What We Want From Gears 6

With rumors of The Coalition shifting focus towards Gears 6, there are many questions on what the future of the series could hold. Using Gears 5 as a springboard, Gears of War could head in some new and exciting directions for the story and gameplay.

What We Want From Gears 6

Gears of War is one of Microsoft’s premier franchises. Next to Halo and Forza, the Gears series is a top seller, pushing well over 40 million units since its debut in 2006. With numerous main titles, spin-offs, novels, comics, toy lines, playing card games and future Netflix movies and TV shows, the Gears franchise is more popular than ever. This popularity has driven speculation about the future of the series after the cliffhanger of 2019’s Gears 5.

Since passing the torch from Epic Games to The Coalition, the Gears franchise has had more ups than downs, certainly more so than Halo. With rumors of The Coalition’s own Intellectual Properties being scrapped in favor of Gears 6, it’s only natural to wonder which direction they will take. While the rumors are still fresh about Gears 6, there’s never been a better time to speculate! But before we do that, let’s cover what we already know.

What We Know (So Far)

Nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. Thanks to a truly impressive demo last year, we know The Coalition has shifted their pipeline fully to Unreal Engine 5. “The Cavern” certainly shares minor elements of Gears iconography such as the armor of the grizzled soldier and the silhouette of a Swarm like enemy. Most believed this was a visual proof of concept for one of The Coalition’s new non-Gears related projects. One interesting thing to note is some of the environments are labeled “Open World Visual Tech Test”. One could take this at face value as The Coalition showcasing the visual fidelity, scope and scale that UE5 is capable of. But this could hint at a direction Gears 6 could take which we’ll touch on in the Gameplay section later on.  

Considering the switch to UE5, an Xbox One release might be off the table. Gears 6 will most likely launch as an Xbox Series X|S and PC exclusive, possibly releasing on Game Pass similar to Gears 5. That’s about all that’s inferred of Gears 6’s now immanent release. With so little to go on, a fair amount of speculation is needed on where Gears 6 might head. From Campaign to Multiplayer and everything in between, here’s what we’d like to see from Gears 6.

The Coalition – "The Cavern" Cinematic Test Demo on Unreal Engine 5


Gears 5 feels like the Empire Strikes Back of the series. During the events of Gears 5, Kait Diaz chose to sever her connection to the Hivemind of the Swarm. Doing so allowed her mother, Reyna Diaz, to take over as the Swarm Queen. What was once an almost feral group of beasts, roaming around and killing everything in sight was suddenly a veritable army, all connected by the Hivemind. This turned the tide in the war with the Swarm as Reyna was able to coordinate and control the Swarm forces. Lead by the Kraken, the Swarm took the fight to the COG’s main city, New Ephyra, destroying everything in their wake.

Delta Squad managed to fell the Kraken thanks to some quick thinking by Damon Baird and their little robot pal Jack. Utilizing the Hammer of Dawn one last time, Jack acted as a beacon to obliterate the Kraken, decimating the Swarm’s forces and putting a stop to their assault on New Ephyra for the time being. With allies dead, their forces crippled, and the city in flames, Delta Squad is battered and bruised but still alive. How far does the Swarm’s reach on the planet Sera go? How does the COG face off against an opponent that they’re overmatched by? Who will survive and who will die? The future’s an open book in terms of where the story could go.

Places To Be…

The Coalition has done a fantastic job expanding the lore and world of Sera since taking over the series. One aspect of this is having players explore new regions of Sera and learning its history. From the Pendulum War prologue of Gears of War 4 to new regions such as Vasgar in Gears 5, The Coalition put the time and effort into building out the world of Gears of War. This trend should continue in Gears 6. If a dual narrative is used to it’s fullest, it could result in new and exciting regions out in Sera and expanding the city of New Ephyra. 

