E3 2011: Gears of War 3 Horde Mode 2.0 Preview

Horde mode is back but not without changes and new additions to the popular cooperative mode.

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There's more Gears of War 3 news coming your way, even though we just saw a demo earlier today regarding the single-player campaign. After the first day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Epic Games and Microsoft held an event in the evening to highlight the new mode, Horde 2.0, but it was also a party where rapper and voice actor Ice-T came onstage to perform with his band, Body Count. GameSpot was there as well, speaking to executive producer Rod Fergusson and creative director Cliff Bleszinski, as well as the voice cast from the game.

This was our first opportunity to get some hands-on time with the new mode, and after spending a good amount of time in the competitive beta, we found Horde 2.0 quite enjoyable. Competitive Gears of War multiplayer required a lot of teamwork to be successful, and in Horde mode that teamwork is mandatory if you hope to fend off 50 waves of locusts and the glowing lambents. In a team of five, you have to defeat the oncoming rush, and at least one person must survive. However, during some waves, our objective was to keep everyone alive.

One major change that you'll notice right away is that now there is the ability to build fortifications on the map. The map we were playing on was called "Hotel," so the once-ritzy hotel lobby made a great base for us to fortify and defend. Between each wave you'll have 30 seconds to walk around and add barricades, turrets, decoys, and sentry guns to help in the next round. There is a currency system now, so in order to repair, build, revive yourself, or even pick up certain weapons, there's a fee. You'll earn cash by killing enemies and helping your teammates, and the more you play this mode, the more cool items you'll unlock--one of them being the silverback, a mech suit which we saw in the campaign demo. We didn't get to play with the silverback, but a new weapon that we came across was the cleaver, a ridiculously large sword that drags along the ground when you run, leaving sparks. It's not the most efficient weapon, especially when it's a bit slow and you're swinging pretty wildly with it. But it makes short work of locusts when they're right in front of you.

Given that it is a cooperative game, you can always help your teammates out by sharing ammo or swapping weapons. You can even be a mooch and ask for money. This changes up the strategy quite a bit, as each wave gets progressively harder. But your base will slowly expand over the course of 50 waves as well, so you can upgrade and secure a larger perimeter. Every 10 waves you'll face a boss wave, where instead of drones and the not-so-bright Boomers, you're likely going to have to fend off the larger Brumaks or the shrieking Berserkers. It'll be an intense round for sure, but what keeps you on your toes is that in each wave, the enemy types are randomized, so sometimes you'll need to change up your strategy a bit to be more efficient.

The hotel map was a nice change from the maps that we've grown accustomed to in the beta, and the layout was clearly designed for this mode in mind. Even though it's clear the city has seen better days, there was some foliage decorating the streets and hotel interior to give the map some semblance of life. The environment was more colorful and vibrant thanks to the lavish hotel interior and extra palm trees. It was even easier to identify teammates in the distance because the blue in their armor was bright and stood out more.

Another feature that has been added to Horde 2.0 but that we didn't see is Mutators, where you can adjust the difficulty in private matches and customize the game types. If you've messed around with Big Head mode during the beta, you can do the same here and give the enemies giant heads and squeaky voices. One last thing to point out is that there is host migration, so in the event that the host quits, the match will continue. As always, there will be plenty of ribbons, medals, and weapon skins to unlock, so you can get in on all of this when Gears of War 3 is released on September 20.

Discussion

55 comments
omghaxor45
omghaxor45

omfg cant wait!! i love the fact that theres mutators too! i could just tell they're doing everything they can to make this game a little bit more fun! :) and when the article said about the sword 'a ridiculously large sword that drags along the ground when you run, leaving sparks' wow lol cant wait to see how that looks!!!

C00RS_LITE
C00RS_LITE

I'm on Gears 3 withdrawl after the Beta was over. I can't wait till it comes out this game is gunna be sick!

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Whats the bet theres a 'Seriously 3.0' achievement [Kill 1,000,000,000] enemies : )

lipehique
lipehique

@moonstrider101 oh, didnt know that. thnks

SolanOcard
SolanOcard

Wait... is this in addition to, or in replace of, the mode that was announced a long time ago, where you play as the Locust and earn upgrades to more powerful Locust (start off as a lowly drone and move up to a Brumak...)?

masa182
masa182

I love their new system I cant fukin'wait to play horde mode & beast mode 1!

DFBTG
DFBTG

So long as local co-op campaign is kept, I'll be satisfied. Best part of Gears (aside from chainsawing) in my opinion.

moonstrider101
moonstrider101

@lipehique World at War and GOW 2 came out the same year 2008 and GOW2 was actually released a few days before. Both games were created during the same time period and since they are so completely different, there was no way the developers could know that both would have a similar game type.

