‘It’s not a free choice,’ says The Coalition studio director, citing technical hurdles such as the amount of dialogue required

Rod Fergusson reveals why Epic dropped a female co-op character from Gears of War

The Coalition studio director Rod Fergusson has revealed some of the design decisions that went into the first Gears of War.

Fergusson joined Gears creator Epic Games in 2005 and served on the series as executive producer until departing in 2012. In 2014, Microsoft acquired the rights to the Gears franchise and appointed Fergusson to work on the third-person shooter titles once again, including the upcoming Gears of War 4.

Recalling the development of the series’ 2006 debut, Fergusson said that he suggested offering players the ability to choose between a male and female character in the game’s co-op multiplayer mode.

“When I first joined Epic, one of my first ideas I had for Cliff [Bleszinksi] was ‘Hey, how about we get to pick the gender of your co-op player,’” Fergusson told IGN. “So there’s Dominic and Dominique and you get to pick whether you want to play as male or female. Cliff laughed at me and we never did it.”

Expanding on the technical reasons why offering a choice of gender would have been challenging for the team, Fergusson said: “We would have had to write so much branching dialog, and we basically would have [had] to create two stories.

“Gears 1 was a trial by fire, and so to create one more scope by saying ‘let’s double the amount of dialog we need to have’ – it’s not a free choice.”

Gear of War 4 features a character of each gender in its co-operative multiplayer mode, with Dell and Kate experiencing different perspectives on the main campaign story.

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