The creators of Gears of War: Judgment believe that the Xbox 360 still has a bit of life left in it, even after being around for half a decade.
Many, including those at Crytek and other studios, have stated that the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 have run their course and exhausted all that they can offer, and are in fact holding games back from being better than they ought to be. If Epic Games shares their opinion, they aren't saying so publicly.
Contrary to what other developers—and mainly gamers—are saying, Epic Games lead level designer Jim Brown and People Can Fly art director Waylon Brinck believe that the console still has yet more to offer.
"I'm trying to remember if it was the transition between Gears 1 and Gears 2 or the transition between Gears 2 and Gears 3, there was like a million different changes to Unreal Engine 3 to get to that point," Brown told OXM. "When we first released Gears of War, the first one, people were like 'woah, they're pushing the Xbox to its limits, they're doing crazy things' - and every single time we've been able to step it up and find some corner of the 360 that no one was aware of and more areas for us to push."
"Right off the bat there were two pillars of the game that we had to support by optimizing like crazy," Brinck said of Judgment. "We wanted this to be the most intense game ever. More enemies on screen, more action, more dense action, less of that sort of downtime in between. We had to get those enemies in there, we had to stream them fast."
The developers explained how the game's position in the Gears of War story timeline obliged them to change up the game's aesthetic. In the original Gears trilogy, the game mostly consisted of shades of brown and gray to amplify its post-apocalyptic feel.
"We're pushing way more enemies, way more particles, the environments are a lot more dense than on previous games. Our rendering engine, we've even added a few new features that allow us to do richer lighting, more dynamic lighting, darker darks, brighter brights.
"It's the most colorful Gears game ever, which feels weird to say. But I think it also has the richest darkest mood out of any Gears game since the first one. So yeah, it was all hands on deck optimising this thing, we squeezed a lot more out of it."