With Kait’s squad hunting down the Swarm’s main Hive, there’s plenty of opportunity for various biomes and regions yet explored in Gears. Traveling through the overgrown ruins of a Kashkur city once decimated by the Locust. Making their way through old Gorasnian Imulsion fields. Seeking help from Outsider settlements in the mountain tops. The Coalition turned the Rift Worm carcass from Gears of War 2 into an Outsider village so their creativity is second to none. Gears 5 was the tip of the iceberg of Sera and the more the player can explore the better. That same exploration can be scaled down for Marcus and old Delta inside the walls of New Ephyra.

Rift Worm Village Concept Art

Rift Worm Village Concept Art

New Ephyra is a massive city but players only got a glimpse of a few Settlements in Acts 1 and Acts 4 of Gears 5. While Kait’s Squad take the fight to the Swarm, Marcus and company could stay back, reinforce New Ephyra’s defenses and try and hold the line against Queen Reyna’s forces. Built on the husk of old Ephyra, there’s massive potential for Delta to take a stroll down memory lane while taking to the streets of the new city to defend against the Swarm. Considering the original Delta has taken a hands off approach to mentor the new generation, it’s fitting to have them back in the fight in a meaningful way. Their globe trotting days are certainly behind them. 

This juxtaposition of old and new architecture is showed off well in the multiplayer map Training Ground. This unique look would keep the city sections fresh. It could also keep the DBs involved in the plot as they acted as the city’s main defense prior to the Swarm Invasion. Expanding on New Ephyra as well as the entirety of Sera would make the game feel like a grandiose adventure and give it a great sense of scale as the final installment of a trilogy. Each new location could be stuffed to the brim with lore and Easter eggs galore similar to previous titles.  

…People to See

With the departure of long time Producer Rod Ferguson as well as the shift from other IPs to Gears 6, it’s probable the next game could be the last in this new trilogy. If this is so, the best course of action could be to take the previously mentioned dual narrative approach similar to Gears of War 3. The player could follow Kait, Faz, and whoever survived “The Choice” (more on that in a bit) as they travel across Sera, seeking out the Heart of the Swarm to end the war once and for all. The Hivebusters Keegan, Mac and Lahni could assist as well. This could be interspliced with the classic characters such as Marcus, Cole, Baird, Carmine and Paduk staying to defend New Ephyra from any Swarm counterattack. 

This neatly mirrors Gears of War 2‘s narrative as Delta Squad looked to take the fight to the Locust underground while the main COG forces defended Jacinto from their assault. New characters are always welcome especially a new Carmine (who will hopefully make it out of the first Act alive this time). As Kait and company travel Sera, they could come across an Outsider she knew from her past. Baird could pull a Mass Effect 3’s EDI and upload his IRIS AI into a decked out DB Shepard complete with unintentional sarcastic quips. Gears has always had a great cast of characters and the titles are no exception.

Hivebusters Keegan, Mac and Lahni

Hivebusters Keegan, Mac and Lahni

If Gears 6 is truly the end of this new trilogy, the return of some fan favorite characters as they fight for humanity’s survival could be some great fan service. The Coalition dabbled in this with Gears 5, bringing back Gears of War Judgement alum Garron Paduk as well as the Grub Killer himself Clayton Carmine. Considering 25 years has past between Gears of War 3 and 4, there’s not too many characters still kicking around that haven’t already made a return but there are some notable absences.

Gears of War 2 veteran Dizzy Wallin hasn’t even been mentioned up to this point. While he was on the older side during the Locust war, so to was Hoffman and he’s still kicking albeit not with his legs. While his whereabouts are unknown, his background of being a once conscripted Stranded could point to him joining an Outsider settlement with his twin daughters. Maybe Kait and company recruit them on their journeys through Sera. 

Operation  Key Art / Gears

Operation Key Art / Gears

Speaking of Hoffman, another M.I.A. Gear is Bernie Mataki, Hoffman’s presumed wife. A character more integral to the novels than the games, Bernie was last seen with Hoffman at Anvil Gate during the climax of Gears of War 3. During the Hivebusters DLC, Hoffman makes no mention of Bernie and doesn’t seem to be lamenting any lose. A picture of the two is found in his office, presumably post Locust War. Being the feisty sniper that she is, it could be that Bernie was the original Hivebuster as the initiative is spearheaded by Hoffman himself. 

