In an in-depth interview with the artist formerly known as CliffyB (he asked everyone to call him Cliff Bleszinski, and not his nickname as you may recall), GamesBeat grills the former Gears of War designer about the game franchise, perceptions in some circles that he was a bit of a douche, and what he thought about former EGM editor Dan Hsu calling him a d*ck in a cover story.
While all of that is interesting, we picked up on Bleszinski talking about Gears of Wars toys being marketed to children by showing up in places like Toys 'R Us. It's an argument that has long been made by video game critics and children's advocacy groups – that the industry markets to children while pretending that it doesn't.
Here the part about those Gears of War toys:
GamesBeat: Do you think it’s weird or inappropriate that Gears of War toys are marketed to young children?
Bleszinski: Yeah, that’s always an issue. The thing is, I’m 37-years-old, and I’m still collecting cool new Transformers. That’s not a cop-out answer. The fact that they’re in Toys “R” Us … it’s one of those things. Yeah, it is there. But at the same time, it’s a fantasy, sci-fi experience. There are Prometheus action figures that I saw the other day at Toys “R” Us. Like, really?
The bottom line is that you want to get your game and your franchise in as many people’s hands as possible, when it’s appropriate. I’ve always defended Gears with the fact that it was an over-the-top chainsawing-aliens game, as opposed to a sticking-ice-picks-in-gang-members’-ears type of game.
You can read the entire entertaining interview on GamesBeat. A quick search of Toy "R" Us found Assassin's Creed, Mass Effect, Gears of War, Mortal Kombat, Halo 4, and Street Fighter action figures. The majority of these toys are based on "M" rated games. Of course, there are plenty of "E" and "Teen" rated toys and toys based on movie franchises like Mario, Sonic, Pokémon, and Wreck It Ralph.