How Gears 5's Microtransactions & Multiplayer Progression Work
Gears 5's Tour of Duty works similarly to a battle pass, but it's completely free.
Xbox Game Pass players and Ultimate Edition owners will be able to jump into Gears 5 in a week, with full access to all of its multiplayer modes. We already know about the return of Horde and Versus, and the introduction of the new Escape mode. Multiplayer design director Ryan Cleven recently assured players that its monetization would be "player-friendly," and after speaking to Cleven myself, we know exactly how it's all going to work.
Cleven told me Gears 5 will not feature real-money loot boxes or any kind of randomized packs. The only microtransactions in the game will be relegated to their own store and won't affect gameplay in any way. Things like premium cosmetics and DLC characters--like the playable Halo Reach characters--are expected items. You'll pay for these items directly, so you'll know exactly what you're getting for your money.
You also won't be able to purchase items you can earn for free with real money, eliminating the "Pay Us Now, Get It Sooner" mentality of some microtransaction-laden games. I was told that the ideology behind Gears 5's progression was achievement-based--not Xbox achievements, but instead the challenges and feats you perform in gameplay.
This is where Gears 5's Tour of Duty comes in. It's a battle pass-style system that you can work your way through by completing challenges and collecting items as you level up. The big difference between Tour of Duty and battle passes in games like Fortnite, however, is that it's completely free. Cleven told me that it was important to The Coalition to provide it for free as part of the $60 AAA game experience.
Cleven also said that the plan for Gears 5 is to release sizable multiplayer expansions every three months. These will include new content, characters, and more and sound a lot like the season system you see in many modern multiplayer games. One of the things players can expect is the map builder coming to Horde mode.
Gears 5 releases for Xbox Game Pass subscribers and Ultimate Edition owners on September 6, while its official launch is four days later on September 10.
To learn more about Gears 5, how its campaign tackles open environments and RPG elements, and more, check out our articles below:
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