Jace Stratton would the last of the previous Delta incarnation still alive. Jace made a quick appearance in Gears 2 as well as being a more prominent member of Delta Squad in Gears of War 3 and its DLC, RAAM’s Shadow. Founding Jace Stratton Pictures, Jace is now a filmmaker in the post Locust War world. Other than some neat Easter eggs on the District multiplayer map, Jace hasn’t been seen or heard from in the new titles. Once the Swarm Invasion kicks into full swing, it might cause Jace to put down his camera and pick up a Lancer.

Bernie in Gears 5

Bernie in Gears 5

While there are others like Baird’s “special lady friend” Sam Byrne, most old characters are either accounted for or long since passed. Having the whole cast, old and new, band together to drive the Swarm back once and for all would give a finality to Gears 6. And that finality could lead to some of the series most beloved characters biting the dust. But one of the biggest question marks in the character department comes in the form of a player decision at the tail end of Act 4 of Gears 5.

“The Choice”

Gears of War has always had a choice system of sorts. Do you choose the left route or the right route? Go up to the rooftops or stay on the streets? These choices added some replayability to levels. It also worked well to facilitate meaningful co-op moments. This mechanic was never meant to be as game changing as it appears in Gears 5. Towards the end of Act 4, Kait (and by extension, the player) is forced to choose which one of her friends is to live and to die. 

With both J.D. Fenix and Del Walker being held captive by Queen Reyna, Kait has one shot with her knife to save a friend and let one die. This choice is up to the player in a shocking twist on the mechanic. While this does tie in well with Kait’s character development and arc, it causes a bit of problem narratively. Who lives and who dies has always been up to the writer and never the player so how the end of Act 4 and future titles after Gears 5 are faced with dealing with this fallout. 

“The Choice”

While “The Choice” has been hotly debated by fans since the game’s release in 2019, the discussion always ends with the same questions. How will this affect Gears 6? Which death is canon? Will The Coalition create branching story paths? The answer could lie in the middle somewhere. I doubt The Coalition will take a page out of Mass Effect‘s book and create entirely different stories depending on who the player chose to save and who they let die. It’s also a bit of a pointless inclusion if the choice was meaningless and The Coalition just decides which death is canon (Del’s death makes the most sense thematically but nevermind that).

A decent middle ground would be for the story to play out exactly the same regardless of who survives and have each character play less of a role in the overall plot. While Del and J.D. are entirely different characters, having whoever lived through the events of Gears 5 suffer from survivors guilt and be more shut off and reserved, changing both characters in a way that makes sense and isn’t as jarring as it could be. Granted, there’s the grief Marcus could or could not have with the potential loss of his son. While it would be nice for “The Choice” to have BioWare style implications for characters and story beats, it’s a bit of an undertaking for a studio who just internally canceled their own projects to pivot to Gears 6, most likely on a tight schedule. 

Marcus & J.D. Fenix

Marcus & J.D. Fenix

Credit where credit is due, the decision to have the player choose who lived and who died was a bold one. Unfortunately, with the shift in development schedules and shake ups at all levels of management at the company, it feels too large of a task for The Coalition to let it play out as it should. If it comes down to innovating on the story structure or the gameplay, the gameplay will almost always win out especially with Gears. With Gears 5 exceling in that department, The Coalition set a high bar for themselves they can top if they take Gears 6 in a few different directions.   


Gears of War 4 was a return to form for the franchise after the divisive Gears of War Judgement. Because of this, Gears 5 had to be able to recapture the Gears magic while also pushing the franchise forward and it managed to achieve this fairly regularly throughout its campaign. A tweak to it’s melee and Active Reload systems kept the moment to moment gunplay as smooth as ever. Overarching changes in level design and the addition of the Jack bot companion is what took the gameplay to the next level. 

