Gears of War 4: What we want to see
9th Oct 2011 | 15:30
Gears of War 3 might only be in its second odd week on sale but that won't stop us from casting our wishful gazes to its inevitable sequel and dreaming up what we'd most like to see from the next entry in Epic's blockbuster franchise.
Epic hasn't so much as whispered the words 'Gears of War 4' in any official capacity but we'd be more than surprised if another one didn't materialise a few years from now, and so would Gears designer Cliff Blezinski.
In an interview prior to the Gears of War 3 launch Epic's favourite son said "it would be completely dumb to not do another one" as long as it performs well.
Given that it racked up over three million sales in its first week of availability we're pretty confident in our not-really-a-stretch prediction.
So, what do we want to see in the next game? Have a look below and find out...
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW
As new kids on the block Delta-One were a great bunch of characters. Physically they embodied everything about Gears of War's weighty, brutal gameplay style and managed to be charismatic and bombastic at the same time. However, as time has passed those same traits have become a little less charming.
By the end of Gears of War 2 we'd pretty much had our fill of Marcus' constant shouting, Baird's unrelenting sarcasm and Cole's "something, something, something, baby. WOO!" dialogue.
A large part of that was due to the game's effort to push mature themes, which clashed with the gung-ho characterisation. It was difficult to take anything seriously when moments later Cole was running around pretending to be a choo choo train or Dom was gleefully blowing off a Locust's head moments after (spoiler) ending his wife's suffering by mercifully putting a bullet in her head.
Fortunately Gears of War 3 managed to pull it together, it had a better tonal balance which in turn meant the emotional moments felt less jarringly out of place. For the most part we felt the game concluded the story and character arcs in a satisfying way. It was a good send off for Delta-One.
In Gears of War 4 we're hoping Epic brings in a fresh set of faces and gives a little more thought to how they'd like them to develop in the long run. It would be the perfect opportunity to ease off the 'bad ass marine' theme they've milked dry over the last few years and introduce a little more character variety. One thing's for sure, we've had enough of Dom's whining and moping about.
MIX IT UP
Gears of War has defined and perfected the cover-based shooter genre and we're willing to fight anyone who argues against that to the death. In fact, we'll go so far as to say it's perfected every facet of that formula starting from the movement and cover navigation all the way shooting itself. With that in mind it's hard to imagine where they could take this particular flavour of gameplay next.
We're going to get a little crazy here and say we'd like to see Epic swallow up another genre and blend it into the current format. Our suggestion is the strategy genre, if you need an example of what we're thinking take a look at Brutal Legend.
Yes, we thought Brutal Legend was a great game, of course we weren't to happy about being blindsided by the RTS bits but we got over it quickly and came to enjoy the unique mix of third-person action and top down strategy.
We're not saying it should be the placed front and centre but it would certainly add a little twist to the long stretches of marching forward and killing anything non-human. Imagine dishing out orders to different units and moulding the battlefield into exactly what you want in a preparation phase before dropping back into the boots of a singular soldier knowing exactly how the battle will play out. With smart enemy AI it could make shootouts far more dynamic and enthralling.
CHOOSE YOUR DESTINY
Games have a habit of telling players that they're the most important person in the world, the fate of the universe rests is in their hands and the outcome of wars will be decided by their actions, and then restricting what they can and can't do.
In Gears of War 4 we'd like to see Epic take the BioWare route to story development and create a branching narrative that requires the player to make important choices, each of which has the potential to the story unfolds and the universe develops.
Thus far the only choices Gears of War has offered were in its co-op where it asks players to pick between two paths they want to take, not much of a quandary since it was essentially asking 'do you want the high ground or the low ground?' and they always converged on the same point.
We imagine scenarios where players must make tactical choices that can drastically change the way the story progresses. Do you save a scientist that claims to have a miracle solution to the old 'alien-are-killing-us' problem or secure a weapons manufacturing plant under attack?
Do you sacrifice someone who is personally dear to you and risk becoming emotionally unstable in favour of an important military tactician who could be the key to winning the war?
We want to make these choices, we want to feel like we matter, not just have people tell us.
BRING OUT THE BIG GUNS
This one is simple and fairly obvious, next to Insomniac Epic's creativity when coming up with weaponry is exceptional, unsurprising from the studio that put together the and Unreal Tournament series, which is known for an unforgettable arsenal of ridiculous weaponry. Sticking a chainsaw on the end of a gun and using it to slice enemies? A stroke of genius. A gun that paints a target on enemies for a satellite to fire a pillar of pure energy at? Ridiculously satisfying.
If it were us we'd be having a few words with the folks at People Can Fly, which recently put together the excellent Bulletstorm for Epic and crammed it full the kind of armaments that wouldn't look out of place in a episode of Looney Toons.
Let us know what you'd like to see in the comments below.