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Judge games on quality, not size - Epic's Capps

'Bigger and more badass' attitude to sequels ignores real innovation, says Epic president

Epic Games president, Michael Capps, has bemoaned the "arms race" in videogames development, saying it makes creating sequels tougher.

During his keynote speech on the development of Gears of War 2 at GCDC in Leipzig, Capps said that games that are judged simply by comparing the amount of content compared to rival titles can fail to reflect the true value of a good game.

"Making a sequel to a game is always tougher - especially given the arms race we're seeing in videogames development," he said.

"Games do not compete in fun experiences, they compete in the number of weapons, and unfortunately it's easy for someone to compare this game to that game, 'this game has 10 multiplayer levels but this one has 29. So clearly this game must be better'."

Capps added: "If you can imagine if movies competed in this way, 'Well sure Schindler's List was good but I know this three and a half hour long movie - think of the value you're getting for your ten dollars'. It doesn't work that way and unfortunately we still find ourselves competing this way... we have to compete in quality not size."

He went on to explain that this was even more of a problem when creating a sequel to a popular title, saying he was worried Gears of War 2 would fail to win the critical success of the original.

"As much as we don't want to play the game 'Call of Duty has this many guns and this has this many guns and how many will you have?'. You can't escape that comparison when you do a sequel... everyone expects more from a sequel, you have to."

"We're not scared to death that we're not going to make a game that is really, really better than Gears of War 1. I know its prettier, I know it's faster, I know it's more fun, I know it's likely to be longer and still I'm worried that we're not going to get the review scores that we did for the first one because everyone has these increased expectations... at least we decided we weren't going to compete in size with ourselves, we'll compete with other really new experiences," he said.

However, Capps did admit that Epic had set itself up making claims that Gears of War 2 would be "bigger, better and far more badass".

"Unfortunately... this was the thing we were shouting from the rooftops - so we didn't listen to ourselves, saying we were taking our last game and going to make it bigger and better, we set ourselves up for quite a challenge - of course we succeeded," he added.

Gears of Wars 2 is due for release on Xbox 360 this November.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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