While they should be praised for the marriage of old and new, The Coalition should not rest on their laurels. Most sequels take what worked in the previous game, iterate, improve and streamline. The Coalition shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel with Gears 6. New additions to the Gears formula as well as a grander scope and scale to the strengths of Gears 5 could make for the best Gears installments to date.  

Next Level Level Design

One of the most innovative additions to Gears 5 was the inclusion of the Skiff and the open areas of Acts 2 and 3. Roaming around the Northern Tyrus mountains and the Vasgar deserts offered a unique twist of the Gears formula. Players would be able to freely move about these biomes, driving the sled like Skiff to explore to find hidden encounters and goodies. While the pacing of these levels in the overall campaign did wain a bit, their inclusion was a breath of fresh air the series needed. The Skiff controlled like a dream, it kept the core gameplay in tact without any drastic changes and offered something new but still true to series. 

For Gear 6, it’s only natural to double down on this feature while streamlining it a bit to help the pacing issues. One way to spice up these open areas while also creating new and interesting environments to explore and fight in is to finally include the Marlin in real gameplay. The Marlin plays more integral roles in the books as a Zodiac-like amphibious hovercraft. Where the Skiff could be used to traverse sand, snow and ice, the Marlin (or an updated form of it) could be use to traverse water. This would allow for a team of Gears to make their way through rivers and lakes with ease. This expands on the concept of the Skiff while offering a new biome that’s very rarely explored in the Gears series. 

Skiff in Vasgar / Gears 5

Skiff in Vasgar / Gears 5

With the switch to Unreal Engine 5 and its ability to render incredible open world spaces, the open areas could take center stage. Gears should avoid the trappings of its competitors and skip the true open world setting for now. Instead, a consolidation of its overall level design would be the right path. Gears 5 was split into segments of sorts when it came to level design. Acts 1 and 4 were traditional linear affairs where the previously mentioned Acts 2 and 3 featured the open zones. Bringing each style closer to the middle would help with the whiplash as well as streamline the pace. 

Taking the traditional Gears level design and making it more non-linear would be a good start. Instead of one path through a particular level, a myriad paths could be taken, all with various benefits and draw backs. This would work well in the hypothetical New Ephyra sections of the game. Marcus and Delta squad might have to get to a skirmish with the Swarm somewhere in the city. They could take an alley way and cut through an apartment complex offering CQC encounters or head right down the street into an open firefight. This would create more engaging gameplay while sprinkling the traditional choice mechanic from previous installments in more organically.    

Act 1 / Gears 5

Act 1 / Gears 5

The more open areas would benefit from the addition of the aforementioned Marlin or any other vehicle The Coalition can think of (the return of the Centaur maybe?). They would also be improved by including more to find and more to do. One of the pacing issues of Gears 5 stemmed from the fact that, while players could go wherever they wanted and explore the region, all that was ever found was more combat. While the combat is still superb as ever, it could get repetitive. New additions on the gameplay front from Gears 5‘s DLC and it’s Turn Based Strategy spin off could help with that. 

Locked, Loaded and Locked Again

One of the newest inclusion to Gears 5 was to its Player Vs Environment modes in the form of Horde and Escape. These modes offered players to select a from 4 categories of Character Classes complete with a playstyle altering Ultimate. Examples being the Medic class that could automatically revive downed teammates or more unique classes like the Pilot that could spawn the Silverback exosuit. Each class could be augmented with passive upgrade cards to tweak certain attributes and allow players to create certain builds to match their playstyle. While these mechanics launched in a rough state, by the end of Gears 5‘s lifespan, they had hit their peak. 

The Character Classes were cleverly implemented into the Hivebusters DLC. Coupling these Character Classes with the newly introduced Jack bot mechanic is the logical direction for Gears 6 to take. Having the player be able to pick a Class before each mission and alter it during missions would add mountains of replayability to the campaign. It would also spice up co-op as well, allowing players to synchronize a team build. While the Class system bleeding over into the campaign would be good enough evolution for the core gameplay, a step further could be taken that would branch back into the multiplayer sphere.

