Published 1 year ago
, Updated January 30th, 2014 at 6:57 am,
What Do We Want From The Next Gears Of War?
While previously it seemed like the Gears of War brand would be taking a break, happy news for fans broke this week that the franchise would soon be emerging once again. The future of the series was in doubt after Epic Games wanted to pursue other projects and focus on its Unreal Engine, so instead of waiting for the franchise's parent company to be ready, Microsoft bought up the rights for themselves and gave the reins to Black Tusk Studios.
Nothing is yet known about the franchise's future or exactly what the next installment will look like, but fans can be happy knowing that they haven't revved their Lancers for the last time.
With a new arrival on the way, we listed a few things that we hope are included in Gears of War 4. With new hardware in the Xbox One, is it time for the series to refresh its approach or should the series stick with what it knows? Here are our thoughts.
The story of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad was a wild ride, but it is a story that had a beginning a middle and an end. The personal journey of Marcus Fenix wrapped up nicely by the end of Gears of War 3 and he may not be a character that needs to be explored much deeper although we don't expect him to be written out completely. Even Baird got his back story and motivations fleshed out a little bit in Gears of War: Judgment. As much as we came to love the four misfit heroes and friends, it may be time to look onto greener pastures.
The scope of the Gears universe is huge and there are many conflicting factions that may be ripe for character mining. Having a new set of protagonists from the likes of the Stranded or even the COG's old enemy from the Pendulum War, the Union of Independent Republics (better known as Indies), could be a refreshing take on the universe. Giving a different point of view on the conflict from one of these opposing groups is something that's been touched on in the past (with the Indie's being represented by Judgment's Garron Paduk and even Gears of War 3's former Stranded-turned-COG, Jace Stratton), but there's room to flush out the series in a big way by building upon the universe with additional characters and a new setting.
While on the subject of changing things up, a new setting may well breathe life into the the aging Gears formula. The Locust attack was a worldwide event that lead to the human race obliterating most of their home planet Sera. While the series has offered brief stints to other ecosystems, its story has often felt somewhat localized. Basing the next Gears on another part of the planet and seeing how other cultures survived in different countries and landscapes would be a nice way to mix up the tried and tested formula.
That is to say if the the game decides to stay on Sera. While space travel hasn't featured in the Gears of War universe yet, that doesn't mean that humanity won't go looking outward in the future - Especially now that their home planet has exhausted its natural resource, imulsion. It might even give humanity a new enemy to battle since the Locust horde has been supposedly quelled. It would also give familiar characters something new to do...
'Drivatar' Squad Mates
While Forza 5's microtransactions were heavily bashed by critics and gamers alike, leading to a DLC price drop and significant in-game economically change, the game's Drivatar concept proved popular and is something that could be incorporated into more and more games. The next Gears of War for example could use the system fairly effectively.
There are many ways to get through any skirmish in Gears and everyone seems to approach it a little differently. Some prefer to snipe from afar in order to score explosive headshots, some like to get up close and personal blowing enemies to smithereens with a shotgun and, of course, there are the kamikaze players who love to run into hordes of enemies revving their chainsaw.
Seeing your squad mates take on the traits of your friend's playstyle could be satisfying both in single player and Horde mode.
SmartGlass integration is something that we have begun to see more and more of in the last year or so. Games like Battlefield 4 and Dead Rising 3 used tablets as an alternative method of input and play, and that trend is only going to grow as more developers and players utilize a second screen. This kind of functionality could prove useful in the world of Gears, from commanding squad mates to calling in air-strikes.
Using a tablet to position Hammer of Dawn bombardments onto unsuspecting enemies could be incredibly satisfying. Also, the ability to give instructions to other squadmates could be genuinely beneficial in the cat-and-mouse-like matches that Gears of War multiplayer often turns into.
SmartGlass integration can sometimes feel shoe-horned into games that don't necessarily need it, but in the case of Gears of War, there may well be genuine purpose in its implementation.
While the Locust soldiers aren't meant to be the sharpest tools in the shed, their behavior in battle has always been fairly dimwitted, which is strange when you consider the race is full of hive-mind warriors. Too often in the series, players could hide behind a wall and just wait until the Locust got up and walked towards another piece of cover — completely leaving the beast vulnerable to a barrage of gunfire in the process.
Coming into a new generation, the capabilities to rebuild the A.I. system and give enemy combatants better analytical power is more than available to the developers at Black Tusk Studios. The Xbox One's processing capacity (and that of the infamous "cloud") could lead the A.I. to better read what a player is doing and respond in a strategic formation, be it falling back together or one enemy charging at you while another shoots.
That kind of adaptability could lead to more intense firefights as players are asked to think tactically about their position instead of waiting behind a wall until a Locust pops up his head up after a relatively short amount of time.
Gears of War made its name by having smaller fights and a slower pace than other action-focused games on the market. Getting through a small handful of enemies could take several minutes, where as in other games you could blast through twice as many in less than one. That 's why the game worked best during contained skirmishes between small numbers trying to outfox one another, both in single and multiplayer modes.
Although, just once wouldn't it be interesting to see something akin to a 24 vs 24 multiplayer match in a Gears of War game? The Gears universe has rarely opened up the scale of its conflicts in an interactive way. Even though this level of player interaction would be exclusive to a game mode in multiplayer, seeing tens of teammates charging into enemy territory with Lancers held high could be an exhilarating sight that provides a unique, albeit fun, tactical challenge too.
Reinvigorating Gears Of War
The Xbox One, while making an impressive comeback after its troubled reveal, is still trailing the PlayStation 4 in consoles sold. The best chance Microsoft has of overtaking their competitors is with all of its most popular players on the field. The new Halo and Titanfall will offer big boosts for the system but the console will need even more support to be a huge success. Getting Gears of War, arguably the second biggest action franchise that the company has exclusive rights to, out and onto the Xbox One is only going to help.
What exactly Black Tusk Studios will to with the illustrious franchise next isn't clear yet, but the Xbox One gives them more power and options than ever before. Be it better A.I., smart glass integration or just a bigger scope, the new generation will only give the developer a bigger canvas to paint their Gears of War story on, whatever shape that ends up taking.
Have ideas about what would make the next Gears of War the best in the series? Let us know below in the comments.