. The idea was to call it Unreal Warfare which would pit players against other humans/bots in a massively multiplayer arena.

However, the idea of Unreal Warfare was put on hold while Epic directed their attention to Unreal Tournament ’03, ’04, and Unreal Tournament III. And after all those years, when Epic returned to Unreal Warfare, they realized the changes that the industry had gone through:

Because we’d been working on Unreal Tournament 3 before that (and then Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004) by the time we came back to look at Unreal Warfare, it’d been a couple of years and the industry had completely changed.

We saw the rise of more single-player and campaign-based games, so we took Unreal Warfare back to the drawing board – it became just ‘Warfare’, got another name, then another name (but we always kept the ‘War’ part – that stayed!).

So the studio tried out a bunch of new things ranging from characters to weapons and whole idea of Battlefield-styled Unreal Warfare transformed into Gears of War that we know today – having an equally brilliant campaign and multiplayer components.

Now, here we are after 8 years and 4 instalments with Microsoft having acquired the rights to the franchise and Black Tusk Studios handling the next game which is expected to hit Xbox One during an unknown release window.