Phil Spencer Originally Wanted Gears Of War To Be More Horror

Cliff Bleszinski has revealed that the Xbox head wanted more horror elements in the franchise when Microsoft first acquired it.

Story Highlights

  • Microsoft’s take on Gears of War was supposed to return to the franchise’s horror roots according to Cliff Bleszinski.
  • Phil Spencer wanted the games to be more horror after the acquisition.
  • He also talked to Rod Ferguson about going back to the horror stuff.

Cliff Bleszinski, the creator of Gears of War, has disclosed that Phil Spencer initially wanted the franchise to have more horror elements. In an appearance on the XboxEra Podcast, Bleszinski said horror was Spencer’s main concern. When Microsoft acquired the IP, he even talked to Rod Ferguson about it, as the creator says from 49:02 onward.

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The Xbox head wanted the next Gears of War titles to bring the sense of fright the original had. Considering how the two games from the franchise that launched after the acquisition weren’t horror, his ideas probably didn’t see the light of day.

Bleszinski talked about how he made the first Gears of War an “Intimate combat” game inspired by Resident Evil 4. However, the sequels in the original trilogy couldn’t retain this aspect due to struggles with Epic Games. As per the creator, he wanted the Locusts to sprout wings in the second game.

But, the creator said studio interference meant Gears of War 2 had to remove this in favor of robots. The sequels in the original trilogy didn’t retain the frightening nature of the first game as they put more emphasis on the action.

While replying to a question from Jon Clarke regarding the horror aspect, Cliff Bleszinski explained how Phil Spencer was looking to bring it back.

That was Phil Spencer’s main note when Microsoft acquired Gears of War IP. When he was talking to Rod Ferguson, he said let’s get back to the horror stuff.”

Fans of the Gears of War series will know how the opposite happened with Microsoft’s iteration of the franchise. Xbox hired Canadian video game developer The Coalition to manage and develop the next games in the series. But, instead of upping the horror to match the first game, it toned it down even more.

Gears of War 4 doubled down on the lighthearted action-shooter facet rather than the horror one. Instead of being a linear horror-shooter game, the fourth game was more of a colorful third-person shooter adventure. Many fans of the franchise hold similar views concerning the last 2 games.

The 5th game in the series strayed farther away from this with its semi-open-world game design. Cliff Bleszinski admitted that both of the titles were stunning during the podcast. In his words, the series creator said,

Whenever my wife streams Gears 5 I look at the multiplayer maps and they look f**king beautiful.”

Bleszinski followed it up by saying how he yearns for the “melancholy and isolation” of the first game to come back. He also pointed out how the first trailer of Gears of War 4 promised this. For one reason or another, however, Microsoft’s first attempt at the franchise didn’t return to its roots. 

Cliff Bleszinski also mentioned how the return to frightening action-horror also helped Dead Space succeed. In addition, Resident Evil going back to the original’s theme, also resurrected the franchise. Hence, the creator is not wrong to predict that Gears of War 6 will win over fans with a horror-oriented approach.

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No one knows why this didn’t happen with the fourth and fifth games, especially with Phil Spencer’s liking for the horror elements. But we hope the next entry in the Gears of War franchise will embrace the frightening aspects of Sera.

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Ahmed Mansoor is a News Writer who has a deep passion for single-player adventure games. He loves to keep tabs on the gaming and technology industries and loves to break stories that interest his audience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and several years of experience writing for games. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Written 600+ News Stories.

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