As Microsoft ramped up to the highly-anticipated launch of its third person shooter Gears of War 3, they engaged Blitz to build an online hub for the entire franchise – one that could deliver a robust online experience, not just for the latest installment, but for all future releases in the franchise.
On top of the usual challenge of keeping the title fresh in a crowded field, Microsoft was looking to reverse a specific obstacle that had hampered the previous two Gears of War titles: Gamers who were highly engaged in the campaign phase would move on to other titles as soon as it was completed instead of sticking around for the game’s multiplayer aspect.
Previously, experienced gamers expressed disappointment with the overly narrow focus of Gears Of War's attempts at multiplayer, while new players found it difficult to play alongside experienced gamers without being killed too easily. Microsoft was looking for our help in changing that perception.
Our mission was to keep Gears fans engaged on all fronts and we knew that the best way to do this was to help foster a true online multiplayer community where they could go and exchange stats and information. They needed a place to learn more about the game and characters, compare techniques to improve their play, brag about accomplishments and connect with other players.
Before our UX and creative design teams even got their boots on the ground, they knew the challenge that lay ahead: How do we present the wealth of information and stats without overwhelming players in a sea of data? The information needed to be easily navigable so that gamers could quickly find the specific content they were looking for and dive deeper into the stats most relevant to them.
So, we created the War Journal -- an interactive section that pulled stats directly from the game, allowing users to easily access them and interact with friends. We also included Calendar and Throwdown features, which enabled friends to schedule battles that would help further improve their stats and challenge other users to beat their scores.
This higher level of community engagement was a key factor in making Gears of War 3 the most successful title of the franchise yet and helped ensure many more installments to come.