“This isn't a great way of phrasing it, but I always talk about shipping a sequel to customers as 'managing betrayal'. They want something new but they don't want something so new that it doesn't feel like what they want. But if you put out something that's very familiar and is the same as the game they just had, then it's like 'I've already had this. This isn't new enough.”
Which sounds like a good thing. With hind sight the first three GoW games were very similar in their structure – they improved with each generation. GoW Judgement turned the franchise on its head with the whole kangaroo court trial allowing the story to be told differently. That’s the kind of betrayal Fergusson is talking about.
"You actually have to betray them enough to give them something new and surprising but not so much that they disconnect, and I think that is a big thing that we have to focus on," he said. "It's how we can innovate and bring something new to the franchise while at the same time really proving that we understand Gears - that this is the franchise that you know and love.
"So I've already given multiple speeches to the team like 'here are the core tenets of Gears, here are the things that won't be changing, and here are opportunities for us to innovate that we think we can knock out of the park.'"
All this sounds very promising – and you can see why Microsoft lured Rod back to the franchise that is under the watch of Black Tusk Studio. Indeed, the Father of GoW, has publicly endorsed Rod.