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Interviews

Warhammer: Space Marine - 'Gears of War comparisons are flattering, but we're unique'

Pt. 2 - Relic on Gears, PC gaming, LA Noire, Valve and more...

In part one of our interview with Space Marine game director Raphael van Lierop we talked about what stage in development Relic was at with its new Warhammer title, as well as what the newly announced Chaos race would bring to the table.

In the second part we take a look at the wider gaming world and talk about everything from being compared to Gears of War, to Relic's impression of Valve and the iPad....

Gears of War is thought of as your natural competition, do you think you can compete with Gears and what do you personally see as competition?

I think we're very aware that we've stepped into the most competitive genre there is with our game. We believe we've got a very unique experience that we're offering with Space Marine. We've got a combat experience that is very different from anything else out there. We've had a lot of validation playtesting and even early press feedback that the game does truly feel like its own thing. It doesn't feel like a rip-off of another existing game, it really feels like something unique and of its own.

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We feel confident we can put a game out there that is polished, entertaining, that has all the aspects of the big blockbuster experience that we think the core gamers are looking for. We can present it also as something fresh, so we feel that we definitely have something that can be competitive with everything else on the market. The combat system in particular we think is quite fresh, it's definitely different from what a lot of third-person action games are doing right now, the blend of melee and shooting is definitely an interesting element of our gameplay and we think it creates a combat experience that people haven't seen before.

It's something that really needs to be played to be understood fully. When you put your hands on the controller and get to play it you see how that blended melee and shooting experience really feels you think, "Okay, this is something very special". I always think its a really great testament to the game when you have people play another game for research or something and feel like something is missing, so games mostly are about shooting and you go in there and think 'where's my melee attack?', I feel like we're giving players a rich toolbox of amazing combat choices they can use as they're playing through the game. I think we're really going to establish a very unique feel from the combat that will help Space Marine stand out.

As a studio how much does being compared to other games stick with you and what effect does it have? Relic's games are often described as 'it's like...', often with the subject being your own games as is the case with Dawn of War and Company of Heroes...

Any time you get compared to an amazing game is always flattering. We have a huge amount of respect for Gears, which is one we often get compared to because - superficially - when you compare screenshots it looks similar. When you play the game and see more footage you notice how they differ, generally speaking though I love Gears, we love Gears and have an enormous amount of respect for the work that Epic does. We think Gears is a wonderful franchise with an amazingly polished experience.

I don't take [Gears comparisons] as a negative at all. The great thing for us is that we can provide a game that the millions of Gears fans can pick up and play very easily because there is enough in the controls of the shooting side that will feel familiar to them. But then we have this whole other side to our combat system that no other game has that creates a unique experience.

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