Character Class Abilities in Gears 5

Character Class Abilities in Gears 5

Gears Tactics was one of 2020s surprise hits, taking the Gears of War formula and near perfectly translating it to the Turn Based Strategy genre. Splash Damage was able to recreate the feel of Gears while adding some mechanics from the Turn Based Strategy genre that fit almost too well enough not to be reused in the main series. Much like other games in the genre, Gears Tactics featured a swath of customization across the board. 

Weapon customization would complement the new Class system in a way that adds depth to the combat without radically changing the gameplay. The customization would allow players to alter weapons without losing their identity by adding sights to increase accuracy or extended magazines to increase ammo capacity. This idea of modified weapons has already appeared in Gears 5 in the form of Relic Weapons. Instead of stock weapons found around levels, players would get to organically build their own. 

Both of the Class system as well as the weapon customization could be used to facilitate exploration as well. Instead of different pathways or areas containing more enemies to fight, players could find different attachments for their weapons or augmentations for their classes. Combine this with iterating on the Jack bot abilities and progression and Gears evolves from a simple cover based shooter to a more complex game without copy and pasting trends from around the industry.

Weapon Customization in Gears Tactics

Weapon Customization in Gears Tactics

The Coalition set up a great base with Gears 5 that the team could build upon to create something truly great. They have a chance to complete Kait’s arc and bring the Swarm War to a satisfying conclusion. While doing so, evolve the traditional level design and perfect the open areas from Gears 5. Bring all of this together with refined combat featuring the Class system and weapon customization to complete the recipe for what could be the best Gears campaign since the Epic days. But Gears is much more than just its campaign as its multiplayer offerings are often what keeps people coming back for more.   


Gears‘ Player vs. Player multiplayer, while not as popular as Halo or Call of Duty, is still one of the most unique and skill based arena shooters out there. Because of this, it has grown a large community of those dedicated to its meta. The Coalition has been keenly aware of this, ensuring that each title they release stays true to the core gameplay while trying to do some newer things to keep it fresh. Gears 6 should be no different. 

One of the main criticisms of Gears 5 from a multiplayer perspective was its focus on the Live Service model. Gears 5 launched with very little in the way of character and weapon skins, maps or game modes. Over it’s lifetime, Gears 5 grew into a finely tuned, content rich experience but it took nearly 3 years to get to that state. This was done to keep the game relevant for a longer period of time but did end up hurting it in the long run. Whether this was The Coalition’s or Microsoft’s call, no one can say for certain. One things for sure is that Gears 6 can’t stumble into the same pitfalls.

A Strong Jumping Off Point

Obviously, with the state of the industry at large, Gears 6 is going to have to generate revenue for Microsoft besides its initial sales numbers. With Microsoft themselves stating the negative impact Game Pass has on actual units sold, Gears 6 will most likely have Live Service elements like the previous titles. That doesn’t mean Gears 6 should start off on the wrong foot though. With Gears 5 having a plethora of content by the end of its lifespan, Gears 6 should pick up where it’s predecessor left off. 

It’d be a bit unrealistic to have every single character, skin, map and mode simply carried over from Gears 5 to Gears 6 at launch. But that doesn’t mean The Coalition should start from scratch either. Some of the newer maps introduced in Gears 5 were overall great and did some unique things both in their design as well as aesthetically. Maps like Exhibit, Vasgar, Alfathers Arena, Pahanu and Regency were all great in their own way. Gears 5 launched with 7 maps in total. While most of them were well designed, it was a bit lackluster. If The Coalition could match Gears 5’s launch lineup with 7 new maps and supplement the rotation with fan favorite maps to launch with at least 12+ maps, that would be ideal.

This same thought process should be taken for character and weapon skins as well. For as small of a cast of Characters Gears of War 2 had, it seemed to offer more selection for multiplayer skins than Gears 5 did at launch without microtransactions or Operations. This definitely has to change as the early day matches of Gears 5 saw too many teams comprising of two or more of the same characters. A good rule to follow would be any character that appears in the campaign should also be available in multiplayer. A decent variation of characters to choose from on launch day keeps the player base happy and The Coalition can save legacy characters like Dom, Anya, The Carmines and a whole host of Locust forces for updates later down the road.

