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The Lancer – What Might Not Have Been

July 26, 2013

It’s an instrument used to tear through armor and slash the confidence of the opposition.  The mere revolutions of its teeth send a chilled gasp from the throats of enemy players, who run seeking immediate shelter.  The Lancer—an assault rifle with gritty attitude.

Today it may be the standard rifle for COG soldiers in Gears of War, but this groundbreaking and iconic weapon in the gaming industry almost did not make the cut.

Can you believe the Lancer almost didn’t exist?  I know, right?  Don’t you agree that Gears of War would not be the same without it?  The satisfying sneak attacks, the focused animations, and the millions of facepalms heard ‘round the world would not be happening right now!  Let me take you back (cue Back to the Future sound):

Before the first Gears of War installment ever hit store shelves, there was a debate as to whether the Lancer’s saw feature should even be included in the game!

Some argued that it was too gruesome.  Others said that the saw could set the Lancer apart from every other rifle out there.  You guys may actually remember watching this face-off on MTV’s “The Race to E3” special.

I guess you know the outcome of that discussion: Blam! Saw wins!

They decided to put the Lancer in the game – with saw attached  – but now what should it look like?  I had the pleasure of attending a Gears of War panel at Dragon*Con last year in Atlanta.  Jim Brown was there from Epic Games showing off some gameplay from Judgment and some other never-before-seen little goodies.  Among those trinkets, he discussed the evolution of this trailblazing weapon.

I could not believe all the other models of the Lancer that were shown.  I said to myself with each turn to the next slide, “Well that was an interesting idea, but I am so glad that didn’t happen…”  One of the first slides was the Lancer naked—without a chainsaw attached. It was like ketchup on your ice cream; just really weird.  Another prototype had a buzz saw attached just under the barrel.  “Sweet pizza cutter”, I thought to myself.

Slide after slide, it just became clear how much of a process making weapons actually is and how much I really appreciate the outcome.  Somewhere, someone at Epic trusted their gut and went with the Lancer design we know now… or maybe they were just really good at arm wrestling.

When people think of Gears of War, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Lancer – I know that’s the first thing I think of… Okay you got me: I think of Baird first.  But the first weapon I think of is the Lancer.  What would Gears be like without this brush of carnage painting the faces of the Locust?  What would I use to haunt you during those hours gaming with your buddy from work, or during sleepovers? Our Gears world would definitely be a different one.

Lancers Up!

Story written by Brittality

Source: EpicGames


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