After Rod Fergusson said goodbye to the Gears of War franchise and finishedBioShock Infinite in 2013, he had a number of opportunities in front of him, including working in the free-to-play space. He decided to join Microsoft to work on Gears of War instead because the mobile gaming market wasn’t his passion.
“My passion is about games that make a difference, games that can make a magazine cover, games that will move a person and has a meaningful story,” he told Motherboard. “It’s not a match-three game. I’m less about the distraction; I’m more about the entertainment and immersion as a game-maker.”
There are often reports about the stressful nature of AAA game development; long hours for weeks on end–“crunch,” as it’s referred to–is often the norm when finishing off a project. Video game developers are largely non-unionized, too, so some have questioned why anyone would want to be a AAA developer.
For his part, Fergusson said he loves the end product and the quality of it when it comes to big-budget games. He also said he enjoys being around the 300 or so people working at The Coalition and helping drive them towards a singular goal. He said it was a tall task to get Gears of War 4 ready for an October release, saying the version of the game in June during E3 still required a lot of “push” to get it done.
But The Coalition did finish the game, a development milestone even celebrated by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Also in the interview, Fergusson said the indie development scene is a “bit of an illusion.”
“You hear people talking about, ‘Oh, AAA and crunch, I’m gonna go indie.’ And then you watch the indie films and they’re all killing themselves [to finish their games], working 24 hours a day and sleeping in their parents’ bathtub. I get that hip thing. ‘I’m indie and I’m my own man, therefore I’m not going to work the hours I used to work when I did AAA.’
“The fact is, if you’re passionate about what you do, and you believe in what you’re making, and you want it to be the best it can be, you’re gonna work hard. It’s just a reality. It doesn’t matter what size team you’re on.”
Go to Motherboard to read the full interview.
Fergusson worked on all the Gears of War games at Epic. After leaving Epic in 2012 after seven years with the company, he joined Irrational Games to help the company finish BioShock Infinite. After development on the game was done, hequit Irrational in April 2013 and announced in September of that year that he would launch a new 2K Games studio in Marin, California. However, Microsoft apparently made a better offer, as Fergusson landed at Microsoft in January 2014 when the company bought the Gears of War franchise from Epic.
Gears of War 4 is an Xbox Play Anywhere game, meaning that if you buy a digital copy, you get access on both Xbox One and PC. For more on Gears 4, check out our previous coverage of its campaign, competitive multiplayer, and excellent-sounding Horde mode.