Epic Games has received storyline guidance for Gears of War: Judgment from an unexpected source: award-winning animation studio Pixar.
Epic has been trying to improve storytelling since the original Gears of War, and spending time with Pixar was a logical way to do so, said production director Rod Fergusson.
When it came to storytelling, the Toy Story creators were the best in the industry, he said.
Epic's one-day workshop with Pixar covered content such as the controlling statement, character breakdowns and arcs, storyboarding, and motivations.
The game studio's goal was getting these things across without breaking up gameplay.
“How else can we tell a story besides locking you into a cinematic?" asked Fergusson. "Games are becoming more of these linear experiences where it’s ‘go down a hallway play a cinematic’. We’re trying to break free of that.”
Cutscenes were not the way to go in an action-heavy title, he emphasised.
“When you’re in the heat of it – when your hands are sweating and your pulse is pounding – we didn’t wanna have the ‘controller down’ moments.”
Epic's solution was embedded storytelling – leaving narrative clues within the environment, as well as using voiceovers.
Characters would also comment on choices made by the player within the game, as repetition was key to storytelling, said Fergusson.
Gears of War: Judgement is slated for a 2013 release.