Unless you’re a devout Sony zealot, it’s fair to say that Xbox had not only one of the best conferences of E3 2018, but also one of their best ever in the history of the event. Yes, it was simply that good, and the reason for it was because of exclusive announcements like Halo: Infinite, Forza Horizon 4 and Gears of War 5, which is what we’re here to wax lyrical about today.
The new Gears, or at least the new mainline Gears game that has nothing to do with Funko Pop figures, will be the first game in the series to feature a female protagonist front and center, as Kait Diaz fights across a ruined Sera to uncover more about her heritage.
Of course, because we’re a demanding sort here at Cultured Vultures, we’ve got some things we’d like to see included in Gears of War 5, along with something we could do without. Let’s get into it, and if anyone from The Coalition is reading this, we’ll accept royalty payments for using our ideas in the form of pizza, or just a copy of the game. Either or, lads.
The Gears series has always been one to leave things unexplained, at least in the main games anyway. A lot of Queen Myrrha’s backstory, who will factor into this game as Kait’s grandmother, was explained via prequel comics and the like, but never really addressed in-game. To see more of that explored in Gears 5 would be fantastic.
We should also get some answers on how exactly the Locust Horde has mutated into becoming the Swarm, along with how the Diaz family factors into their plans. The fact Reyna was assimilated into the Hive mind instead of just becoming a pod person means there’s a greater significance there.
2. Multiple Playable Characters
The announcement trailer for Gears 5 shows the new Delta Squad in disarray, as Kait leaves to find out about her past with Del, whilst Marcus and JD venture towards New Ephyra in order to rejoin with the rest of the COG forces. Whilst the main story for the game will be Kait and Del trekking across Sera, Gears 5 should also devote a portion of the campaign to JD and Marcus’ story.
Yes, we know that might seem contentious when the game features the first female lead protagonist in the series’ history, but stick with us here. There’s a narrative and gameplay purpose to what we’re saying.
It’s likely that the COG forces are trying to fortify New Ephyra in the face of an oncoming Swarm onslaught, which sounds like a great opportunity for some bombastic levels and huge set pieces, whilst simultaneously allowing Kait’s personal journey to breathe on its own. Basically, JD’s levels could offer classic Gears gameplay, whilst Kait’s are more involved and intimate. It’d be the best of both worlds, really.
If The Coalition are also intent on including Horde mechanics into the main campaign like they did with Gears 4, doing so with Marcus and JD in New Ephyra seems like a more natural fit than Kait just happening upon a Fabricator in a disused laboratory two minutes before a Swarm ambush. A lot of the Horde sections in the Gears 4 campaign felt incredibly contrived, so giving those sections to the father and son duo whilst defending the COG’s capital city would eliminate that.
We also reckon that would get rid of any “filler chapters” that the Gears series is unfortunately guilty of. There’s no point having Kait wander around a power plant for five chapters just to open a locked door if it’s not going anywhere. It’d be better to show New Ephyra under siege in order to keep the narrative moving at an enjoyable pace.
Plus, JD has a new haircut and beard. We need to see that in action some more.
3. Horde 4.0
One of the trademarks of the Gears franchise is the Horde mode. Introduced in Gears of War 2, the mode redefined the survival game type and was expanded even further in Gears 3 by introducing fortifications. Gears 4 took things one step further by allowing you to defend any point on the map, place fortifications whether you wanted and allowing you to choose your own class.
For the mode to continue to evolve in Gears 5, The Coalition should build upon the excellent foundations laid out in the previous game. More classes, more abilities and perks for each class, more fortifications, along with a revamp to the difficulty scaling. The standard buff increases to the enemy’s health, accuracy and damage every 10 waves have been in place since the mode’s inception, so swapping those out would give the mode a nice refresh.
4. Returning Modes
As far as multiplayer modes are concerned, we should expect some returning favourites like King of the Hill, Execution and Guardian, along with modes that made their debut in Gears 4 like Escalation and Dodgeball. Still, we have our eyes on some of Gears’ more experimental modes.
Gears 3 introduced the world to Beast Mode, a reverse of the classic Horde mode gameplay where you controlled the Locust hordes in an attempt to overwhelm the COG forces. Being able to play as the Berserker instead being killed by it was always a laugh, but People Can Fly built on that mode for Gears: Judgment.
Judgment introduced the Overrun game mode, a 5v5 asymmetric game type that pitted the COG against the Locust. COG players picked one of four classes and had to defend key objectives, whilst Locust players used the different beasts to overwhelm the COG. There was a layer of strategy involved, including booting tickers over fortifications, or using a sniper to gain access to exclusive parts of the map, but unfortunately Judgment wasn’t as well received as other games. Still, there’s a chance for the mode to get a new lease on life in Gears 5. Make it happen Coalition.
5. NO LOOT Box SHITE
We’ve brought this up in our Forza Horizon 4 coverage, but it’s worth repeating here considering Gears of War 4 was just an egregious offender. When Gears 4 dropped on the Xbox One, it brought with it some of the worst loot boxes even seen in a video game, arguably sitting one level below Battlefront 2 in terms of pay-to-win.
These loot crates contained bounties which you could use to increase XP gain or credits, along with actual skills for your Horde mode classes. If you wanted to increase your skills in Horde, buying and opening crates was the only real way to do it, and it sucked, especially when attempting the mode on higher difficulties and realising that the perks are completely necessary.
If The Coalition wants to have their loot box cake in Gears 5, that’s fine, but they’d be wise to limit that to cosmetic items only. Gears online is filled with extra characters and weapon skins, so sticking those in loot boxes seems like the right move. Maybe even add emotes and victory poses just to really stick to the Overwatch business model.