You can't stop the Cole train - or hype for Gears 5, for that matter. After taking centre stage at Xbox's E3 2019 (opens in new tab) conference, the September 10 2019 release date (opens in new tab) creeps ever closer, and Gamescom 2019 gave us another look at the campaign and returning Horde mode.
Gears of War 5 is doubling down on returning hero Kait Diaz; it seems that her identity and struggle to uncover her family's shady past will be a central theme for the game. More specifically, the spectre of the original trilogy's Locust Queen looms large here. It's mega-creepy, and you can check it out below.
When it comes to gameplay, studio head Rod Ferguson said that this instalment will feature "a bunch of innovations, changes, [and] things that are really exciting and different but still feel like Gears". This most definitely applies when it comes to the return of Horde, which is set to bring with it new features that will amp up the action in big ways.
Gears 5's release date is September 10 2019, but you can play it early with the Ultimate Game Pass
Put that date in your calendars, everyone: Gears 5 is landing on September 10, 2019. Well, for most of us. You can play it 4 days early on September 6 if you're signed up to Xbox's Ultimate Game Pass (opens in new tab).
Gears 5 latest story trailer sees Kait set out to uncover her connection to the enemy
At Gamescom 2019, we finally got to see another story trailer since the first teaser dropped at E3 earlier this year. Titled 'Kait, Unleashed,' the trailer shows our protagonist setting out the uncover the truth behind her unusual heritage and the connection she has with the enemy in the midst of a war. In an action-packed sequence of events, Kait appears to have visions and finds the answer she's looking for - something she thinks needs to be killed, so it can't be good. With a glimpse of Kait holding the Locust medallion she got from her mother, the trailer ends with a question: 'when the blood on your hands also runs through your veins, who will you die for?' One things for sure: it's not going to be an easy time for Kait.
Gears 5 has a new mode called 'Escape'
Another of the announcements from the Xbox conference was 'Escape'. This is presumably a new co-op multiplayer mode along the lines of Horde, only here you're infiltrating enemy territory, planting bombs, and getting a shift on to safety before you're caught in the blast. In a particularly nasty twist, the device used during the trailer seems to be some sort of bio-weapon that gives your enemy ugly pustules that cause them to explode in a shower of viscera. Ew.
Gears 5 will be a battle for Kait's soul
In a harrowing teaser shown during Xbox's E3 conference, we saw Kait struggling with visions of her allies and what could well be madness. A darkness then began creeping up the veins in her neck, culminating in the discoloration of her face and some very spooky, pale white eyes that are reminiscent of the Locust (*shudder*). We then see the Locust Queen's face laid over Kait's, reinforcing the notion that Gears 5 will delve into the connection between them. Is Kait a threat to Sera? And what's going on with the Locust medallion her mother gave her? We'll have to wait until September to find out.
Horde mode returns with some big changes
Yes, Horde mode is making a comeback, but this time around new features are being introduced that will really change up the game in a variety of new ways. The mode was showcased at Gamescom 2019, introducing Ultimates which will give every character their own special abilities. Ultimates bring a new dimension of strategy to the mode, making you consider the best combination of team members to take on the waves of enemies. Kait, for example, can now turn invisible. Thanks to Cards and Perks, you can also play around with different builds for your characters to make every session different. There will also be a new playable character in the form of JACK, the drone who has the ability to heal and do repairs during combat. Over time new characters will be added along with new maps to keep things feeling fresh. Some other minor features also add to the new experience, including equal distribution of any power you find in a map to your entire team, and health bars over bosses and mini bosses.
Gears 5 has a Terminator: Dark Fate character pack
Because things aren't bad enough in the world of Sera, you'll be able to use a Terminator: Dark Fate character pack to scare the bejeesus out of foes as a T-100 in what we assume will be Gears 5's multiplayer offering. That earns a solid thumbs up from us. Cue lots of movie quotes being shouted down the mic while we take everyone on as a time-travelling death-robot.
Gears 5 gameplay will be a "dramatic contrast" to previous games and might have a new focus on speed
As a series famous for big, heavy men trundling along like boulders with legs, Gears 5's E3 reveal was a revelation in terms of speed and more immediate hand-to-hand combat. Okay, no one's saying this is going to be Devil May Cry 5 (opens in new tab), but the addition of things like a Locust mace to smash stuff into bits certainly improves the combat with some serious, weighty heft and gloriously bloody blows.
Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson is promising "a bunch of innovations, a bunch of changes, a bunch of things that are really exciting and different but still feel like Gears of War". All this talk makes it sound like big changes are on the way for the usual Gears of War template.
Gears 5 trailer brings heavy emotion, a shaken-up dynamic, and stunning environments
I'm not going to spoil anything here - just watch it. It's bloody great.
Gears 5 story is all about Kait this time
"When we looked at the story for Gears 5, we were sort of delving into Kait’s past and her history, her family ties to the Locusts, we felt like that’s a better story to not just witness but tell from her perspective," explains Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson.
In practice what we've seen so far suggests things seem to have moved on a fair bit from Gears 4. The team dynamic seems rather fractured, with JD becoming colder, having settled into a militaristic leader role, while the team struggles to maintain its friendship under continued adversity.
Following a bereavement, Kait reveals that she's been having dreams guiding her, in some way related to the Locust necklace belonging to her grandmother. Marcus and Del want to help Kait, JD doesn't, and so the former three set off north, on an odyssey for answers leading them “back to where it all began”.
It's a continuation from Gear of War 4's story which Ferguson likens to Mad Max: "when we went back and we looked at what the story of Gears of War 4 was, like with Mad Max Fury Road, that movie is really about Furiosa’s story and Mad Max is helping her complete her story, and Gears of War 4’s story is really Kait trying to save her mom and JD Fenix is helping her". As Gears 5 took shape Ferguson says "we realised Gears 5 is Kait’s story again, so let’s play it from her perspective".