Stat and achievement tracking
Despite Gears of War 2 having the first proper achievement stats which end up becoming an OS feature in Xbox One and having a detailed War Journal of stats, Ultimate Edition is weirdly thin on this, they should have an incredibly detailed section on each achievement so you can see your progress.
There are multiple achievements for winning matches on every map, game mode etc yet they make it quite difficult to see which ones you have left to get, maps in particular is a bit of a nightmare and disappointing.
Also it shows you your progress via and a pop-up for some achievements in-game but doesn’t track them via the achievements app which seems silly to me. I love stats and they’re also very useful so hopefully they improve a bit with that for Gears of War 4.
Horde Mode 3.0
Horde mode is amazing and an important pillar of what makes Gears so good for me so I hope they have big plans to make it good. I loved the base building aspects of Gears of War 3 which were added, they were a great evolution of what was done in Gears 2 and I hope they double down on that and make something even better with more depth.
More fleshed out story
Lots of people don’t care for the story of the Gears of War universe, personally I really like the backstory and one of the things I expect to happen now that Microsoft own it is that they will get the lore in order and make a proper expanded universe out of it which would be great.
They also seemingly left a lot of that backstory and more intricate details in the books they released and I hope they make a greater effort to put more of that sort of content in the games and use the transmedia content to expand the world and fill in other gaps than key story points.
Keep 60fps multiplayer
I wasn’t a fan of 30fps campaign and 60fps multiplayer but if they want to be an esport competitor then 60fps is a must, from my time playing Ultimate Edition’s multiplayer I think its clear that 60fps is the way forwards and generates an incredibly smooth running game when combined with Azure servers. Some of the maps are missing or toned down some of their effects like weather and hopefully they can come up with a suitable way to include those in Gears of War 4 without making many compromises.
What they do with the campaign is up to them, I didn’t really like the switch between the campaign and multiplayer frame-rates but I guess I won’t be doing it that often and they will likely want to go for 30 in the campaign to get that extra eye candy from it too.
Overrun mode returns
This was the highlight of Judgment for me, I have no issue with a single class based multiplayer mode and I thought it was a blast so its something they could easily rename and make adjustments too but it was definitely better than its younger brother “Beast Mode” in Gears of War 3 and I hope they find a way to include it.
The best modes for me in Gears of War competitive multiplayer are Blitz and Overrun, protecting areas on the map, capturing rings really make it competitive and keep the action going and I hope they find the time and space for it somewhere.
Free multiplayer maps
Developers and publishers are seemingly realising that seasons passes for multiplayer maps do more harm than good and Halo being the most comparable title to Gears (given Microsoft’s ownership) should see them talk to 343 and see what works for their new system and adopt it for Gears of War 4 as well.
Since Gears of War 2 they have started to add more and more weapon skins, I have no issue with them doing cosmetic micro transactions as long as it benefits the community and this will definitely help to keep the game going and give it longevity.
Campaign add-on DLC
Raam’s shadow was a great piece of DLC and rather than doing entirely separate prequel games this is the way developers should go about producing content that shows off the universe. Have a series of 2/3 campaign DLC add-ons telling different stories in the universe, spread them over a year or so to keep people coming back and perhaps add in some of those weapon skins I just mentioned and people will be pleased with that.
You might even get to see a seasons pass out of it.
Open beta goes off without a hitch
The wording on the beta included with Gears of War Ultimate Edition is that you get “Early Access” if you play it before March 1st 2016, not just access which suggests it will be an open beta with extra time for those who bought UE which is great.
It hits in Spring and The Coalition need to make sure its free from connection and other issues to shine the best light on the game itself and bring people back to Gears, letting as many people as possible try it too is something that should have been done for Halo 5 Guardians and not lock it into a single product that needs to be bought.
It doesn’t need to be perfect or the finished article, 720p, not a locked 60, none of that matters for a beta that far away from launch but they do need to avoid anything that will make people question if the final product will work or not.
Console bundle at the lowest price possible
There will be a special edition Gears of War 4 console, no doubt in my mind about that, the only question is whether it is a slim console revision or the current one hasn’t been replaced yet. They shouldn’t add in the Limited Edition content like Halo 5 had though, it just drives up the price and Microsoft should get it as low as possible.
But they also need to get a console bundle in at their base price in my opinion. There will be a price drop next year of some sort presumably down to $299 – I can’t see them dropping any further and I think Microsoft need to get Gears in as their big holiday bundle, a copy of the game, base console version in as low as possible and it will fly off the shelves. The franchise hasn’t had a brand new title since March 2013 and Judgment didn’t sell that well, it will be 5 years since Gears of War 3 next September, Microsoft need to get Gears to as many people as possible and show what a great job The Coalition can do on the franchise.
Arcade and multiplayer modes
I’m about to ask for one more thing: arcade mode is included too, where you get points and stars will playing levels and killing locust scum, earning a multiplier but also don’t make it the core feature of the campaign like Judgment.
Less can also sometimes be more is in multiplayer modes like Blitz, King of the Hill and Annex, then also Team Deathmatch, Warzone and Execution, perhaps they don’t all need to be there at launch. This might seem sacrilegious to some but I’d rather they made sure what is there is all awesome, quality over quantity than splitting the community up between very similar modes, perhaps choosing very minor differences between multiplayer modes isn’t particularly resource intensive and so this is a bit of a wasted point but post launch they can look at adding back what people want.
I also wonder if they will look at doing their own “Warzone” and by that I mean Halo 5 Guardian’s big multiplayer mode with AIs and bosses etc, Gears of War is a very different style of game to Halo so I’m not saying I want a mode on that sort of scale – it wouldn’t really fit the franchise but its undoubtedly bigger than what came before it and that’s the sort of thing I’m referring too. Perhaps 6 vs 6 with AI or something? I don’t know, I’m sure they could come up with something more compelling than that, there’s a reason they are paid to do it and I’m not, haha.
I believe in Rod and The Coalition, I expect Gears of War 4 will be on a tight schedule for release in November 2016 to give it as much time as possible and they will focus appropriately on the key features to get it done right. Doing monthly updates of new content including maps and modes is completely fine with me and I hope they look at the market and do what is best for their community whilst finding other ways to monetise it outside of maps, I can’t wait to see what it looks like and play it in Spring.
Gears is back baby!