Developer Blog 5: Your Gears 4 Legacy

Gears of War 4 - 4K Gameplay Demo

Welcome back to yet another Developer Blog! This week we’ve hit the road to Gamescom, where our away team watches on as Gears fans get hands on with Gears of War 4 for Windows 10 in glorious 4K resolution.

If you’re not at the show this week – don’t fret. We’ve got 10 minutes of gameplay to share with you. If you have the right monitor or TV, crank the resolution to 4K to get your first taste of 4K Gears 4 gameplay.

In the meantime, this week’s Developer Blog has some brand new details for Multiplayer fans. Whether you’ll be spending your time surviving in Horde mode, taking on other players in Versus or a mix of the two, you’ll be earning XP, Credits and – in most cases – Ranks as you play. It’s time for us to let you know what to expect. Welcome to Developer Blog 5: Your Gears 4 Legacy.

Earning Credits

Unlike prior Gears of War games, you won’t earn specific characters or rewards based on achieving certain levels. In Gears of War 4, everything you do in Online Multiplayer earns you Credits. Whether you’re battling it out against the Swarm in Horde, or taking on human opponents in Versus, simply playing the game online in either mode will reward you with Credits.

You can use these Credits to acquire your choice of Gear Packs available in the store which will unlock a variety of items depending on the Pack you choose – including Characters and Weapon Skins. You can learn more about Credits, ways to obtain the Cards you want the most and the Gear Pack system in this Developer Blog.

Re-Ups

First introduced in Gears of War 3, the Re-Up system is back and better than ever. As you play the game in any Online Multiplayer mode, you’ll be earning XP towards your in-game Level whenever you complete matches or waves of Horde.

In Gears of War 4, you'll have 100 Levels to conquer on your quest to Re-Up. Gears of War 4 features 10 Re-Ups, and every time you Re-Up, there's new rewards waiting for you! For every Re-Up you complete, you’ll be awarded bonus Gear Packs as well as a Unique Emblem to display behind your name in lobbies and scoreboards.

You’ll also earn a special icon (shown in the image to the right) that displays behind your Level number or playlist Rank – as you get to higher and higher Re-Ups, the icon gets more elaborate and it's color becomes hotter. I talked to Josh Trusz (Lead UI Artist) to find out the design ethos behind the new Re-Up icons. 

Josh Trusz: Since we’re dealing with a very small area to show your current Re-Up, we went with a tiered approach that starts off simple with a flat gem, increasing in complexity, detail and presence as you climb through the Re-Ups.

The Re-Ups slowly build up in detail as you go through them, culminating in Rank 10 which is engulfed in flames and has a much more detailed gem. Each Re-Up icon also needed to work in conjunction with your skill based Rank icon being overlayed on top, and your numerical Level in other circumstances.

The Re-Up icons have a fair amount of detail to them on their own so we did a lot of work to ensure they feel symbiotic with both Levels and Ranks, and not just look like two graphics overlayed onto one another. We hope fans love earning them!

Thanks Josh! Only the most dedicated fans will reach the awesome fire-red Re-Up 10. Will you be one of them?

Ranks

Ranks are a new skill based matchmaking system that’s a core part of the Gears 4 Versus Experience. In case you didn’t get to try them in the Beta, Ranks are a visible skill rating that will provide you with opponents of similar skill levels, resulting in more balanced matches and a better way to grow your Versus skillset over time.

Ranks are present for every Core and Competitive playlist and are assigned on an individual per-playlist basis. You’ll earn your rank by playing 5 initial placement matches to help us determine your skill level – winning is what matters. After this, you’ll be placed in one of five Ranks – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Onyx or Diamond – and one of the three tiers (numbered 1-3) within that rank.

As you play, consistently winning will increase your chances of getting a Promotion to the next tier (or if you’re at Tier 3, to the next Rank). Conversely, consistently losing may get you demoted. If you’re winning around half of your matches, you’re likely in the Rank that suits your current skill level which should provide the best matches possible.

I caught up with Ryan Cleven (Lead MP Designer) to find out what improvements have been made since the Beta.

Ryan Cleven: The data we gathered from the beta enabled us to fine tune the ranking system. The beta had some issues with too many players in a single rank, or people getting stuck at certain ranks. We’ve redesigned how the ranks are assigned to provide a much more stable system. The changes are largely invisible to players as the ranks will stay as they are, but how many players are in each tier will be better balanced.

Based on player feedback from the beta, we have also increased the frequency of rank updates so that ranks promotions will happen more quickly. We also expect players to see a significant improvement in getting fair ranked matches where players are of similar skill.

If you need to warm up your skills before heading into Core or Competitive, we’ve added a new single unranked playlist known as ‘Social’.

In Social, we’ve mixed all the Core game modes together into one playlist. At the end of each match, players will decide the next match by voting for the next map and mode combination they want - after the vote is finished, you'll quickly be transitioned to the next map (or mode if a new one was selected). The Social playlist uses the same tuning as the Core playlists.

The Return of Seriously

No Gears game is complete without Seriously, and Gears of War 4 marks the return of the achievement with the aptly named Seriously 4.0!

The philosophy behind our design of the next Seriously iteration is simple - to make an achievement representing Gears fans that show hardcore dedication to the game and mastery of all aspects of Gears of War.

We heard the fan feedback on Seriously 3.0 from Gears of War 3 so we’ve streamlined the requirements from that version to offer clearer, less intrusive goals (for example, you won't need to get 6000 kills with each weapon) that still take time to earn.

Here’s your first look at the requirements of Seriously 4.0. We’ll reveal the last three requirements a little later this year once we’ve lifted the curtain on Horde.

  • Complete the Campaign on Insane Difficulty

  • Get to Re-Up 10

  • Earn all Ribbons at least once

  • Earn a Rank Placement in each mode

  • To be revealed: Horde Requirement

  • To be revealed: Horde Requirement

  • To be revealed: Horde Requirement

And that’s it for this week! PAX West is approaching fast (Sept 2-5) which means it's almost time for us to talk about Horde 3.0. We hope you're as excited to see it as we are to show it. In the meantime, we'll be back next week with our next Dev Blog. TC out.