Gears 5 Character Selection at Launch

Gears 5 Character Selection at Launch

Game modes were sparse as well when it came to Gears 5‘s launch but, like the rest of the game, vastly improved as Operations were released. With the small amount of modes at launch, similar to the maps and character selection, players would experience all the game had to offer in a very short period of time. New modes like Gridiron, Free For All and Control should be available at launch along with classics like Team Deathmatch, Guardian, King of The Hill and Execution. It should go without saying that having a wide variety of modes to play at launch will keep players active longer and the wait for the first content drop less agonizing. The Coalition could even resurrect fan favorite modes like a Swarm themed Overrun mode from Gears of War Judgement or Wingman from Gears of War 2.   

In terms of a content delivery service, something similar to Gears 5′s Operations would work. After the Totem disaster that was quickly rectified, players were generally okay with the new Gears Coin system. This system allowed players to unlock content from the Tour of Duty as normal progression but also earn Gears Coins through various challenges or general leveling up. These coins were used in the in game shop to unlock whatever cosmetics the player chooses and were priced decently, all things considered. Those who wanted the top tier unlocks could grind the Tour of Duty and those who just wanted to play as their favorite character could just buy them from the shop. 

Gears 5's Operation 4 Tour of Duty

Gears 5’s Operation 4 Tour of Duty

This system seemed like a decent middle ground. Microsoft could still get people to pay real world money for cosmetics but those just willing to play more of the game they are already playing can be rewarded in some fashion. While the games industry will never go back to the late 2000s form of online player progression, Gears 5 did a decent enough job of marrying the two divergent systems. Some player friendly tweaks to make Tours less grindy by implementing more daily challenges that reset more often would certainly be appreciated.    

One way to cut down on the grind is to introduce a similar customization option for players focused on creating a personalized Gear or Swarm Drone. While weapon customization would vastly through the balance off in multiplayer matches, allowing players to swap cosmetic pieces on characters would be the logical next step for character selection. Just like Gears Tactics, there would be options for face and headgear, chest and leg armor, undershirts and more. This would allow for greater player agency and give The Coalition much more options in terms what to include in the Tour of Duty unlocks as well as options in the shop. 

Character Customization in Gears Tactics

Character Customization in Gears Tactics

Fine Tuning 

If anything, Gears 5 is a great showcase of how a game can rebound from a lackluster multiplayer launch. While this applies to the content the game launched with, it also effected the core gameplay itself. Peruse social media or any Gears forum and the consensus is that The Coalition eventually got to weapon and movement tuning that was both tailored for veteran players but accessible for newcomers while not favoring one over the other. If The Coalition wishes to hit the ground running with Gears 6, carrying over this tuning would be the smart play.

One of Gears’ biggest drawbacks is how hardcore its multiplayer offerings are and how newcomer friendly it isn’t. This has tried to be addressed in several titles no really no avail. Gears of War 2 tried making longer ranged weapons more powerful. Gears of War 3 introduced weapons like the double barreled shotgun to try to even the playing field. And Gears of War Judgement turned the multiplayer on its head in favor of more Call of Duty like play. With the barrier for entry pretty high, The Coalition did try to take steps to mitigate this without messing with the meta too much in Gears 5

Gears 5 PVP Multiplayer

Gears 5 PVP Multiplayer

Playlists like Social vs Ranked and game modes like Arcade or Vs. AI were a good first step in allowing all types of players to get into Gears. Staying the course to keep the tuning as is and expanding the options for various playlists and game modes that are less punishing for newcomers. While it’s not the community per se, the core gameplay and meta of Gears multiplayer is what makes the series special and overhaling it to increase its appeal would do more harm than good. Just look at what happened with Halo 4 and 5‘s multiplayer. 

