Speaking with Gamespot, The Coalition Studio Head Rod Fergusson confirmed that Gears of War 4 will include microtransactions in the form of Item Crates that will include a set of cards of differing levels of rarity.
The items offered in the crates are said to have no impact on gameplay and can be earned through simply playing the game in addition to being straight up purchased with real money.
“I feel like that paradigm of cards is really clear to understand for collectibles. We had weapon skins and character skins [in Gears of War 3], so that idea of collecting cards is just easily understood. It felt like it adds some engagement, it’s not ‘Oh, I like Tiger Stripe. I bought Tiger Stripe. I’m done,'” said Fergusson. “The notion that everything is earnable just through play means the only reason you would ever use real money is you want to accelerate it. We’re going to be balanced to where you’re going to be constantly getting crates, or enough credits to get crates through the game, so it really is just about your choice.”
Lead multiplayer designer Ryan Cleven further explained the thought process behind adding in item crates by saying “Gears of War 3 had purchasable weapon skins. Ultimate Edition had purchasable weapon skins. It’s not like the weapon skin purchasing is new to Gears of War. It’s just now you can earn it, whereas before you actually had to purchase it.”
The big difference it seems though, between the purchasable weapon skins in Gears of War 3 and this Item Crate system as it’s been described so far, is that in Gears of War 3, if you saw a skin on the marketplace that you want, you could buy that particular skin and just that skin. With Item Crates, you’re buying a pack of random cosmetic items and crossing your fingers that the contents will include something that you like.
Still, as long as it avoids mixing in items that affect gameplay, the good news is that those who typically don’t splurge on cosmetic items will be able to nab some items to provide customization to their characters and weapons just by playing the game.
Gears of War 4 is currently set to be released on October 11 on Xbox One. A multiplayer beta for those who bought Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will start on April 18, with the flood gates opening to all who have an Xbox Live Gold account starting April 25 and ending May 1.