On November 10th, Gears 5 will be receiving a plethora of visual upgrades and gameplay updates that apply to the campaign (and to a lesser extent, multiplayer mode), just in time to celebrate the arrival of the Xbox Series X / S consoles, Microsoft has announced.
The biggest of these announcements is the shocking-not-so-shocking re-cast of professional wrestler, MMA fighter and actor Dave Bautista as character Marcus Fenix in the Gears 5 campaign. These changes are both in likeness and in dialogue, as all of Marcus’s lines have been re-recorded. Previously, Bautista (complete with the movie star’s voice) had been made available to players as an unlockable skin in multiplayer, a move inspired by both the actor reportedly being a big fan of the Gears franchise himself and a large segment of fans wishing to see the actor step into the role of Marcus should a live-action version of the film ever get made. So while this latest swap may come as surprise among Gears newcomers, the move actually continues the long “knowing wink” between Gears of War developer The Coalition, Bautista and fans of both the Gears franchise and the actor. Fans of the classic Marcus Fenix (played by voice actor John DiMaggio) need not be alarmed, however, as the option to play the original version will still be there, avoiding much of the outrage that a similar character swap ignited with the recent announcement of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered.
Of course, Bautista is not the only tweak to the campaign players can expect to see with the incoming update. Character and weapon skins previously locked to multiplayer modes will now be available to all playable characters in the campaign (where appropriate) and even be visible in cutscenes. 16 new mutators will also be added that will “change the look, difficulty and experience” of Gears 5’s campaign, and similar to how skull modifiers work in the Halo franchise of games, multiple mutators can be switched on at the same time, provided their effects do not cancel eachother out. So players can choose to play the entirety of the campaign with “Cartoon Outline look” and Big Head enabled if they so wish.
Gears 5 will also have new challenges for game and franchise veterans, courtesy of the return of Inconceivable Mode, which will be the “hardest version of Gears 5” yet. On top of that, a new Ironman Mode will also be available, which dares players to complete the game without dying in any difficulty level. Naturally, Inconceivable Mode and Ironman Mode can be played in combination with one another, so if you are a glutton for punishment, Gears 5 will happily grant your wish. 5 new Achievments (totalling 95 Gamerscore) will also be up for grabs for completionists, if you are into that sort of thing.
Finally, a sizeable list of Series X / S technical updates will round out the package, promising to make the new Xbox Series consoles the definitive place to play the ultimate version of Gears 5. Three of the biggest highlights that will be most noticeable to players right off the bat will be 60 frames-per-second in campaign (in both gameplay and cutscenes, Series X version only), 120 FPS in Versus multiplayer (both Series X and S) and a 4x speed improvement in load times. The full list is below:
- PC Ultra visual feature set (this is more true on Series X)
- PC Ultra-HD texture pack (Series X only)
- 60 FPS (Series X only) cinematics allowing more seamless blending between gameplay and cinematics
- 120 FPS in Versus
- Screen Space Global Illumination which gives your scene dynamic bounce lighting
- Contact Shadows allowing per-pixel accurate shadowing
- 4x improvement in load times
- 50% more particles than PC Ultra
- Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) for more responsive gaming
Now if only Microsoft would go in and enhance all the advertising to spell Dave Bautista’s last name correctly…