Gears 5 Operation 7 Will Force Cross-play Between Console And PC, Add New Characters And Maps

The Coalition says the number of players disabling cross-play is affecting matchmaking times, so players will no longer have the option of opting out come the release of Operation 7.

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Gears 5's Operation 7 arrives on May 18, and when it does it will bring two new characters, new maps, a slew of balance changes, and forced cross-play across console and PC.

In a post outlining the changes coming in Operation 7, The Coalition writes that 40% of players disable the cross-play matchmaking option, which is "significantly impacting the matchmaking times for our players on both PC and console." It's for that reason The Coalition is disabling the ability to opt-out of cross-play, stating that new features included in Operation 7, such as the inclusion of new field-of-view options across all platforms, make the two versions of the game almost identical to one another. Gears 5 already supports keyboard-and-mouse for console, and the higher framerates and reduced input lag allowed for by the Xbox Series X|S make The Coalition confident in the decision to force the game's two communities together.

Leading the charge in terms of new content is the addition of two new characters fans of the series are likely familiar with: Ukkon and Hana Cole. Ukkon is the big-bad Locust scientist from Gears Tactics that players spend much of that game looking to eliminate, while Hana Cole is a gifted scientist and daughter of longtime Gears of War character Augustus "Cole Train" Cole. Hana made her debut in Gears 5's Hivebuster DLC, where she played a critical role in developing the hivebusting technology employed by Scorpio Squad.

A new map PvP, Ephyra, will have players battling for control of a desolated hotel amidst a burning city. Three new Horde maps are also being added alongside a new Horde Frenzy event mode, plus there is a long list of changes to challenges and balance updates for PvE.

Players who enjoy custom games will now earn experience points for completing custom matches, albeit at a slower rate than in official matchmaking modes. Mutators with various effects such as headshots causing explosions and new screen effect options are also making their way into custom games.

The Coalition recently confirmed it has two new projects in the works, both of which use Unreal Engine 5. The studio quickly shot down rumors that it was working on a new Star Wars game.

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