Like rapidly condensing gravy fumes, mystery continues to swirl around the first Gears of War game for Xbox One. Will it prolong the franchise's love affair with chest-high walls, or will it concoct new ways to ruinate the Locust? Come to that, will the Locust return? Is there a spin-off TV show in the works? And is Marcus Fenix still the guy on the cover? Here's Rod Fergusson, top dog at new developer Black Tusk Studios, with a few thoughts on the project's general direction.
"It's the same thing with all sequels," he told us, as part of a wide-ranging interview in the latest issue of OXM UK, which are on sale now. "This isn't a great way of phrasing it but I always talk about shipping a sequel to customers as 'managing betrayal'. They want something new but they don't want something so new that it doesn't feel like what they want. But if you put out something that's very familiar and is the same as the game they just had, then it's like 'I've already had this. This isn't new enough.'"
Fergusson has previously suggested that Gears Xbox One could learn from Halo 4, somewhat to fan consternation - while enthusiastically received, the latter has attracted criticism for its relatively constrictive campaign playspaces and "Call of Dutified" multiplayer. He has also promised, however, that the key strands of Gears of War's DNA won't be tampered with.
"You actually have to betray them enough to give them something new and surprising but not so much that they disconnect, and I think that is a big thing that we have to focus on," Fergusson added. "It's how we can innovate and bring something new to the franchise while at the same time really proving that we understand Gears - that this is the franchise that you know and love.
"So I've already given multiple speeches to the team like 'here are the core tenets of Gears, here are the things that won't be changing, and here are opportunities for us to innovate that we think we can knock out of the park.'"
You might like to read our ancient but engaging chat with Fergusson about what the original Gears of War trilogy could have done differently.