The One Thing Gears of War Dev Rod Fergusson Pulled Rank To Make Happen

Studio head Rod Fergusson has discussed the one time he chose to pull rank and put his foot down on a creative decision. Surprisingly, it was to ensure the survival of protagonist Kait Diaz’s hat in Gears of War 4.

In an interview with GameSpot, Fergusson and franchise narrative lead Bonnie Jean Mah revealed that they were the lone hat advocates at the studio. And he used the hat to illustrate a related point, about how skeptical the studio was of the Skiff vehicle segment.

“It was a battle,” Fergusson said. “It was literally a battle, much like Kait’s hat. So in Gears 4, we had the beret on Kait, and almost everybody hated it.”

I liked the hat,” Jean Mah interjected.

“I mean, you and I liked the hat,” he continued. “We essentially had to fight really hard to keep Kait’s hat. It was one of those things where I was like, ‘Look, I don’t pull rank very often, but we’re keeping the hat.'”

He went on to explain that the Skiff was a battle too, and that it sprung out of his desire to do a sailing simulator. The team kept hitting engineering challenges to make a wind-based vehicle, but he was steadfast that they couldn’t change it.

“The number of times that engineers came up to me and said, ‘Can’t we just make it a dirt bike? Can we not make it a Jeep? Please, God, let it be a monster truck.’ And I’m like, ‘Nope, it’s a weird sailing thing that you ride on the back of.’ You’re kind of parasailing or wakeboarding off the back of this thing. And so, there was a number of times where people were trying to rebel against it, and it felt like it was an opportunity to do something really cool and ownable, and at the end of the day I think where we landed, much like Kait’s hat, was that it turned out really awesome and I think it is a unique sort of differentiator for us.”

Tragically, her hat appears to be nowhere to be seen in Gears 5. For more on the next Gears, check out our hands-on campaign and Horde Mode impressions. Gears 5 launches on September 10 on Xbox One. Early access for Ultimate Edition buyers or subscribers to Game Pass Ultimate will start on September 6.

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