Gears of War is a pretty complex game, on the surface it might look like a group of bros fighting aliens over steroids, but it actually has more to it than that. With news breaking yesterday that Gears of War 4 is set to be released on October 11 2016, and a beta planned as early as April 18, attention is certainly on the series. Here’s what we want to see in the next outing on planet Sera.
Go back to the darkness
The original Gears of War game was the first title I owned on the Xbox 360, and it blew my mind. The graphics were unreal for the time and the plot was just the right blend of sci-fi and horror. In latter games this horror component dropped off in place of action and a competition for stupidest explosions (that lambent brumak thing at the end of two was lame by most standards).
The first GoW had a more subtle approach to action, well as subtle as a group of soldiers with chainsaw rifles can be. The way the game shifted at night was absolutely genius. Changing the player’s approach to a fight by having swarms of Kryll (bat-like creatures that were basically air piranhas) rip you apart when you went into unlit areas was terrifying and innovative. You had to think on your toes and it made fighting a mutant horde that much more terrifying.
In Gears of War lore the Kryll became extinct after the lightmass bomb detonation at the end of the first, but there’s no reason they can’t make a comeback, or another equally terrifying creature could fill their disgusting shoes and prowl the night.
Something that has always been present in the Gears of War universe is a feeling of anarchy. You often encounter outsiders, who are groups of humans that have forsaken the government and gone on their own way, and it’s often suggested that these people are hostile to COG soldiers. So why not have them as a main antagonist? It’d be great to see some enemies with a human touch behind them, ones who you can sympathise with because the government has turned their back on them. I know I’d certainly be less inclined to chainsaw them in half and it’d create some great tension. Considering we know one of the new protagonists, Kait Diaz, is the daughter of a prominent outsider, this could make things interesting.
It’d also refresh the series considerably to have more variation in enemy types. Sure there were a great deal of locust variations, but in the end they all filled the same roles. Having human enemies would really spice things up a bit.
Gears of War is a cover based shooter, it’s pretty much it’s defining feature. But it’d be interesting to change that up a bit. From what we know so far about 4 there will be dynamic weather in the form of solar storms. These storms will rip cover out of the ground and force urgency on players, but going one further could be a great thing. By the end of the third game I’m sure most players had their fill of the mechanics of the game, they largely hadn’t changed since the first. So introducing a new way to fight could be the way forward. Now this would still need to rely on cover because completely dropping that element would be bold, but there should be new ways to make this exciting.
This of course would depend entirely upon the enemies, but introducing a stealth element could be the answer. What I’m imagining is a system like in XCOM, where you can position your squad in key points and set up a trap in real time. It’d make players think more about the battlefield and not just dart like mad between different conveniently located slabs of concrete until the enemy are bone fragments and meat.
I’m not talking about crafting snares so you can catch a protein bar to eat, more crafting in the sense of customisable weapons. The weaponry in Gears of War has always been on the extreme spectrum, and having the ability to choose more power tools to jam on the end of your rifle would be a great thing. You could scavenge parts from leftover machinery lying around the map, or make use of plenty of the mining equipment that the planet seems to have an abundance of. Customising weapons would be great for the community too, showing off violent/bizarre concoctions to see who can make the most lethal combination. I for one would like a rifle with a giant power sander attached.
For now we’ll have to wait for the beta on April 18 to find out more. To get access to the beta on the 18th you need to own Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and have played it prior to April 11. All other Xbox Live Gold members will gain access to the beta a week later on April 25.