Gears of War 3's executive producer Rod Fergusson reckons that Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago and their barrel-biceped cheerleading squad are "the best cast in videogames".
"I think people don't realise the calibre of acting that can be in videogames, and how much they push it," Fergusson told us in the recently reborn OXM Podcast. "Our cast I think is probably the best cast in videogames, but obviously I'm biased.
He had some fascinating thoughts on the production of Gears 2's Maria Santiago death scene, increasingly touted as one of this generation's iconic moments.
"That was even emotional for [Dom's voice actor Carlos Ferro], that was one of the things that was really cool," Fergusson reflected. "Being involved in every voiceover situation for all three games, and having to prepare for that scene, and having to turn off the lights in the studio so he could get into it, and actually having him cry in the studio over it.
"One of the things for me is, I see that scene and I don't just see Dom, I see Carlos in the studio, having that effect. We have an editor who types things up, so when the actors ad lib we can resolve it with the script, and she was crying too."
"It can definitely get pretty intense, when you're trying to get those kinds of emotional scenes," he said. "In certain cases there are those argument scenes, like when they're trying to work out whether to go save Maria or not - we brought both actors in to have that fight in person."
"It's hard to do that back and forth when you're saying 'OK, now listen to what he recorded three days ago and match it'. So having them both in the studio having that fight was really strong too."
Do you agree with Fergusson's confessedly self-interested assessment of the Gears crew, readers? There are certainly more sophisticated specimens of game characterisation, but we think he has a point nonetheless. No virtual roughneck outfit has quite warmed our hearts like Delta Squad.
There's tons more in the podcast. Seriously, download the thing and take your lunchbreak early.