Epic mega dude Cliff Bleszinski has revealed brand new Gears of War 2 multiplayer details to US site 1UP, which aim to address some of players' bug bears with the first game.
However, Epic won't be implementing clan support, a move which will disappoint many fans. The developer is instead concentrating on providing a "rich party system".
Chief among the Gears of War 2 online hit list is eliminating host advantage. To do this Epic will be offloading the voice server from the host to other servers. Bleszinski told 1UP: "Host advantage is something we're very much concerned about. We want to bring the performance of everybody else across the board that much higher as far as network optimisation so everybody has a far more consistent experience."
Bleszinski denied that the increase in players from four versus four to five versus five, and the implementation of a photo capturing spectator mode, would increase lag experienced in competitive multiplayer. He said: "It's really not that many more players that are active at any given time in the battlefield so it's not that much more that we would need to optimise for, for that."
Epic has also disabled the fake God mode players enjoyed while in the chainsaw motion. In Gears of War 2, when you chainsaw an opponent you will be vulnerable to enemy fire, increasing the risk associated with getting up close.
Bleszinski also detailed some of the new multiplayer game modes. Wingman, which pits five teams of two against each other, forces players to finish opponents up close. Players will be able to revive their wingmen up to six times. In this mode, executions will become extremely important, he said.
Guardian, a re-imagination of the Assassination game mode, sees one player, the leader, act as a respawner. Bleszinski said players will hole up in houses, putting grenades (which now stick to surfaces as well as players) on the walls to create fortifications to protect the leader.
And Meat Flag, a capture the flag game mode, sees the implementation of the new 'meat shield' feature in a multiplayer game mode. Players need to track down a computer controlled character, down him, grab him and drag him to a designated location to score.
Gears 2 will feature class and weapon specific executions, a trade mark of the series. Cog soldiers will one two three punch enemy Locust. Locust will tear Cog arms off and beat them to death with them. Custom pistol executions include a whack on the head with a Cowboy-style holster finish. The Longshot sniper rifle is used like a club, and the Torque Bow execution sees players kick off their opponent's heads in an extrapolated version of the classic curb stomp.
Bleszinski confirmed that the game will ship with two remade maps from Gears one - Subway and Gridlock. The rest will be completely new with "new layouts, new locations, gimmicks and hooks". There will be at least 10 of these new maps included in the game. Bleszinski wouldn't rule out the possibility of further remade maps from the first game being made available as DLC.
To accompany the Gears 2 info explosion, Microsoft released loads of brand new screen shots, and we've got them right here for your viewing pleasure.
Gears of War 2 will be released exclusively for the Xbox 360 this November.