There are things The Coalition can do to improve the game such as more stable server connections, more accurate hit boxes and more toys on the battlefield to play with. But in terms of sweeping changes, there’s very little to suggest that wouldn’t alienating the fanbase and lose the series’ identity. While it’s boring to say, the PVP side of multiplayer should remain as refined as it was left in Gears 5. The PVE side of things is where The Coalition has more flexibility. 

The Third Pillar

Since Gears of War 2′s industry changing Horde mode, Gears has always had PVP and PVE multiplayer offerings in some capacity. Gears of War 3 offered Beast mode where players took on the role of the Locust Horde. Gears of War Judgement had a Survival mode which was a neat take on Horde. Finally, Gears 5 implemented Escape, one of its best PVE modes to date. While the PVP multiplayer is a big crowd pleaser, PVE has just as big a following especially after the steps taken to expand some of its modes. The thesis of the multiplayer side of Gears 5 is that, as with wine, got better with age. This applies to the PVE modes as a whole. Where Gears 5 left off with PVE is only the start as to where Gears 6 could go.

For the Horde

Horde has always been a fan favorite mode and has been incrementally improved with each title. Gears 5 left the mode in the best state it has ever been in. With Character Classes and a new Energy mechanics, the wave based defense mode has never been better, especially its Frenzy alternative. But where could The Coalition take the mode if it’s in such a good place? There are a few avenues, one of which hails from Gears’ most divisive entry. 

Gears of War Judgement’s Survival mode was a neat spin on the traditional Horde mode concept. Players would have to defend Emergence Hole covers from waves of Locust. Teams could be pushed back from Emergence Hole to Emergence Hole if they failed to finally defend a generator at the end. If they survived all 10 waves, a Hammer of Dawn strike would wipe out the Locust to signal their victory. The mode wasn’t perfect but the concept of a centralized objective to protect was one of its better ideas. With Hordes current state, it could be the perfect way to improve on an already great mode. 

Gears 5 Horde Mode

Gears 5 Horde Mode

As good as the mode is, one of the downfalls of Horde is that it can be a slog, the Frenzy variant notwithstanding. A full 50 waves can sometimes take up to two hours depending on the difficulty and the willingness of the team. Because of this, complacency can be an issue where a team slowly lacks focus in the middle rounds and ends up losing everything by not taking things seriously. A central or multiple objectives to protect could be the key to keeping teams focused on more than just killing things.

Maybe the Fabricator has a health bar and can be destroyed, resulting in the team no longer being able to build defenses. Or a satellite uplink station that needs time to defend as it coordinates a Hammer of Dawn strike similar to the Command Center from Gears of War 3. Or there could be a generator that buffs the health of all the team’s fortifications. While the Energy Taps severed a similar purpose, it was sometimes unnecessary with teams having an overabundance of Energy throughout a Horde match. Varied smaller defensive objectives would give teams a secondary goal to survival, making the mode all the more complex. 

Gears of War Judgement's Survival Mode

Gears of War Judgement’s Survival Mode

During the early hours of Act 2, Kait’s uncontrolled connection to the Swarm Hivemind lead her to inadvertently kill her uncle Oscar. During this sequence, players were able to control the likes of Juvies, Scions and even a Warden complete with their own unique control schemes. Because of this, fans speculated that Beast mode could eventually make a return in Gears 5. While this never came to fruition, that doesn’t mean these mechanics should go to waste. 

Instead of Beast Mode 2.0, The Coalition could marry the two modes with a Horde mode variant which includes the ever popular Invasion mechanic. Popularized by series like Dark Souls, players could “invade” a traditional Horde match and control one of the more powerful Swarm. From Stumps, Scions, Wardens, Carriers, Pouncers and much more, the Invasion mechanic would do wonders in adding a surprise element to matches to keep teams on their toes. Couple this with the objectives to defend and you have a renewed emphasis on teamwork as effective communication would be the key to prolonged survival. 

