SB: What other changes are in store?
JB:All o the classic weapons we've had in the past titles are coming back. We have made tweaks and refinements to various things. The biggest change being our weapons. You always start with a rifle in Gears. In Gears of War 2 we let you choose between the lancer, which had the chainsaw bayonet on the front, and the Hammerburst, which was more of a burst fire weapon - well originally it was a burst fire weapon, but became...well, it's a long story.
We've added a third rifle for this one, which we are calling the Retro Lancer, which in the fiction of the universe was the Lancer before they added the chainsaw. It's kind of like an old model rifle with an actual knife bayonet on the front. According to the fiction, they were using these rifles against the Locusts but the Locust skin was too tough and the knives were breaking quite often. I think it was Cole who suggested adding the chainsaw.
SB: Very sensible.
JB:It's a plot point. Very important.
We've always had trouble balancing those rifles online because they didn't have a specific role. So we wanted to give each of those rifles a very specific role within the universe. The Retro Lancer, the new one, has the bayonet on the front. It has a special attack where you can get down and charge someone. Once you build up enough speed and momentum, you hit them and they're dead. You lift them up in the air and shake them. The gun itself, while extremely powerful is made to be used only at short range. It's very powerful with a wide spread and not a lot of kick. It's not accurate, but it's powerful.
The Hammerburst, we added an iron sight scope to, so first person shooter people will be able to grasp that really quickly. You pop it up and you can look straight down the line of the gun. That one is very accurate and is made to be used at long range. It's a little bit slower to fire, but you can hit people at a distance with this gun.
The Lancer, of course, is right between the two.
So we have short, medium and long range, and lots of other tweaks and refinements to other things. The main thing is that each of those has a very specific role. You can swap between them now not only before you go into a round, but before you resapawn. You can say, this is my favorite rifle and if you get in to a big map and need a long range rifle, you can swap to a new gun the next time you spawn.
Another thing we added was a sawed off shotgun, so you now have shotgun options as well. You start with your primary rifle and your secondary backup is your shotgun. The sawed off is kind of what you'd expect from a sawed off shotgun, in that it has a humongous wide spread that will blow up anything it touches, but it only goes so far. We like to jokingly call it the "Bad Touch" gun because if you're not close enough to touch someone, you're probably not going to do a whole lot of damage to them. You'll do some, but it won't be the spectacular explosion you expected.
SB: The new beta has a leveling system too. What's with all these ribbons and medals?
JB: We realized one of the things that we were really missing was keeping people playing so we added this leveling system and it's worked out really well for us, but since we tacked it on to Gears 2 it was never really a flushed out feature. Gears 3 supports it in every way. So here you can see your gamer tag, your experience, to next level, level 4, matches play, execution, all that kind of stuff. And then you can tab over where we have ribbons, characters, executions, and weapons.
So ribbons are basically awards you can get for doing cool things while you're playing around: a double kill, group head shot, be the first to get a kill in Iran-they're just kind of little awards. For every ribbon you get, you get bonus experience. These kind of encourage you to try and do special moves or try out cool new things. These are all things that happen in the context of a specific round, essentially.