When gamers think of Xbox, they think Halo. It’s Microsoft’s number 1 exclusive franchise and has been ever since Halo: Combat Evolved first arrived on the scene in 2001. Master Chief is the face of the company – their poster boy, their golden goose – and doesn’t seem to be running out of steam. And here we are in 2014 on the brink of Halo 2’s 10th anniversary and its being celebrated in style. At this year’s E3 – as if you haven’t already heard – Microsoft unveiled Halo: The Master Chief Collection for the Xbox One. Not only graphically remastering Halo 2’s campaign and select multiplayer maps, but also included is Halo: CE Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, the Halo 5: Guardians beta and the Halo: Nightfall digital series. A pretty cool treat if you ask me and I’m sure Halo fans will agree.
So now that Halo is receiving the full works, what about Microsoft’s number 2 exclusive franchise Gears of War? We know Microsoft now owns the franchise after purchasing the rights from Epic Games, and we also know the newly formed Black Tusk Studios is working on the next iteration in the Gears of War franchise. But before you know it November 2016 will be upon us, and not only is that a potential release date for the next iteration of Gears, it will also mark the 10th anniversary of Gears of War 1. And as of writing this a Gears of War collection is the second most requested post on Xbox’s feedback website, only being beaten out by people wanting backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360. There’s a demand for it to happen then, and only time will tell if it actually does. Regardless though, this post is just one Gears fan’s vision and potential ideas what the collection could include.
1) Dedicated Servers For Gears 1 & 2.
Gears of War 2’s multiplayer is well documented upon fans, and anyone who played it at launch will tell you one thing: it was broken. Lag plagued Gears of War 2’s multiplayer upon launch, to people spawning without a weapon, ridiculous bullet delay even to the point where you had no other choice but to quit – and possibly for good. Many gamers quit Gears of War 2’s multiplayer because of the online issues it had and it may have even been such a bad online experience for some that they never returned; and dare I say the experience was off-putting enough that they might have even quit the franchise for good. Plus Call of Duty: World at War also released in the same month as Gears of War 2 so potentially there was a lot of players that switch over to Cod and players just never returned. Epic obviously learned from their mistake as Gears of War 3 and Judgement had dedicated servers and GoW 3 even had a public multiplayer beta six months prior to launch.
Gears of War 1’s multiplayer didn’t always run smoothly either, however it faired much better because players could choose to host or join a game, whereas GoW 2 seemed to select the host randomly and subsequently caused problems when the host’s connection was weak. This is why it’s pivotal for the Gears Collection to have dedicated servers, and it may even entice players who originally played GoW 2’s multiplayer but quit early on and never returned.
2) Horde Mode For Gears 1
Ignoring the lag in GoW 2’s multiplayer for a second and you may remember that GoW 2 introduced the now fan-favourite Horde mode. Now purists out there that regard Gears 1 to be best Gears game may want to see it stay untouched, however I don’t think many will complain about the addition of a new mode, especially when Horde has proven to work – and work well – on many of Gears 1’s maps that were remastered for Gears 2 and 3. So yes, Canals, Gridlock, Mansion, Subway, Tyro Station, Fuel Depot and War Machine were all remade and playable in Horde mode for Gears 2, and Bullet Marsh, Raven Down, Clocktower and Gridlock were playable in Hoarde 2.0 in Gears 3, leaving the question as to why there would even to be Hoarde in Gears 1? Well there’s still plenty of Gears 1 maps that have never been remastered and playable on Horde mode, and those maps are Mausoleum, Rooftops, Old Bones, Garden and Process. Gears of War: Judgement never had a horde mode either but it did have the somewhat similar Survival mode.
3) Beta Access For Gears of War 4
Now this one’s obviously going to depend on when Black Tusk plans to release Gears of War 4. It may even launch before November 2016, therefore an inclusion of beta access in the GoW collection is out of the question. However, if Gears 4 isn’t released by the end of 2016 then the inclusion of a multiplayer beta is a logical one. The Gears 3 beta was a great treat for the fans to get hands on with the multiplayer early and wet the appetite before the game’s actual release, as well as providing Epic with player feedback and statistics.
4) It Would Be a Test For Black Tusk To See Which Gears Game Is Most Popular
Including all four Gears of War games into one package could be a very interesting experiment, especially in terms of the multiplayer side of things. Black Tusk could very easily monitor the popularity of each Gears game online and could then mould the multiplayer in Gears 4 around whichever game has the most active multiplayer community. If the collection was to release on GoW 1’s 10th anniversary then of course a lot of the focus would already be on Gears 1 and therefore people would be more naturally inclined to play for nostalgia, but Black Tusk could also see which maps and modes are popular too.
5) A Developer Diary Video Celebrating Gears’ 10th Anniversary
Yes maybe casual gamers who pick up the Gears collection would just rather play the game(s), but for hardcore fans that have been there from the start, a peek behind the curtain to see how the sausage was made is always interesting. There was a great developer diary included in the special edition of Gears 2, and this time they could take it one step further by interviewing current employees at Black Tusk to ex employees at Epic, and, of course, an interview with the Gears of War Godfather Cliff Blezinski would be a nice treat for fans as well now that he’s moved away from the Gears franchise.
6) Team Deathmatch for Gears 1 and 2
Adding Team Deathmatch to Gears 3 was probably the biggest risk Epic has made on the multiplayer side of things (excluding the exclusion of Locust from multiplayer in GoW: Judgement, that is). Gears of War 1 and 2 was mainly built around round-by-round multiplayer, and if you died early on in a match then, well, you had to spectate for the remainder of the round. That was the price you paid, until Team Deathmatch came into the fold. Gears of War, to me, will always be about it’s two core multiplayer modes – Execution and Warzone – however the risk of including TDM has obviously paid off as it’s proved to be a wildly popular mode in both GoW 3 and Judgement, right up until to the moment I’m writing this where most people are playing TDM. In this day and age of fast-paced first-person shooters like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo and now even Titanfall, players have become accustomed to respawning instantly after dying, and the thought of having to watch a teammate whilst dead instead of jumping right back into the fold is a daunting one – especially to casual players. I can’t imagine diehard Gears fans would like to see TDM in Gears 1 or 2 – especially not in 1 – but again, if it’s included and proves to be the most popular mode, then it could be a risk worth taking.
7) A Kill-Cam And Video Editor
Gears of War 2 allowed you to take photos when you were spectating in multiplayer, but I really feel like Gears has needed to step up for a while now and include a full in-game video capture and editor. If you get an amazing headshot or clutch 4v1 and you want the world to see it then you should be able to do just that. And what about being able to edit your own videos too? Everyone loves a good montage, but what about a comedic video series? The possibilities are endless with video. Plus Black Tusk could run weekly video series such as top ten kills of the week, top players of the week, and biggest fails of the week, which would not only be fun for the community but they could involve them by allowing players to vote and by rewarding active players in the community. A kill-cam seems like an obvious inclusion to me also, as it would be nice to see from the perspective of the player who killed you, especially if it’s a nice headshot or a frag grenade thrown from afar. Kill-cams have been prevalent in first-person shooters for many years now but not so much in third-person shooters. Plus it would mean that ultimate end of round humiliation for the player that’s killed as they’d have to watch themselves being killed.
So there you have it. There are my seven things I’d like to see included in the (as of right now hypothetical) Gears of War Collection. But what would you like to see in a Gears of War Collection? Would you even want one at all? Be sure to let me know on Twitter @icon162. Thanks guys, I hoped you enjoyed reading it!