With Gears 5 less than three months away, The Coalition (formerly Black Tusk Studios) recently outlined how the game's multiplayer will handle new content. As the studio explained in a blog post, the gist is that Gears 5 will not have a season pass or Gear Packs, all of its DLC maps will be free, and in-game purchases "are direct, no RNG so you always know what you will get."
The Coalition detailed a few new systems supporting Gears 5's play-to-earn approach. The Tour of Duty system, for example, will reward players with "customization content" like skins for completing daily and seasonal challenges. This sounds like an evolution of the seasonal model popularized by recent shooters like Fortnite and Apex Legends, mixed with the content cycles of the Gears games of old.
"The path to each piece of content earnable is clear – you will know what you need to do to earn each specific customization item," The Coalition said. "In addition, there is no ‘Premium’ pay-only content for Tour Of Duty."
Where Tour of Duty rewards you for completing in-game challenges, Gears 5's new Supply Drop system will track "every minute you play" and dish out random item drops at set intervals. These items will be pulled from the Supply loot table, and if you receive a duplicate item, it will automatically be turned into Scrap which you can use to craft new items or upgrade your character's skills. The Coalition stressed that "Supply Drops and Supply Drop content cannot be purchased with real-world money."
Gears 5 will also feature a premium real-money currency called Iron. You'll be able to earn "a limited amount" of Iron through the Tour of Duty, and the studio says Iron-exclusive items will not "provide a competitive advantage for real-money purchasers." However, Gears 5 will sell Boosts which speed up progression. These include double multiplayer XP, double Horde, and Escape character XP, and double Supply Drop progression. The Coalition affirmed that you don't need to buy a Boost to unlock any content, but it's clear Boosts will make unlocking content easier. Hopefully, the free Iron from the Tour of Duty is enough for a Boost or two.
On a similar note, the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare season pass was scrapped in favor of free maps and events.