GamesRadar+ (opens in new tab) had the chance to head out to Canada this week, to get hands-on with Gears 5 (opens in new tab) at developer The Coalition's Vancouver-based studio and speak to some of the people behind the upcoming sequel to 2015's Gears of War 4 (opens in new tab).
Rod Fergusson, studio head at The Coalition and the man tasked by Microsoft to look after its flagship cover shooter series for the Xbox, thus sat down with us for a lengthy conversation about all things Gears 5 (opens in new tab), in addition to the future of the franchise at large.
For one thing, Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox Project Scarlett (opens in new tab) - its next-gen console - will be releasing in Holiday 2020 with Halo Infinite (opens in new tab) as a launch title, which begs the question; was The Coalition ever tempted to push Gears 5 back to release alongside Halo as a next-gen title? Not really, admits Fergusson, who goes on to explain why.
On The Radar: Gears 5 (opens in new tab) – A deep dive into the most ambitious Gears of War game ever created
"I think it's just finding out what makes sense for what we were able to do, given the time we've had with the Xbox One hardware, the fact that the campaign is running at 60 frames per second. And now on the [Xbox One] X, it's 4K 60! It's not an 'or'; it's not 'do you want it pretty or fast,' it's, you get pretty and fast."
"Our engine has matured, and our team is matured, the hardware is matured – we are in a really good sweet spot; the sweet spot to make an awesome game. And, you know, I think Halo has it covered as the launch title for Scarlett. So I think, you know, I think it's time... we've been able to build the game that we've been able to build over the last two and a half years, and I'm excited."
In short, the Xbox One platform is still more than powerful enough for The Coalition to realise their ambition with Gears 5, without breaking the limits of what it's capable of, making the need to go next-gen somewhat redundant. I'm sure there were also conversations with Xbox about its small-boned slate of Xbox exclusive games (opens in new tab) for 2019, and the need to have something to show for itself this Holiday season, but - even if that's true - Fergusson doesn't mention it.
For more, check out the best upcoming Xbox One games (opens in new tab) on the way, or watch our latest episode of Dialogue Options below for a look at how horror games are aping the movies.