New Yorker writer Tom Bissell follows game designer Cliff Bleszinski and his mates at Epic Games as they prepare for the release of Gears of War 2 (out this Friday).
The story line and the narrative dilemmas of Gears are not very sophisticated. What is sophisticated about Gears is its mood. The world in which the action takes place is a kind of destroyed utopia; its architecture, weapons, and characters are chunky and oversized but, somehow, never cartoonish. Most video-game worlds, however well conceived, are essenceless. Gears felt dirty and inhabited, and everything from the mechanics of its gameplay to its elliptical backstory was forcefully conceived, giving it an experiential depth rare in the genre.
The trailer for the first Gears of War is the best video game trailer I’ve ever seen.