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5 Things To Know About Gears Of War 4’s Multiplayer

by Javy Gwaltney on Apr 14, 2016 at 07:40 AM

A week ago we were finally able to get some hands-on time with Gears of War 4's multiplayer (about two hours' worth of time to be precise) and also got to hear some of The Coalition’s long-term plans for the multiplayer component. You can watch footage of me wrecking and getting wrecked here if you want to get straight to that, but here are some of the big takeaways from my time with the game and what The Coalition told us about its plans.

The new Dodgeball mode is ridiculously fun.

I was able to play both team deathmatch and a new mode called Dodgeball with other players during the session. Dodgeball is a variant of team deathmatch where once you’re killed you’re out of the game for good…unless one of your teammates kills an opponent. If that happens, you’re brought back into the game. If there are several people dead on a team, they’ll be placed in a queue, with each kill bringing back the person at the front of the respawn line .

It’s a tense, exciting game where victory never feels like a sure thing, even when it’s one player versus five. We had matches that lasted several seconds and one that went on until the game timer ran down just because the back and forth was so vicious and constantly changing.  When the playtest wrapped up, I found myself wishing I could play even more Dodgeball matches.

All the DLC maps will be free – but there’s a catch.

During the presentation before the playtest, The Coalition ran down its plans for what it was bringing to Gears of War 4's multiplayer. Among the most interesting details is how the developer is approaching DLC. 10 maps will be available at launch with additional maps releasing every month post-launch for free. However, to avoid overwhelming new players, maps will rotate out of public playlists. To play the maps that have been rotated out on private servers, players will need to purchase that map. Only the host of the game actually has to buy the map, so every other player connecting to that particular game won’t have to purchase it as well.

Gears of War 4 has its sights set on the eSports scene, but wants to welcome casual players as well.

The Coalition talked about how it was going to try and strike a balance between appealing to both competitive and casual players. With Gears of War Ultimate Edition and the development of its multiplayer, The Coalition reached out to streamers, casters, and players for feedback on what the developer could do to make the game more watchable. A revised spectator system, which gives players a large amount of camera options, is something that sprung from this feedback.

There’s also a revised ranking system as well as bot options that will allow players to work with humans cooperatively against a team of A.I. opponents. Experience earned during these matches against the A.I. is applied to the player’s online profile so that, according to The Coalition, they will feel like they’re making some sort of progress beyond just practicing.

The game's main competitive mode will be revealed soon.

The Coalition briefly mentioned a new mode called Escalation, but didn’t delve too much into what it's about except to say that it would be the game’s “premiere competitive mode” and that it was designed with eSports in mind. More details about Escalation will be revealed at PAX East (which starts on April 22).

You can play the multiplayer beta as early as next week.

Itching to get a taste of Gears of War 4's multiplayer for yourself? You’ll be able to very soon. The beta opens up on April 18 for people who own and have played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (either the Xbox One or Windows 10 edition) prior to April 11. On April 25, anyone who has an Xbox Live Gold account will have access to the beta until it ends.

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