Gears 5 Combat Was Inspired By Bioshock: Infinite

How "player-initiated combat" became an important touchstone for the new Gears.

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Now Playing: Gears 5 Horde Mode Reveal | Gamescom 2019

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The Gears of War series is known for a specific pace of combat. The cover-based mechanics helped revolutionize shooters, but Gears 5 is taking a very different approach inspired more by open-world shooters. In an interview with GameSpot, studio head Rod Fergusson explained how the studio took notes from another game he worked on, BioShock Infinite.

"We were saying we want to challenge expectations of player choice," Fergusson said. "What are ways that we can give the player more choice? And so one way is player-initiated combat. I learned that lesson from Bioshock Infinite. And so, the idea that there are battles that the swarm are just kind of meandering around and whatever, and you get to look around and see that there's a weapon over there or there's a flank point there or a sniper over there, and then what are the tools I have in Jack that I can sort of use to overcome the situation? We wanted to allow you that moment to take it in and decide how you wanted to play it out."

Fergusson went on to explain that introducing enemies with health bars helps more clearly signal to the player how aggressive they can be, as compared with past Gears games, and the RPG elements and upgrades help add more variety to combat.

"What are the ways that people are going to play? We didn't want there to be one where you would just fill up all the upgrades, and at the end, everybody plays the same," he said. "That's why we didn't do the tech tree thing. We wanted people to be like, 'Oh, I want to invest in this thing' or 'This is the way that I like to play. I like stealth, so I want to do this,' or 'I don't like stealth, I like this.'"

Gears 5 launches on PC and Xbox One on September 10, but early access begins a few days earlier for Ultimate Edition purchasers or Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. For more detail, read our hands-on impressions of the campaign, Horde Mode, and how its microtransactions and multiplayer progression work.

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