It's clear the tide of loot boxes and map packs is turning when expensive big-studio games feel a need to defensively shout "I didn't fuck it up!" before launch. The latest to declare "I might not have royally muffed it!" is Gears Of War 5, which I keep forgetting is coming to PC because I keep forgetting Gears still exists. It came, it was fun, it accidentally inspired a decade of mediocre shooters, it... continued, apparently? With Gears 5, loot boxes are gone, everyone will get to play every new multiplayer map, and cosmetic bits sold aren't random.
The beaming makers declared in a blog post yesterday that they're pretty sure they haven't tripped over their own arses. The basics:
- All players will get all DLC maps "free for matchmaking and Private Play."
- The 'Gear Pack' loot boxes introduced with Gears 4, which offered random cosmetic bits for fake virtucash or real money, are gone for Gears 5.
- A battle pass sorta progression track named Tour Of Duty will reward cosmetics bits as you level it up by completing daily and seasonal challenges.
- There is still random mess with Supply, a system which gives random items from "a unique pool of content" as you play. Duplicates can at least be scrapped to craft specific items or upgrade skills or... oh god how did we end up with crafting cruft in multiplayer shooters. I don't even like crafting in crafting games.
- Premium cosmetic bits will be sold for real cash through a microtransaction currency named Iron, a trickle of which can also be earned by playing. Iron purchases will be for specific items, not random boxes o' stuff.
- It will sell boosters for real money to speed through unlock tracks, which does always make me worry the progression might slanted to be just a little slow so people want to skip ahead.
- Because I'm old, I'd still rather not have this unlock jazz and just pick the hat I want my wizard to wear. Oh well.
All of which, yeah, doesn't sound too bad for a mega-budget murderer in the late tensies. It shouldn't be remarkable but ah, after EA's bold attempt to coin the term "surprise mechanics" this week, I did find this refreshing. Maybe Gears 5 didn't fluff it. Though it definitely does have some surprise mechanics. Booo.
Gears Of War 5 is due on September 10th. It's coming to Steam and the Windows Store, where it'll also be available through the Xbox Game Pass. Oh right, that's the other reason why I forgot Gears was still on PC: it had been in the Windows Store.
Apparently Gears also now has better taste in music for trailers which don't remotely reflect anything about the game. That old Tears For Fears cover ruined a perfectly good song and I WILL FIGHT YOU.