While Gears of War Judgment may have been a bit of a departure for the series, The Coalition seems to be bringing the brand back to what made Gears great. The narrative will be a big part of that, but the game’s multiplayer will also be an important element in making Gears of War 4 great again.
While gamers may be surprised to know, or they may not, the multiplayer of Gears of War has always received a bit less attention than Microsoft and The Coalition are giving it now. The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson talked about how they handled multiplayer in the first three games and what they want to change in Gears of War 4.
“It’s easier to talk about it from a Gears 1 perspective because we definitely improved over 2 and 3. Gears [development] was a 90/10 split between campaign and multiplayer. It was sort of tacked on at the very end. We didn’t even quite know that we were going to have a game with multiplayer until much later. Then it was like, ‘We should probably figure out if multiplayer even exists in the Gears world.’
“That’s when we started playing Gears of War on other people’s maps. We were playing on Counter-Strike maps. We were playing on Call of Duty maps and stuff. What works for Gears? What does a Gears multiplayer map even feel like? That’s where Gridlock came from. When you look at the attribution of resources, campaign is just a much bigger beast to create. Typically, the dedication of time and resources has been much more skewed to the campaign,” Fergusson told GameSpot.
Gears of War 4 will be an Xbox One exclusive and is arriving this coming Oct. 11. For fans who want to sample the game’s multiplayer before launch, Microsoft is hosting an Open Beta that begins with Early Access on April 18. All fans will be invited into the beta on April 25.
Gears of War has been one of the most successful franchises on the Xbox platform, so it’s somewhat odd to hear Fergusson talk about a significant part of the game as something that wasn’t right. It sounded like a situation where Epic Games sort of let sleeping dogs lie, when it came to Gears‘ multiplayer.
“Epic was sort of fighting against the fact that players were not playing it right. They were playing a highly mobile shotgun fest, rather than this tactical assault rifle game. We were fighting that all the time. We always focused on accessibility and getting new players in, so we kind of let the competitive players go do whatever because we didn’t really like their style of play.
“We didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. Now, as we’re embracing Gears multiplayer, we’re saying, “Okay, we’re embracing wall bouncing and shotgunning.” One of the things we’re doing is we’re making sure that the new, the social, the competitive, and the eSports, are all being equally served. That’s really where we’re taking it further,” Fergusson said.