-DirtySanchez-
-DirtySanchez-

i like the idea of the new horde mode but i hope they have a classic option aswell

lipehique
lipehique

People... I HATE cod, i LOVE GOW, but i couldnt just let this pass... The "cod zombie mode" was created a long time ago in world at war games, so i guess it was created first. but gow horde is still great.

Edot0
Edot0

Can't wait to set up the turrets and laser fences and hold off dozens of locust! Going to be EPIC! BUT.....Where is the video??!! FAIL.

DoomSky
DoomSky

Gears 2 made the "Horde" game type popular in action games again but I think so far Halo Reach's firefight has made the best version thanks to the massive customisation of the experience but this looks set to take the crown back.

hybrid7seven7
hybrid7seven7

sounds like some excellent improvements. Gears has pioneered such great gameplay elements. just watch as other games start adding similar features in their survival modes

Barighm
Barighm

One of the best things about Horde mode was its simplicity where other games try to do their own spin on the formula and can't get it right. Hopefully this doesn't change the feel of Horde mode too much. Here's hoping for the option to play the classic version.

Overlord93
Overlord93

Barricades and currency sounds awesome

advanracer
advanracer

"Horde Morde" as what OJ Ice-T said..i mean OG.

JiggyJigster
JiggyJigster

This sounds EPIC! Loved Horde in Gears of war 2 and I'll probably love it even more when I play Gears of war 3!

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

I want this. But I also want horde mode classic. I want both modes, dammit.

gundaicut
gundaicut

loved horde in gears2 but horde 2.0 sounds even better Time to preorder the Gears of war Console :)

chyng85
chyng85

It's really exciting~

drokmore
drokmore

One of my all time multiplayer favorite multiplayer modes. Should be a blast.

Vozlov
Vozlov

@ACx7 "I've been forcing myself so that my LIVE doesn't go to waste." Lol. *Looks at other games*- YOU ALL SUCK.

dreadkght
dreadkght

Gears 3 GOY theres so much to do in gears 3 I'm happy thanks Cliff!

oKiRe
oKiRe

5 players seems a little odd. It should be at least 6.

Darkstar_Sinada
Darkstar_Sinada

I love people comparing this to CoD's Zombie modes. Everyone realizes Gears 2 was the first game to have this type of game mode, then everyone else jump on ship, right?

Ashman555
Ashman555

a bit of Cod zombie mode in there then :) awesome

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Ah nice upgrades to Horde! My buds and I play all the horde-style games... Firefight in Halo, Nazi Zombies in Black Ops. Heck, we even played the horde mode in Transformers! So... needless to say... I'll be playing a lot of this.

01706_123
01706_123

horde mode was amazing in gears of war 2 but gears of war 3 just sounds and looks better cannt wait

Rasputin2011
Rasputin2011

Just banged out my Preorder last night! I love the Gears franchise and Will be hibernating three months early this year :-P

Speuj
Speuj

Sooo.. Horde Mode's gone all Tower Defense... You know, that's rather genius, I must say! That's the first thing that's drawn my interest in this one. It doesn't look like it'll be more of the same as I had initially thought...

sin-a
sin-a

Why always all games are coming in fall??? is not summer the season?

ACx7
ACx7

@Vozlov I'm right there with you on that one. Ever since the beta ended I haven't even wanted to turn my Xbox on. I've been forcing myself so that my LIVE doesn't go to waste. It's like nothing can fill the void that the beta left except the final product. September seems so far away :'(

Vozlov
Vozlov

*Revs up Lancer* YEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAW LETS ROCk... September? : ( *Turns off lancer* Dang nabit! This is gonna kick ass.

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

Oh Hells yea, horde was the undeniable more-popular mode but it wasnt perfect. Can't wait for this game, we all need a change of pace from all the copy-cat shooters out there

dark_rage864
dark_rage864

melee weapon? cleaver? wow this game is gonna rock!

jackson84
jackson84

Awwwww Shhhhhhh....Can't wait!

Lionoversusking
Lionoversusking

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Agent3sephiroth
Agent3sephiroth

These characters in that screenshot look so pathetic in the context of this game. Wheres the dirt, sweat and scars in their body and face? And the female character looks more like a stunning fashion model than a soldier! LMAO!

Jim60360
Jim60360

can't wait, this will be nothing short of a masterpiece!

NickyWithATicky
NickyWithATicky

This sounds a bit like Nazi Zombies. The good thing is I love Nazi Zombies so if this is only equal to that I'll love this too, but knowing Epic it'll probably be better :)