A few months back I played through each Gears of War game with my brother to get ourselves in the mood for Gears 4. All of them are a blast, but despite how much fun they are to play my brother and I agreed that – with the exception of the obvious graphical upgrades – there is actually little between them in terms of noticeable gameplay improvements. There were a few tweaks here and there that upped the tempo of the minute-to-minute action (as Epic were forced to respond to fan feedback), but nothing that was totally game changing.
It seems as though this opinion is shared with former Gears of War designer Lee Perry who had this to say when he recently spoke to OXM.
“If I had any regret, it’s not pushing the individual games to be different enough. We were on tight timelines with small teams, but I would have loved for each title to have added one new strong mechanic that’s truly central to how the game is played. We just didn’t have the time to push those new ‘verbs’ for the player, but we were also overly cautious perhaps about betraying expectations. If there’s anything I wish for the new Gears games, it’s that they find a way to make the gameplay new and fresh, while still having the flavour of the originals.”
Nevertheless, the Gears of War games were hugely successful and perhaps being so similar was a key to the success, as another former employee recently stated that “people don’t want innovation“.