Microsoft’s Xbox consoles have had some heavyweight hits in recent years. Generally called exclusives, these games offer the best play experiences possible on Xbox consoles. They’re called what they’re called because they’ll never make their way to any other device in a big way; Microsoft uses them to lure users into purchasing its system. Without a doubt, Halo is the biggest gaming franchise that Microsoft has. Microsoft purchased the rights to the Xbox’s second biggest video game franchise a few years ago from Epic Games. At last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show the company revealed Gears of War 4, the first game in that second-biggest video game franchise.
Gears of War is like Halo in that it’s a shooter. Where the two differ is in tone and mechanics. Gears of War has you fighting for the future of humanity, but it’s also less dramatic than Halo. What’s more, there’s all sorts of blood and gore. Weapons with saws built into them let players mow each other down in online multiplayer or aliens in the single player experience. Cover mechanics provide a level of strategy some believe are missing from other shooters. Lastly, Gears of War 4 is a third-person shooter. As such, you can see your characters in a way that Halo just doesn’t allow.
Microsoft boosted sales of the Xbox One last year with Halo 5: Guardians. The company plans to do the same this year with the highly anticipated Gears of War 4. Here’s what we know about Gears of War 4 already.
Gears of War 4 Release Date
Seeking to anchor the holiday buying season with the game, Microsoft has remained relatively quiet on a final release date for Gears of War 4 thus far. That’s to be expected, we’ve only just begun 2016.
Officially, we know that an internal Microsoft Studio, dubbed The Coalition, is well into developing Gears of War 4 and that Microsoft plans to release the title sometime in 2016. We also know that the Gears of War 4 release will mirror the launch of Halo 5 in that those with an Xbox 360 console won’t be able to play it. The Coalition’s Jack Felling confirmed this last year, according to IGN.
Users can prepare for Gears of War 4 now by purchasing one of the Xbox One bundles that includes a digital copy of Gears of War Ultimate Edition. The Xbox One starts at $349.99 for a model with 500GB of storage.
Gears of War 4 Pre-Orders
Because we don’t have an official Gears of War 4 release date, pre-orders for the game aren’t available either. Usually video game retailers will include an entry in their stores with a temporary release date, just so that they can start letting users purchase a game before its release. Even that hasn’t happened in this case. Gears of War 4 isn’t yet available for digital pre-order in the Xbox Store.
Games that are as important to the future of a console as Gears of War 4 is usually get different special editions with extras, and digital copies with digital items. Microsoft hasn’t announced any Special Edition or Limited Edition versions of Gears of War 4 either. Certainly they’ll do that by June when this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo happens and they reveal more about the game, but for now we know nothing.
Gears of War 4 Story
From the Gears of War 4 gameplay revealed at E3 2015, we know that the game will focus on two new characters: one male and one female. JD and his partner Kait, spend the entire trailer fighting and being chased by an all-new threat that’s different from the Locusts that acted as chief antagonists in previous games. This new threat seems even more dangerous than Locusts, if that’s possible. The creature Kait and JD encounter during the Gears of War 4 tease aired during the show is called a Wind Flare, according to IGN.
From the trailer, we know that gory deaths are making a return. We also know that the a Lancer complete with a customary for Gears of War chainsaw is coming to the game. The trailer also confirms that cover mechanics, which were heavily emphasized in previous Gears of War games, are making they return too. Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer on the original games said that he thinks fans of the series will be pleased with where The Coalition is taking Gears of War 4’s story, but didn’t elaborate much more on what he knows.
Just got off the phone with a friend who is doing some writing on the next Gears game. Sounds like we will all be very pleased with it. :)
— Cliff Bleszinski (@therealcliffyb) January 23, 2016
Again, as we get closer to release we can expect that The Coalition, with original series executive Rod Fergusson, will have more to share about Gears of War 4.
Gears of War 4 Beta
Microsoft confirmed that there’d be a Gears of War 4 Beta release months ago. Holding a testing session for players makes sense, Gears of War is predominately a multiplayer experience for most people. That the servers and systems that power the multiplayer experience work immediately on release day is paramount to the reputation of the still untested studio creating the game and Xbox Live in general.
We know that the Gears of War 4 Beta will arrive sometime this year. We also know that Microsoft doesn’t plan on opening up that beta sometime this summer. To get into the beta Xbox One owners will need to purchase a copy of Gears of War Ultimate Edition, the Xbox One remake of the first game in the series. Microsoft revealed it alongside Gears of War 4 during its E3 2015 Media Briefing.