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The Bonus Round On Gears of War 2

The Gametrailers show Bonus Round ran a panel discussion on which would be the best shooters of this holiday season. The show began with the intent of being a mini-debate between Xbox’s Gears 2 and PlayStation’s Resistance 2. You would think this would turn into a partisan and contentious issue. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case at all.


It’s readily apparent that the panel members represent an Xbox-centric perspective. They weren’t evangelical or manipulative or anything like that and they are all clearly very knowledgeable and respectful, but it’s easy to see that they have an Xbox-orientation. Naturally, they all showed genuine enthusiasm and optimism around Gears 2 and were apologetic and politely dismissive about Resistance 2. Shockingly, as a huge Resistance fan, I agreed with most of what they said…

Jeff Gerstmann:

They could put out Gears 1.5 and most people would think that was a perfect delivery

Shane Satterfield:

Oh, of course it’s going to deliver. It’s another Gears game.

Even though I wasn’t really a big fan of the online, so many friends on my friends list were playing it that I felt left out if I wasn’t playing it.

Michael Pachter:

Microsoft is going to turn this into something that is going to sell 360’s. They’re going to put a huge budget behind it.

I don’t think that Gears is sufficiently different to drive sales. I think Microsoft is going to make it important. They are going to promote the hell out of it. They are going to make people aware.

Basically, they unanimously agree that Gears of War doesn’t need to innovate, the game itself isn’t particularly different from the competition and never really was, and that the game’s sales and the excitement surrounding the game are really about what Microsoft’s marketing magic can make the game into rather than anything related to game design or technology. Gears of War, Halo, and ultimately the Xbox platform itself are more of a socially engineered cultural phenomenon rather than a set of products or services.

Of course this isn’t exactly a revelation to anyone reading this. Message board posters everywhere have been making those same tired complaints for years and they are rightfully dismissed as haters. What’s surprising is that this is coming from the real core of the Xbox-centric media taste makers that played such a key role in the Xbox phenomenon.