The developers of Gears 5 have been working on a monetization strategy that doesn't include loot boxes. The team at The Coalition is working on "player-friendly" in-game purchases. They hope this addition will lead to progress industry-wide.
Gears 5 is a tentpole fall release for Microsoft, and is one of the most pre-ordered games of the year so far. With a day one release on Xbox Game Pass — and early access for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers — Gears 5 is going to have a massive player base on launch week. These deviations from popular forms of monetization have the potential to reach a ton of gamers.
In a recent interview, multiplayer design director Ryan Cleven told Gamesindustry.biz that Gears 5 will not have loot boxes. Instead the game has Iron, an in-game currency that players can use to buy cosmetics.
"We just felt that [loot boxes] weren't a good fit for Gears and we wanted to be ahead of the curve looking for possible solutions, even before all the controversy," Cleven said. "We really think we're ahead of the industry here in getting rid of loot boxes and making sure that we can both service people that are looking to accelerate their progression or earn cosmetics using money but also keeping the integrity of the game experience."
The way Gears 5 is going about unlocking content for players is brand new and meant to be balanced in favor of player progression. The Tour of Duty system will set new customization items each season where players can complete objectives to work towards items they want. This is introduced in conjunction with Supply, which will just occasionally drop free content on players.
Every piece of content, including heroes, can be earned or bought using the in-game currency. This means players either play to earn their cosmetics or they pay for them outright; no random chance is involved. Gears 5 will not have a season pass, indicating map packs will be free.
These systems were in the works in Gears of War 4, before the issues became so viral that governments started cracking down on loot boxes. The Coalition has spent the past few years of development challenging themselves to find creative avenues of monetization that are fair to players.
"We had made that decision before all that happened," Cleven said. "We put the challenge to ourselves: can we still provide purchasable things to players that want to purchase and still have the rest of the players really enjoy the system? That was a challenge we set right from the beginning of Gears 5."
This information is coming out following The Coalition showing off the game's new Hoard mode features at Gamescom. The news bodes well for fans of the franchise.
Gears 5 launches on September 10 for PC and Xbox One.