In a panel at PAX West, director of programming Larry Hryb and The Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson revealed a little more about the campaign, environments, and new mechanics present in Gears 5 (via Twinfinite).
Fergusson proudly stated that Gears 5 has the biggest single player campaign ever built by The Coalition. One of the maps is fifty times the size of any previous Gears of War level. That’s ginormous. I checked. In the dictionary, if you look up ‘ginormous’, it shows you that map. Incredibly speedy work by The Coalition.
As for its multiplayer modes, there will be the Map Builder feature. The Coalition plans to update Gears 5 on a weekly basis, with one example being the new Hives headed to the game’s Escape mode from launch. The Map Builder was so successful in-house that the team decided to release it for players too, so they could make their own Arena and Hive maps to upload and share with others.
Fergusson went on to reveal that the driving force behind Gears 5 was to ‘challenge expectations’ through player choice. In one respect, this is achieved with the Skiff; that steampunk windsurf-y vehicle we’ve seen sliding around in the trailers. The Skiff lets players explore Gears 5 at their own pace. If you want to chillax from cutting down Locust hordes, take a ride on the Skiff and roam the world.
Choice extends to combat too. Players will be able to plot out their route and approach through the maps before chaos reigns, and new companion Jack is very helpful for that. Jack is a robot that has differing attacking and passive abilities to support the player. He can cloak you, allowing for a stealthy strategy and taking the heat off of intense firefights. In addition, Jack will heal you and collect weapons, and these abilities can be unlocked during the campaign with extra components to upgrade him.
Jack can be piloted by another player in local or online co-op, to help those new to the Gears series and as one of the game’s many accessibility features. Previously, The Coalition design director Ryan Cleven explained how the studio has made this Gears the most accessible title to date.
Gears 5 is coming on September 10 for Xbox One and PC.