To make the most of the rising audience for eSports, Gears of War 4 will feature a spectator mode, with two slots available per game. The UI has been designed from the ground up to allow for proper casting without a messy HUD getting in the way. Streamers and spectators can move between four different camera modes the older Gears-style fixed angle security cams; ghost which is completely freeform; intimate for an offset close up; and follow, which does exactly what you’d imagine.
While most players probably won’t make use of it, the game also offers LAN support which should please tournament organisers.
The new Dodgeball mode involves 5v5 elimination matches and rewards your team with respawn when a kill is made. This leads to some tense back-and-forth gameplay with a single surviving member of a team sometimes being able to swing the entire game around.
Another mode is Escalation, which is said to be the game’s most competitive and is heavily targeted at the pro/eSports scene. Zones in Escalation change on a timer and allows the loser of each round to decide the power weapons and placements for the next. More details will be revealed by The Coalition soon.
A new map or two will be released each month and they will be free as part of a curated rotation seasonal menu. This is intended to mean things don’t become overwhelming for non-hardcore players. These maps will also be available for purchase and permanent use in private games and only the host will need to own the map.
While the game’s competitive multiplayer was the focus of the preview, The Coalition’s creative director Chuck Osieja said the campaign will offer lots of “twists and turns…[it will be] by far the best story yet for the series.”
Speaking about the new human faction known as The Outsiders, he said, “They’re reformed COG. Whereas the Stranded [in previous Gears games] didn’t have any choice, they were left out to die… The COG are like an overprotective parent, all about repopulation. But there are factions who say I’d rather live free and potentially be in danger than be ruled and safe.”
Gears of War 4’s multiplayer beta begins on April 18th.