The Warden / Gears 5

The Warden / Gears 5

Horde mode will always be a staple of the Gears franchise as its third pillar of Campaign, PVP and PVE Multiplayer. Even with the quality of the mode after Gears 5‘s conclusion, there’s no reason to believe The Coalition won’t be introducing Horde 4.0 in Gears 6. Over the years, there have been secondary PVE offerings like the aforementioned Survival, Beast and Escape modes. While extremely fun, these modes typically are one hit wonders, eventually done away with to introduce a new game mode exclusive to each title. While Escape was some of the most fun Gears 5 had to offer, it never garnered the same hype as The Coalition was expecting. Because of this, it could fall by the wayside in favor of something grander.

Delta Squad, Dropping In

After years of success, it seems the Battle Royale genre wasn’t just a flash in the pan. The success of titles like Fortnite, Call of Duty Warzone, Apex Legends and PUBG proves, when done right, the genre has staying power. With the potential Battle Royale mode for Halo Infinite in hot water, Microsoft could tap The Coalition to bring this ever popular mode to the Gears franchise. This would set up Gears 6 to be the Live Service revenue generating machine Microsoft wants. This would also allow The Coalition to step out of their comfort zone and do something new, even possibly related to some of their canceled projects. This is where UE5 rears its head once again. 

When promoting for Gears of War 3, Cliff Bleszinski once noted that, while Gears of War might have something players recognize like Team Deathmatch, everything traditional will always have a Gears spin to it. A Battle Royale mode should follow this same mantra. By utilizing UE5, The Coalition could bring this mode to life where it could not have been possible before. Instead of opting for the traditional massive open setting of the Battle Royale genre, a compromise could be met. Since Gears has always been best in its up-close-and-personal battles, keeping encounters relatively constant would be ideal. Gears 6 should forego the vast open spaces of the competition in favor for a more intimate mode. 

Gears Content In Fortnite

Gears Content In Fortnite

Harkening back to Gears of War 2 (and possibly to events in the campaign), Gears 6′s Battle Royale could take inspiration from Operation Hollow Storm. Loading up in Assault Derricks, up to 60 players can choose where their pods are shot throughout the Hollow, a labyrinth of underground tunnels and caves that could be filled with all types of Gears references and past locations. To merge some ideas from Escape, a Venom bomb cloud could act as the typical ring closing in as well as Swarm pods acting as respawning mechanics. Power Weapons from across the entire series could be the driving force behind players exploring one area over the other. The weapon and character customization from the campaign and multiplayer respectively would be combined in the Battle Royale mode to make it wholly unique.   

While the Battle Royale genre could be seen as played out in 2023, it’s still wildly popular. The Coalition would be able to stretch their creative muscles a bit and make the game mode fit Gears in a way that’s unique while also retaining that core Gears experience. If done right, it would be the shot in the arm the franchise needs in terms of widespread popularity. Of course, they would have to avoid the trappings of Gears of War Judgement which forced a foreign playstyle into a Gears game and failed pretty spectacularly. A Gears Battle Royale makes sense for both parties and could take the gameplay to new and exciting spaces as well as broadening its reach and player base. 

Bigger, Better and More Badass

Gears of War has always tried to go bigger with each installment, for better or for worse. The Coalition proved they could both make a solid Gears title as well as iterate and improve on that with Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 respectively. Considering their internal projects were canceled, Gears 6 could be a turning point for the developer. They could easily play it safe and deliver a competent Gears title that does what it has to do to get good reviews and be enjoyed by its community. Or they could go all out and prove to Microsoft and the industry at large they deserve a shot at their own IPs.

Going above and beyond on its campaign and sending this new cast off with an epic climax. Improving and streamlining the bones of Gears 5’s multiplayer to create the quintessential Gears online experience. Experimenting with new ideas and modes and carrying over popular mechanics from Gears Tactics. Broadening its reach by introducing a Gears spin on Battle Royale. Gears 6 could and should be the culmination of everything the series has been building towards. With their solid track record, The Coalition certainly has what it takes to make Gears 6 the best the franchise has to offer and a system seller for Microsoft. 

Looking forward to Gears 6? What would you like to see from the next installment? Let us know in the comments!

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