Gearbox Explains Why ‘Brothers In Arms: Hell’s Highway’ Has Taken So Long

Next week, “Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway” will finally launch on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation. The week after, PC gamers can join the World War II party.

But, what’s taken Gearbox Software so long?

The latest “Brothers in Arms” was announced in April 2006 and scheduled for a holiday 2006 release. Then, it was delayed…and delayed…and delayed.

Almost two years after its original date, however, Gearbox’s shooter is finally done, which makes the game’s director, Jeramy Cooke, a very happy man.

In a phone interview with MTV Multiplayer yesterday afternoon, Cooke pointed to Gearbox’s ambitious for multi-platform development for the long wait.

“In previous ’Brothers in Arms,’ we had farmed out the PlayStation versions”

“This is the first time we have done a big, multi-platform game in-house, and it was brand-new technology, as well,” explained Cooke. “You kind of expect when you buy off-the-shelf software [Unreal Engine 3] that you’re just going to be up and running on all three platforms. We made a lot of changes to the engine, so each platform reacts to those changes differently. There’s a lot to follow up and that kind of stuff, trying to make it work right on all the different platforms.”

While the changes and tweaks made to the existing technology from Epic Games complicated matters, it was the PS3 version that gave Gearbox the most trouble. They had no experience on PlayStation hardware.

“In previous ’Brothers in Arms,’ we had farmed out the PlayStation versions to other developers who were PlayStation experts,” he said. “So we had to build up all that expertise in-house to understand that platform. There’s just major hardware differences; you don’t know if your Xbox guy has a hard drive but your PlayStation guy does, and you’ve got 8 cores on this machine and 4 and a half on this machine and some PC users have…who knows how many?”

Cooke said the game design was not the main holdup. “The actual game-side stuff was much easier because we kind of knew where we were headed with that,” he said.

Delays aside, “Brothers in Arms” looks really solid. We haven’t had a chance to play Gearbox’s latest too extensively, but that should change soon. Stay tuned.

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