THE BUZZ: Chuck Beaver—the story producer for EA’s survival horror series Dead Space—is not a fan of Gears of War. In fact, he says it has “literally the worst writing in games”.
EGM’s TAKE: Wow—those are some strong words. Not only that, but there was posted directly on EA’s official blog.
Beaver’s comment came in response to being asked if story can ruin a game.
“Story can only ruin a game for those people who care about story, so it’s a conditional answer. For instance, Gears of War. It 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.
On the other hand, you’ve got the Portal series, which, to me, succeeds at least as much on its writing as its masterful platformer level design.”
As a follow-up to that answer, the interviewer mentioned that it might just come down to the fun factor of the game.
“Yeah, that and the same filter you would apply to movies. Does everyone hate Transformers? Some yes, some no. Some people like brainless Michael Bay stuff, others hate it. The same thing will apply to us.”
To be fair, Beaver also admits to failings in Dead Space‘s storyline writing as well.
“[Laughter] Oh yes! We knew so little about story back then, and overruled our writers on a lot. Dead Space was just a simple haunted house story that we later pasted a personal aspect on top of – a lost girlfriend who is really dead.
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. 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.
Plus, we got lost a bit in complicated lore and plot elements that didn’t come through. And don’t even get me started on the final boss sequence that they put in without me in the meeting! That was fun.”
The interview currently is no longer live on EA’s blog—which, really, is a shame. Are Beaver’s comments a little feisty? Sure, absolutely. But it’s nice sometimes to see game developers have actual opinions on things, and not be afraid to express those opinions.