Wednesday, April 29, 2009

EXP Podcast #23: Gears of War Roundup

Well yippee-kay-yay, this week on the EXP Podcast we focus on big burly men with chainsaw-guns. Developed by Epic Games, the Gears of War franchise has found immense success amongst a variety of gamers. With a collection of books , a movie in the works, and an inevitable third game, Gears of War just seems to stick in our minds for some reason. Earlier this week L.B. Jeffries of Popmatters drew connections between GoW2 and the Iliad , the talented editors/contributors of Critical Distance chatted about GoW2 and ludonarrative dissonance (which Scott and I discuss briefly on this podcast), and I wrote my own Sensationalist piece on the game Monday.

Scott and I finished both games in the series on cooperative mode, much like Resident Evil 5. Though not as controversial as RE5, we still plumb the subterranean depths of Gears of War and find some "sweet" analysis of the coop experience, over-the-top storytelling, and how to make giant worms even more epic. Please share your own thoughts in the comments section, we love to hear them.

Some discussion starters:
- Do you think the Gears of War franchise is representative of triple-A games at large? Has Gears become cliche?
- Do you think Epic is wasting their time incorporating a serious story on top of the tone set by gameplay?
- Somewhat referring to last week's podcast, would you show a videogame outsider Gears of War to draw them into the medium?

To listen to the podcast:
- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show Notes:

- Run time: 34 min 40sec
- Music by Brad Sucks


  1. Great podcast again, guys! Excellent, and I mean excellent discussion of a number of the big issues surrounding GoW1 and 2.

    After this one was so goo, I can't wait for you guys to get into Far Cry 2. =)

  2. Oh and I forgot to mention - I wanted to share a similar story to the one you guys mentioned in the podcast where the emotion of the cutscene was destroyed by the in-game action.

    I was in the first area where you go underground and you find one of the carmine kids dead. I went up to him and Marcus & Dom were talking about how sad it all was and I, wanting to start some kind of interaction with the dead guy, pressed A and did a forward roll OVER his corpse.

    I just about fell off my chair laughing because of the madness of it all. Why the heck would the game LET me do that?!

    I think I eventually figured out that I wasn't actually standing near the right guy - it was just some other random dead soldier - but the image stuck with me. I did a barrel roll over a dead soldier in the middle of what was supposed to be a deeply emotional scene.

    I guess that kinda sums up that whole disconnect between the tone of the story and the feel of the gameplay for me. Dare I say that I experienced a touch of Ludonarrative dissonance? (Droppin' the L bomb) ;-)

    Thanks again for the great discussion guys. =)

  3. @ Ben

    Thanks for the compliment. I'm looking forward to Far Cry 2 as well, but I have feeling Scott and I won't necessarily be on the same page.