CliffyB Talks 'Gears of War' Achievements, Ponders Real-life Rewards

gearsofwar.jpgAchievements just don't make themselves up. They had to come from somewhere.

First we had Robert Bowling, Community Manager at Infinity Ward, explain to us how the development studio came up with the Achievements for "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare."

Now continuing our on-going Achievement series, Cliff Bleszinski (a.k.a. "CliffyB"), Lead Designer at Epic Games, gives us a brief rundown via e-mail on the Achievements for the best-selling title "Gears of War" (which recently came out for the PC).

While Bowling was a fan of skill-based Achievements in "Call of Duty 2" and "Call of Duty 4," Bleszinski wanted to spread the Gamerscore love to not-so-skillful "Gears" players:

"A good achievement is one that rewards experimentation or unique behavior. Even giving players an award for even attempting to play a game in a cooperative fashion at its most rudimentary level is a great motivator for inexperienced gamers to share a title with others."

He also talks more about the hardest "Gears" Achievement and how there should be real-life rewards for high Gamerscores...

Multiplayer: What was your process for choosing achievements for "Gears of War"?

CliffyB: We wanted to encourage players to attempt a wide variety of play styles in all of the offered modes while reinforcing a good rewards system. Also, we wanted to make the gamers giggle with the names we picked for the achievements.

Multiplayer: What makes a good achievement?

CliffyB: A good achievement is one that rewards experimentation or unique behavior. Even giving players an award for even attempting to play a game in a cooperative fashion at its most rudimentary level is a great motivator for inexperienced gamers to share a title with others.

Multiplayer: What’s the hardest achievement in your game? The easiest?

CliffyB: The hardest achievement to acquire in "Gears" is the "Seriously" one. It is given for killing 10,000 foes in a ranked match and it takes a fair amount of time and dedication to accomplish. The easiest achievement in the game would have to be "Prison Breakout" – simply complete the tutorial level.

Multiplayer: Have you gotten all the achievements in "Gears of War"?

CliffyB: Over the course of developing the game I've acquired most of them several times.

Multiplayer: Do you agree or disagree with the opinion that achievements a cheap way to make a game replayable?

CliffyB: It's up to the individual developer to decide how to reward the player; if some choose to give points out to repetitive or boring actions then that's their design choice. I hope that designers will encourage fun and varied play from the players out there on Xbox LIVE.

Multiplayer: How important are achievements to you? Your game? Gamers?

CliffyB: Achievements are a nice gravy for Xbox gamers. Gamerscore provides a great way of sizing up and measuring which player is the most hardcore. From there a lot of community peer pressure arises and that keeps players playing our games which is a very, very good thing!

Multiplayer: Do you think real-life awards should be offered? Or are bragging rights enough?

CliffyB: I think it'd be interesting to win some sort of a real-life item for acquiring a certain Gamerscore – kind of like a frequent shopper club. But, alas, it's not my decision – this choice lies with the folks in the LIVE department at Microsoft. We'll have to wait and see what happens!

Got an Achievement on your mind that you’d like to know more about? Let us know!