Cliff Bleszinski talks about the history of Gears of War on Twitter

Gears of War has an interesting backstory. Find out what made it special.

Gears of War is a popular third-person shooter; it's not just another Call of Duty clone. Published by Microsoft Studios and developed by Epic Games, the game, and the franchise, has done quite well for itself. Well, have you ever wanted to know the inspiration behind Gears of War? It has a pretty interesting backstory and the developer of Gears of War, Cliff Bleszinski, recently took to Twitter to reveal it all.


Gears of War was inspired by Bleszinski’s first, failed marriage and a trip to London.

The failed marriage was also responsible for the name “Fennix.” Bleszinski was “rising from his own ashes." Ironically, the song that helped him get through the break-up was Gary Jules' Mad World. The marketing team thought it fit the atmosphere and pushed for it. The team ignored Bleszinski's other break-up song Evanescence’s My Immortal. Bleszinski claims it wasn’t as cool.

The character Anya was also based upon his personal life. Anya, or the person she was based off of, broke Bleszinski’s heart. Though the original character designer had her with larger breasts, Bleszinski was against it and argued that she should be less cartoony.

Bleszinski pushed for Marcus to have blue eyes since his father did.

The architecture is especially special. Bleszinski stated he was sick of concrete bunkers and Jerry had a hatred of hazard striping. Thank those two for the beauty of the world then. They really did a good job.

Dom’s last name was meant to be Glynn (Dom Glynn doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?), but it was changed because of a box of cigars. Yep. Rod Fergusson, the studio head, saw a box of cigars that said “Santiago” and suggested it.

Baird’s name came from a childhood friend of Bleszinski. Bleszinski claims the child was a bit of a jerk. He also claims the name “Baird” even sounds like it would be associated with a jerk.


Bleszinski states that the Locust torture was a statement about Guantanamo Bay.

The “Maria Scene’ was a personal statement on the Terri Schiavo case. It demonstrated Bleszinski's belief in the “right to death.” The case lasted from 1990 to 2005. Schiavo was a women in a vegetative state. Her husband and legal guardian decided she would not have wanted her life prolonged by artificial care.


Dom was voiced by Carlos Ferro. Bleszinski stated he was “tired of hearing Speedy Gonzales voices in Splinter Cell games (no offense, Ubi).”

Courtney Ford, the voice of Maria, was a dear of friend of Bleszinski’s in high school. They’re still friends actually.

Lester was chosen as Cole for a very specific reason: the Terry Tate ads. They liked his charisma and even thought, “We’d go to war with that guy.” Irony at its finest.

Pitching the idea

Apparently pitching the idea wasn’t easy:

Needless to say, it’s a hilarious way of pitching a game. I'm glad it worked out for him.


Bleszinski never asked for buff characters. Kevin Lanning was the one responsible for them.

The original chainsaw gun was pitched for a game in 1997. It was called “OverFiend.”

Apparently there was also a laser gun:

“We had a laser gun planned but we decided for Vietnam like tech so it was cut. You can see it in an early image of Marcus.”

The SP fatigue meter was not originally planned. Rod snuck it in upon when Bleszinski was on a business trip to fix streaming issues. Bleszinski was furious.

Tai’s shotgun suicide is an impactful moment in the Gears of War franchise and it may not have been with a shotgun.

Bleszinski wanted players to not drop weapons unless they were executed, but Ray shot it down. Similarly, Bleszinski wanted a “long range revive pistol,” but Rod thought it was a bad idea.


The special edition photo of Dom and Maria in Gears of War 2 was drawn as a resemblance of Bleszinski and his current girlfriend.

Rod was a huge fan of the series before joining the team a couple of years ago. He wore the Marcus dorag his first day.

Bleszinski regrets the fact that the Berserker was female. He admitted he was in a “dark place” since she was chained down and solely used for breeding.

You know the single player so many people skip over? The last bullet in each magazine is 25% stronger. If you’re fighting a bad guy and about to die… Well, let’s hope you’re on that last bullet.

Bleszinski knew they were going to kill off Dom as well:

“I texted Rod at brunch at the Flying Biscuit in Raliegh ‘we gotta kill Dom.”

There you have it!

What surprised you the most about the Gears of War game? Were you expecting it to have such an emotional tie to real-life people?

If you wish to view the full collection of Twitter posts, click here.

You can follow Cliff Bleszinski here.

[Image 1, 2, 3, & 4]

Published Aug. 25th 2015
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