The Toy Story series, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Up; when you think of these movies you probably can’t help but think of all the loveable characters that the production studio Pixar has brought to life. Filled with inspiration and life lessons for both the younger and older audiences, Pixar films are reveled as being treats to both children and adults alike. Surely, than, it is because of the film studio’s successful narratives and vast range of characters that brought the staff at Epic Games to attend a workshop help by a Pixar story director.
There’s no secret behind the lack of a fleshed out plot in the Gears of War trilogy. While many were able to overlook this shortcoming, some stuck true to their beliefs and chastised the series for being nothing more than a mindless blood-fest. With Gears of War: Judgment in the workings, Epic, whose current library of games have typically lacked a good solid story, seems to be looking for a change of pace.
At the Pixar workshop, the crew of the infamous game developer learned the staple tips and tricks for strong story and character development from members of the CGI-centric production company. “We’ve been trying to improve on storytelling since we started,” production director Rob Fergesson explains, “And this seemed like a natural way of getting a little bit of insight into how what we consider to be the best in the industry.”
The Gears of War trilogy began with as a story that amounted to little more than one army facing off against another. The characters were not fleshed out beyond the typical “muscles with a voice” action hero stereotype. By the close of the 3rd installment, there was a definitive main antagonist with an agenda all her own that linked to the games main character, Marcus Fenix. Things were fleshed out a bit more then what was expected from the title, but it did little to make up for the lack of structure in the 1st and 2nd entries.
With the entire history of Gears of War: Judgment’s Sigma Squad to flesh out, Epic may have their work cut out for them. Since the release of Gears of War, novels and comics have created an entire universe that, for fans to remain pleased, should remain in tact throughout the tale of Damon Bard’s ill-fated squad.
Whether or not the movie studio’s workshop was able to instill a little bit of the storytelling bug into the action-centric game developer may not be evident until Judgment’s release. The question that should weigh on the minds of Epic and co-developer People Can Fly is whether or not the inclusion of a stronger story and meatier character personalities will take away from the series staple mindless action that most fans grew to love; or is this the change needed to refresh the series.