Free Gears 5 update adds capture-the-flag mode, new operators, and new maps

Gears 5 just got a load of new free content available to all players across Xbox One and PC. The Operation 3: Gridiron update adds a new capture-the-flag mode, four new Operators, and four new maps. The update is part of The Coalition's plan to release new free Gears 5 updates every quarter, and includes an extensive list of quality-of-life updates and bug fixes.

The new Gridiron mode is a one-life race between two teams to grab 13 flags in a brief two-minute timespan. That setup should prove an effective recipe for intense, close-quarters firefights, but with only one life to each player, successful teams will need to strategize and position their plays wisely. It only takes a button tap to pick up a flag, but you'll need to hold onto it for five seconds at your opponents' end zone to secure the point.

Two new old favorites are making their return in Gears 5: Cole Train and Clayton Carmine, who are available in Horde, Escape, and Versus modes. Queen Myrrah and her faithful Theron Guard are also coming exclusively to Versus mode. Each new Operator comes up with their own unique Ultimates, Passives, and stats, which you can check out from the official Gears 5 website.

Pahanu is a new jungle map with the ruins of a bygone civilization and large, twisting tree trunks as obstacles or cover areas. The classic Canals map is also making a comeback sporting its look from Gears 4. Finally, two new 2v2 maps, Arena and Anex, are available in Gears 5.

As mentioned earlier, there's a laundry list of changes, updates, and fixes - here are the full patch notes, straight from The Coalition.

If you're returning to Gears 5 and need a quick brush-up, check out GamesRadar's essential Gears 5 tips.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.