Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Locusts get the boot - A Gears of War Editorial

Sorry guys, you're all fired.
When people hear Gears of War the first things that come to mind are the Lancer, the Gnasher, and the big brutal baddies that terrorize, maim, torture and exterminate every human on the planet. The Locust are a powerful force to be reckoned with. They have guns, they have ingenuity, and they have gigantic beasts under their control. How do you look at the creatures of the Horde and not think "Oh shit, that is a 20 foot tall spider. I'm royally screwed. What's that sound behind me? They have a giant dinosaur too? With ROCKETS??? Yep, just gonna sit down and wait for me to die."

The same thing can be found in the multiplayer aspect of the game. Sharp teeth, thick hides and the looks of a homicidal killer would give anyone pause to chase one of these things down and execute em. But execute them we do. Chainsaws biting through bone, bashing in their skulls, maybe even tagging a frag to their back and watching em go boom. Those who love playing as the COG enjoy thinning the herd and giving em some payback. Those who like to play as the locust envision a complete and total slaughter of the surface dwellers. People have their preferences to sides, just as much as they have preferences of the characters on those sides.

With the newest Gears game, Judgment, we no longer have those choices. The locust have been fired, and in it's place, we have COG Blue Team, and COG Red Team. Are you kidding me? This almost directly copies all standard shooters nowadays. Red and Blue are the most common colors to differentiate teams, due mainly because of the contrast in colors. It's the standard for most games, not counting urban warfare games which use varying camouflage coloring.

Quinn Delhoyo, Multiplayer Designer at Epic Games gave one of the reasons the Locust were removed.
DelHoyo said fans didn’t love playing as the locusts, so they took them out of the competitive game, and replaced them with red and blue COG teams.
I would be interested to know where these statistics come from. Are we talking 60% of fans? 70%? 80%? What was your base figures? What kind of polling did you use? How did you calculate the overall decision to remove the locust from multiplayer? These questions have been asked over and over on the official Epic Forums, but no answer has been given yet. Hopefully the upcoming podcast will give us more information because at this time, the idea that the fans didn't like playing as the Locust is laughable.

Another reported reason is that the Locust noises sound too similar. This quote can be interpreted in a couple ways. One being the locust, apart from Kantus and the Queen, sounded too similar to each other. In which case the Therons disprove that, as they sound quite different from the Drone classes, and even amongst themselves. RAAM has a unique voice compared to the Therons. Drones are different too, with the Grenadiers having a significantly deeper voice. Another way to interpret it was that they sounded too similar to the COG. If that's the case it's absolutely ridiculous for obvious reasons. I have not received a response from Quinn regarding this reported quote.

Let's get onto the COG difficulty side of this. Before with COG vs Locust, enemies and friendlies were easy to tell who was who. Either shoot the guy with hair, or shoot the guy with a bare chest/covered in robes. How difficult is that? Now, we will have to take the time to actually see if it's a friendly or not. The armor color differences stand out, but not as much as is appropriate for the scenarios I can see happening. You hear a guy coming around the corner and you have a split second to react. Fire your boomshot and either end up with a kill or a wasted ordinance. Sound won't make a difference. What if you each have a Baird on your team? Not only that, what if there are 10 Bairds on the map? If the multiplayer choices aren't restricted, this could be a major problem. Sound won't mean a damn thing.

I'm not sure why they decided to remove the Locust, but I do know one thing. The feedback from the fans are not too happy right now. As for me, I miss my RAAM.

1 comment:

  1. The last 4 words sum up the entire story for me "I miss my RAAM" :(