Gears fans, the wait is almost over. I know you’ve been eager to see what’s in store for the future of Gears multiplayer as well as I am, and next month The Coalition will be giving us first taste and an opportunity to help shape the multiplayer experience in Gears of War 4 with the launch of our global Versus multiplayer beta, exclusively on Xbox One.
On March 15, The Coalition announced that beginning on April 18, fans who’ve played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Xbox One or Windows 10 will begin to receive tokens in waves for early access to the beta. Following the conclusion of early access on April 24, all qualifying Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One will be invited to join the beta until it ends on May 1. In addition, they’re extending the timeframe for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition players to qualify for early access to the Gears of War 4 beta from March 1 to April 11. To qualify, just log on to Xbox Live and play Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Xbox One or Windows 10 by 11 p.m. PDT, April 11.
In addition they also wanted to ensure that to qualify for early access to the Gears of War 4 Multiplayer Beta, log in to Xbox Live and play Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Xbox One or Windows 10 by 11:00PM PDT, April 11. Tokens for the beta will be distributed in waves through the Xbox Live messaging system and begin arriving Monday April 18. For both Early Access and Xbox Live Gold periods, must be 17+. Xbox One, broadband internet (ISP fees apply) and Xbox Live Gold membership (sold separately) required. Beta dates, content, and features subject to change. Not available in Japan or China.
Moving on from beta news, it’s time to introduce some brand new weapons that will change how you play Gears Of War. The new weapons are essentially construction equipment that has been repurposed for violent means. The Coalition chose construction equipment in particular as an inspiration because of Gears of War 4’s setting becasue the humans left on Sera are trying to build a new life after the war with the Locust. The two new big weapons we saw (and played with) are the Dropshot and the Buzzkill.
The Dropshot functions somewhat as a replacement for the Digger launcher from Gears of War 3, which fired explosive creatures underground. Instead, the Dropshot fires an aerial mine that floats over the battlefield in a straight line as long as you hold the trigger. The moment you let go, the mine spins downward violently. If it hits the ground, it drills for a second before exploding, blowing anything nearby into chunks. If you manage to nail a direct hit on the enemy, it drills directly into their head, decapitating them while their body convulses until the mine explodes. It’s a gruesome display that fits alongside some of Gears’ best weaponry and it’s also super challenging to control, making you feel like a champion whenever you manage to score a direct hit.
The Buzzkill fires buzzsaws – a lot of them. And they spew everywhere as long as you hold down the fire button. However, these saws don’t become embed in walls; they bounce, ricocheting off surfaces and tear enemies to shreds. During our time with the Buzzkill, we found the weapon was great at clearing a room but was dangerous as it was efficient, capable of killing you with your own saws if you lose track of their trajectories.
Last but not least Gears of War 4 brings new melee executions to the series in the form of combat knives. These brutal finishers are a gruesome sight to behold, with knives plunging into ribs and skulls. In multiplayer, the look of your knife will depend on which faction you’re playing as. The COG knife is shown above.
Of course Gears wouldn’t be the same without old favorites like the chainsaw equipped Lancer and the trusty snub pistol return, but with some aesthetic changes. To help instill the more survival-horror aspects of the game, the Lancer now has a flashlight attached to it that simultaneously makes targets easier to see and highlights their creepier features. Of course, not all changes to the classics are done for pragmatic reasons. The team admits the Gnasher now has a shell rail attached to it simply because, “it looks cool.” While these additions are mostly cosmetic and don’t fundamentally change how these weapons function, they are pleasant to look at.
The Gears of war franchise has always been known for it’s notorious human-like monsters: the Locust, and it wouldn’t be Gears without a havinh an enemy set out to eat your face like the Locust. Gears 4 is initially set to take place sometime after the end of Gears 3 where you set off the imulsion countermeasure weapon thus killing off the lambit, and locust all together, or so we thought… One of the Coalition’s biggest challenges in the early stages of developing Gears of War 4 was coming up with an enemy that was just as fearsome as the Locust. After spending a good chunk of time going back through the series and studying why the Locust worked as well as they did, the Coalition eventually created the unit types that make up the new threat in the game: the Swarm.
The drones will probably be the most familiar of the Swarm enemy types, with them resembling various modified Locust soldiers. It is unknown how and why these units bear such a strong resemblance to the enemies of previous Gears titles, so speculate away.
Juvies are nasty business. At first glance, you might think they’re updated versions of Gears of War’s annoying wretches, but juvies are faster, harder to hit, and have a deadly ability. During the game you’ll come across gooey pods that can serve as temporary cover until a stream of bullets pop them. Sometimes a drone or juvie will be inside. Certain juvies can unleash a bloodcurdling scream that will pop all the pods in the nearby vicinity, potentially flooding your combat zone with more enemies. Where wretches never really succeeded as being anything other than mild annoyances, juvies’ deadly capabilities (along with their slimy appearance) could make them into something far more terrifying.
Last but not least the we have the Pouncer. Pouncers are a bruiser unit we saw near the end of one of our demos. These giant naked mole rat-looking beasts are not only capable of pinning you to the ground and viciously mauling you, but they also carry deadly quills in their tails that they can whip at you as projectiles. However, the cautious or reflex-skilled player will be able to take these monsters down. During our demo, JD actually caught one of the pouncers in midair with his lancer’s chainsaw as it dove at him, killing it instantly in a bloody but fantastic sequence.
It’s only the beginning of the year, but Gears Of War 4 is on a fast approach to release later this coming holiday. Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to play Gears of war ultimate edition for a chance to get you tokens for a chance to play the Gears Of War 4 beta.
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