Jim Brown, lead level designer from Epic Games, sat down to discuss their highly-anticipated sequel in this Prima exclusive interview.

What advice would you give someone who’s playing through the new declassified campaign?

The declassified campaign is a brand new way we’ve introduced so you can change the way that you play through the single player campaign and introduces a nice element of challenge to the game if you want to add that layer of complexity and we actually kind of track the way that you’re playing it, how well you’re doing, whether you’re meeting these challenges, whether you’re doing special moves, whether you’re accomplishing your goals in the right manner and we give you a star rating at the end of each chapter.  So it’s a great way to kind of rise to the challenge and you have to think tactically.  You have to react well in order to get the highest star rating that you can and you can use those stars to unlock new weapons, new character customization and even a whole separate campaign you can play through in a game.

Can you tell us what your favorite gun is in the campaign, and why?

I go back and forth on that.  There’s always the classic guns, you know the lancer with the chainsaw in the front as a go-to.  I’m a huge fan of the sawed off which we’ve completely redone.  So a brand new shotgun and it has two shots and is a lot more consistent and better all around, but there’s very few things that are more fun than just firing the Booska which is our new grenade launcher and people in tests will just yell out, they’ll scream Booska as soon as they get shots and get kills with it and it’s amazing, but it’s really versatile because it bounces around corners and explodes upon impact.  It’s really just fun to use all around. 

What are some strategies when dealing with the different kinds of new locusts?

So we have some new locusts in the game.  The main campaign is actually set fourteen years before the original Gears of War and so it’s kind of been imagine a war of attrition where over the years by the time you got to Gears of War 1 a lot of the big locusts, a lot of the big powerful weaponry of the cog is already gone and we – ammunitions plants to make new stuff and resupply and so now that we’re back to that period that before all that happened you’re going to see some more powerful things.  We have younger characters so to speak so they’ve been modeled to look a little bit younger.  We’ve sped up the game play and the animation and smooth out control so they react differently.  We have all new voice recordings so that they sound less battle weary when they’re in the field but then you also get to see there’s a lot like the new grenade launcher which is a really, really powerful gun.  We have a whole new sniper rifle, the Marksa that’s in the game and you’re also going to see some more powerful locusts as well.  The main enemy that you’re fighting throughout the campaign is someone you chase and you kind of get to see this trail of destruction until your ultimate encounter with him at the end and then another great one is the rager who is a guy who will hide back with a sniper rifle.  You have to be really careful because you’ll lose your head but when you do find him and you start to do damage to him, he throws down his rifle and rages about.  He grows really big.  He gets spikes and claws and he charges right at you and he will just take you down in one swipe.  So you really have to adjust your combat strategy to either take him out quickly or have a good place to run because he is going to get you as soon as he rages.

What’s your favorite way Overrun as a locust?

It really depends on your team because each of the classes has their own special abilities which is great, but what’s more fun is the way that those abilities combine in different ways and the different strategies that you can come up with depending on the people that you’re playing with.  So if you have a Cantis that there then you can be more successful as a Grenadier because you’re going to be razzed more often and you’re going to stay healed.  IF you have a Rex that runs in that can stun people then it’s easier to get Tickers through the lines because you’re not so vulnerable so you can – so the best strategy to employ when playing as a Locust is to pay attention to what the other people on your team are using and always communicate because if you’re not talking to other people, if you’re not helping each other out, then that’s the best way to win is to work as a team.