There’s a Facebook distillation of Fourth Edition Dungeons and/or Dragons that could be much, much worse than it is. That may seem like it’s not a compliment, but given the grotesqueries that have writhed beneath that tarnished banner the improvement is almost incalculable.
That’s something I never entirely understood, this gulf between the paper systems (i.e., the fucking game!) and the moist band of ill-starred mutants it seems to produce. Everyone wants to make hack and slash action games with the license, or an RTS for some reason - at any rate, this is what companies are allowed to make with the licenses they are allowed to buy. If this is an attempt by Wizards of the Coast to protect the table, it’s misguided; I play Dungeons & Dragons because of SSI’s legendary Gold Box. These things are a virtuous cycle.
Facebook and D&D as a generality, though, wasn’t something we could leave alone.
I managed to complete Gears of War a few days ago, and it’s real good. That’s pretty much it; there’s not much more you can say. They worked on it for a super long time, brought in a pro to write a script, and dished up a multiplayer beta so that the game’s solitary extant problem melted into syrup. I’m that guy, though, and you should incorporate that into your assessment; I own a Lancer you’ll recall, and what’s more, I know it’s called a Lancer.
You should know that the game’s lead writer, Karen Traviss, loves The “Cole Train” - whose full name is Augustus Cole, and who in conversations with me she has referred to simply as Augustus. I knew this anyway, but another way you can tell is that she gives him the best line in the entire game. I mean, far and away the best line. She also gave us Bernadette Mataki and Samantha Byrne - she’s done her unstoppable thing, which is to ask real questions of these impossible spaces, and then answer them with a narrative. That’s her in a nutshell. There’s a reason why she keeps getting these jobs: she has a tremendous heart for the soldier, and telling their stories is a kind of overriding personal mission.