When Epic Games and Cliff Bleszinski introduced us to the original Gears of War almost a decade ago, they achieved the feat of creating a new, action-packed franchise that will forever be a staple of the Xbox brand. Over the next several years, Epic developed 3 more sequels until Microsoft purchased the gritty war-themed third-person shooter series in January of 2014.
The end result of this acquisition was shown for the very first time during Microsoft’s E3 2015 media briefing. Gears of War 4 was very early in development at this point, but the gameplay footage proved that The Coalition were aiming to invigorate the series by injecting a fresh dose of horror and mystery into the overall experience. After spending more time on a recent build of the game, I’m happy to say that this sequel is nothing short of badass and wanted to provide a few concrete reasons why it should be on your radar. So without further ado, here are a few ways Gears of War 4 will successfully revitalize the franchise.
New Characters and Storyline
Gears of War 4 takes place on the planet Sera 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3 and introduces us to three unlikely heroes as they attempt to save humanity from various new threats. While an older version of Marcus Fenix appears in the game, the core storyline revolves around his son J.D. Fenix (voiced by Liam McIntyre) and his friends Delmont Walker (voiced by Eugene Byrd) and Kait Diaz (voiced by Laura Bailey). These three new protagonists are part of an Outsider group separate from the COG militia and are tasked with learning to work together to take down every adversary and obstacle that stands in their way.
While it may seem cliche for one of the main heroes to be related to Marcus Fenix, the fact of the matter is that Marcus is the most iconic character in the series and serves as the perfect piece of connective tissue to this new trio. By having a seasoned veteran make an appearance alongside these new protagonists, they are already established as important badasses with a bright future. This dynamic certainly adds a fresh dose of excitement to the franchise and will lay the groundwork for several more sequels over the years.
New Enemies and Weapons
At the end of Gears of War 3, the Locusts and Lambent species were annihilated along with the Imulsion Countermeasure weapon. To usher in this new trilogy properly, The Coalition decided to come up with new dangerous threats in the form of the Swarm and DeeBees. The Swarm is a species of hideous creatures that take on various shapes and sizes while the DeeBees are a robot unit that operates under the jurisdiction of the COG. The Swarm is essentially the main threat in most of the game and the DeeBees will play a role in the first few chapters of the campaign.
Players can expect plenty of new weapons to find and use throughout the campaign. The Coalition used construction tools as their main source of inspiration, meaning fans can expect more sharp and heavy duty weaponry this time around. Additionally, the DeeBees have their own form of high-end weapons that are also accessible early on. With new enemies and awesome weapons, Gears of War 4 promises to deliver more memorable showdowns and epic encounters than ever before.
Cross-Buy and Cross-Play Functionality
Microsoft turned a lot of heads when they announced that Quantum Break was coming to Windows 10 earlier this year. Delusional Xbox fanboys criticized this move and expressed frustration over the thought of losing more console exclusives to PC. By the end of E3 2016, it became clear that this move was part of Microsoft’s Xbox Play Anywhere initiative and would serve as the perfect solution to bring both PC and console players together.
During a behind closed doors session for Gears of War 4, I witnessed firsthand just how seamless and fantastic this feature is while watching two developers participate in an extensive co-op campaign chapter walkthrough. One developer played on the newly released Xbox One S while his partner played on a high-end Windows 10 compatible PC. Both developers used 4k display monitors to truly capture how responsive and dynamic the game looked. After seeing this, I’m more than certain that this cooperative player experience will not only breathe life into the series but also convince gamers everywhere that Xbox Play Anywhere is actually a great community option to have.
Horde Mode 3.0
Gears of War 2 was one of the best entries in the series thanks to a solid story mode and addictive multiplayer experience. The addition of Horde mode changed the landscape of both the franchise and several other notable multiplayer games in the years that followed. The Coalition have already stated that they have big plans for Horde Mode 3.0 and there is a rumor floating around that this mode may be playable at PAX West later this year.
I’ll be the first to say that I wasn’t a fan of the Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta that was released earlier this year. The Coalition stated that the beta was taken from a very earlier build of the game and was used to generate feedback for future plans. Based on some new multiplayer footage I saw recently, I can confirm their statement is true and this title is well on it’s way to being just as fun as Gears of War 2 multiplayer was. If Horde Mode 3.0 proves to be more addictive than the other horde mode versions that came before it, then this title will prove to be another groundbreaking, standout entry in the series.
This concludes my article on how Gears of War 4 will revitalize the franchise. This highly anticipated fifth installment launches worldwide on October 11th for Xbox One and Windows 10. Are any of you planning on joining the fight? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.