Last month, we relayed word of a new report about a new Gears of War game in development, tentatively dubbed Gears of War 6. And we hope it’s not true, because if it is, it shows The Coalition still doesn’t get it. The first three Gears of War games were made by Epic Games. If that name sounds familiar it’s because Epic Games is responsible for Fortnite. In other words, it’s moved onto far bigger things. When Epic Games left the series behind, The Coalition took it over. We don’t need to get into the history of the studio, but it was a big leap for the team and it quickly showed.
The first three Gears of War games were best-sellers, critically-acclaimed, and some of the biggest releases of their generations. This can’t be said for Gears of War 4 and Gears 5, the two games released under The Coalition. The first of these two games aimed to carry on the baton by creating a fairly faithful and familiar experience. The only problem was the quality was simply a step down in comparison. It’s a good game, but there’s a reason it didn’t achieve the same significance as its predecessors. It was a good first stab though for a studio growing into the role of caretaker. And then The Coalition took a backward step with Gears 5.
In terms of quality, there’s not much to separate Gears of War 4 from Gears 5. Both are solid games, but the latter attempted to evolve the series. At face value, this isn’t a bad thing. Everything needs to evolve over time, but it’s a delicate tightrope to walk when you attempt to evolve a popular and established IP with very specific expectations. This is doubly true when you’re attempting to evolve something you didn’t create in the first place. The Coalition thankfully didn’t bite off more than it could chew though.
If you haven’t played Gears 5, it introduced a semi open-world. The first four games are very linear and structured, and it works well for its gameplay and narrative pacing. The open world elements of Gears 5 are the worst elements of the game because Gears of War isn’t an open-world series. To be fair, The Coalition isn’t the only one to attempt this open-world evolution. Everyone has been trying to make open-world and semi open-world games, even if it’s not associated with the IP. And most fail. For one, because it’s not what fans want. Two, because it often doesn’t suit the games themselves. And three because open-world games require developers specialized in making them.
All of this brings us to the aforementioned report, which claims that Gears of War 6 will be much more like a proper open-world game than Gears 5. In other words, The Coalition is leaning into the worst element of Gears 5 presumably in an attempt to evolve the series. And as far as we can see, nobody is asking for this, which begs the question: why? Well, we don’t know the answer to this question, but it has us worried about the future of the series.
To make Gears of War standout from its predecessors you need compelling new characters, an original new narrative, and perhaps some clever mechanics that modernize its cover-based, third-person shooting. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to evolve something. Unfortunately, The Coalition struck out with the three things above, especially with Gears 5, and so it’s opting to go for the more radical, or at least it may be doing this. It’s worth noting all of this speculation and worry is based on an unofficial report.
What makes all of this extra puzzling is if you were going to go for a more radical change, you’d assume it would be done in the multiplayer realm, not the less relevant campaign. If the game was revealed and there was now also a battle royale mode or an extraction mode, you’d understand the call. And as long as the campaign and traditional multiplayer were there, no real harm done. However, to tweak the campaign, the part of the game that needs spicing up the least, and the part of the series that has a particular sentimental value for many fans, is a peculiar call.
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