“We’ve essentially pushed the hardware to its limit,” Adam Creighton, design lead on Gears of War, says

Does your shooter have a brain? Of course it does… and do the developers’ brains have eyes and thumbs too? Not quite, says writer and blogger Kevin Smith. Smith’s column for The Official Xbox Magazine, which was published today, digs into the development of Gears of War and the making of its brain-friendly allies The Coalition. Smith explains that the development of Gears of War came about in response to frustration from the developers at Microsoft who were “doing stupid things like executing the wrong enemies with the laser-guided guns!” “We got a lot of feedback from the players on the team that the enemies were so hardcore that it was hard to take them down, and we were at the point where we were like, ‘We know we screwed up, we’re not going to fix it, if you can find a way to fix it, please do.’ So, it was like, ‘All right, let’s make a super-smart enemy with a laser gun and then be smart about it. Or whatever it is people say it’s called.'” As a result of the feedback, the developers took the feedback on board, Smith says, and eventually came up with a list of what they wanted to do. “The list was: ‘Allowing enemies to be smarter was the core of the game, because if the player could do more to fight back, now they have more weapons. So let’s take more time to make it, let’s make the enemies smarter, better AI, make them more persistent and more AI.’ So those things are just things that were on the minds of the designers.” As a result, there are some changes to the enemy types, including a “more aggressive type of enemy,” plus a “more reactive enemy type so that they’re more reactive, more common sense oriented, more tactical sense so they’re more likely to use cover, and more tactical awareness so that when they do get into cover they’re more aware of their surroundings and more likely to move around quickly.” As well as a new enemy type, Gears of War is also being tweaked in regard to firefights. The developers want to make firefights more realistic by having you be able to commandeer an automatic turret, which can be upgraded with extra firepower. “The idea is that you could be covering fire from your turret and then pop over to this side of the enemy, and pop over there to blast them away and kill them as they run around the corner,” Smith explains. As for the “most basic stuff,” the developers have been able to push the hardware limits of the Xbox 360 to its fullest, with a lot of grunt and particle effects thrown in. “We’ve essentially pushed the hardware to its limit,” Adam Creighton, design lead on Gears of War, says. “We’ve done so much work that it’s just impossible for us not to have a game that looks amazing and plays great, no matter how you play it.”