Dead Space Developer Clarifies His Comments On Gears Of War’s “Atrocious” Story

Dead Space Developer Clarifies His Comments On Gears Of War’s “Atrocious” Story

Chuck Beaver has claimed his criticisms were “taken out of context”

Last week, Dead Space story producer Chuck Beaver made a comment on EA’s regular blog The Beat that Gears of War “contains atrocious, offensive violations of story basics. Yet it doesn’t seem to ruin it for many, many people. It’s literally the worst writing in games, but seems to have no ill effects.” The interview with Beaver has since been pulled from the internet.

Now Beaver has felt the need to do some backpedalling. In a statement posted on IGN, he made it clear that he’s a big fan of Gears of War, even if he isn’t so fond of its story. The statement reads:

I just wanted to jump in and clarify some of my comments that were taken out of context about Gears of War. First, let me say that I’m a huge fan. It is an epic franchise that has trail-blazed more than a few industry-leading player experiences and mechanics. It is deservedly recognized as a top-tier title. Its success as a property is evidenced by its giant sales and rabid fan base. The industry is far better for Epic’s contributions, and we all owe a great deal of inspiration to their work.

In the original interview, he wasn’t afraid to turn a critical eye on his own games, Dead Space and Dead Space 2. “Dead Space 2 was a huge challenge. All these elements from the original game that were poorly thought through, like the Marker Lore, Necro ecology, etc., had to move coherently forward into the next narrative”, he admitted. “The first story we had was a wreck of unrelated events and broken structure, so we cut our teeth getting that into shape, and didn’t fully make it”.

I understand his desire to contextualise his comments, but he is right: Gears of War does have a terrible story. It’s a shallow, meathead power fantasy that tries to awkwardly crowbar in sentimental tearjerker moments, and just ends up looking like a diluted mixture of Saving Private Ryan, Space Invaders and Starship Troopers. I know there are a range of spin-off novels and comics that flesh out the universe a bit more, but I’m talking about the game here. Maybe games like Gears and Halo that do most of their storytelling in tangential printed fiction should come with a label on the box similar to those “better with Kinect” messages: “better read as a book”.

Dead Space (which also deferred some of its back story to a series of comics and animated films) is no master-class in interactive storytelling either. Beaver said so himself. But it will be interesting to see whether Visceral Games takes its own criticism on board, and how it will affect the presumably inevitable Dead Space 3.

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