Ahh, the humble spin-off. The proverbial and opulant risk for a successful series hoping to branch out into pastures new (just take a look at Battlefield Hardline and Yakuza Dead Souls for two very different examples of said risks). Back in 2013, Gears of War Judgment such roll of the dice. Co-created between Epic Games and People ‘Bulletstorm we love you, where’s our sequel’ Can Fly, the prequel changed up the classic GoW formula by breaking the game up into smaller sections and adding in an arcade-style scoring system. Thankfully it didn’t bomb, it wasn’t received as favourably as previous entries. However, the game’s unique flavour was actually intended to be even more ‘out there’ than the final product.
In the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine, former creative director (and current CD of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter developer The Astronauts) Adrian Chmielarz reveals he wanted make something with a little Hidetaka Miyazaki in its DNA. “I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to lead Gears of War: Judgment for almost two years – so many great memories of the screams and the guts spilled,” he says. “My only regret is that the game as released and the game I had in mind are quite different. We knew Judgment was a one-off, so I wanted to use that opportunity to take some risks. I wanted Gears: Dark Souls Edition, a really hard, nerve-racking, ‘blood, sweat and tears’ kind of game in which you felt exhausted after a battle. There was also one crucial innovative gameplay mechanic removed from the final release, and a few other mechanics and design points that were altered to be somewhat safer.”