In a recent interview with Microsoft Game Studio’s Ken Lobb, he discussed the new Gears of War that is in development for the Xbox One, the closure of Double Helix and more.
In an interview with Edge Magazine, Ken gave them us thought his thoughts on Black Tusk taking over responsibility for Gears of War IP, having just been acquired from Epic Games. “I actually have tons of respect for Chuck [Osieja, creative director] and all the guys up at Black Tusk. I think the reality is what we have is innovative Gears Of War. That’s what I believe they’re going to make” said Ken.
“They’re an internal studio, but the reality is it’s cool to have [an IP] that can be a grand slam right out of the gate. The concepts they’ve been toying with are awesome. You take what they were thinking about and their expertise on Unreal Engine 4, because that’s what they’ve been playing with since their founding, and really go with the IP. Again, this was a mutually agreed thing. It’s not, ‘Here’s this thing you must take.’ That’s not the way Phil [Spencer] works; that’s not the way we work.”
I am not a massive fan of Gears of War myself, but I have played most iterations and thought that they were well produced games. It will be interesting to see if Black Tusk can continue on the success of Epic’s versions of the game. A lot of people I know, did not particularly like the last couple of Gears games, so it may be worth Black Tusk reviewing why these weren’t as good and go from there.
Ken then went on to talk about Double Helix, who were bought by Amazon very recently, saying that “[Double Helix] gave us their best pitch for Killer Instinct and that was a prototype that was playable. I was deeply involved in Killer Instinct 1 and 2 working at Nintendo with Rare. I designed the core combo system and worked closely with them on basically every character on the game and all the animations. It’s an IP that I love dearly, both from the memory of working with these guys and also because it’s kind of fun to go to the arcade and win a lot.
“I was able to bring some of that back. [Creative director] Adam Isgreen ran the product internally, and we had a bunch of great designers working with Double Helix to make the game. That was a game where I went literally no more than two or three days without looking at it for pretty much the whole time it was in development. I love the genre, so I cared a lot about making sure the game was balanced.”
I really liked Killer Instinct on the Xbox One and although I didn’t think there was much content for it, it wasn’t a “full release” in my eyes, it was a lot of fun to play it and the characters were varied. It had that easy to learn, difficult to master feel to it that is generally key to beat ‘em ups. Hopefully Iron Galaxy, the team behind Street Fighter III: Third Strike, that is now in charge of Killer Instinct, can continue to build on this. Ken did finish by saying that Microsoft had plans for the series that ““players will be happy with.”
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