Just before this year's PAX West, Gears of War 4 developer The Coalition revealed the revamped Horde 3.0 mode and had it available to play on the PAX show floor. Now that the dust from that has settled, the dev is ready to talk some specifics about the mode.
The two biggest additions to this version of the infamous Gears Horde mode are classes and player-built fortifications, such as turrets and barriers. While the reveal video showed off these features, there wasn't a whole lot of information about what those features actually mean in terms of gameplay. In a recent blog post, The Coalition went into further details and here are a few of the highlights:
- Horde mode features 50 waves of enemies with a Boss Wave every 10th wave; enemy health, damage, or accuracy is increased after every Boss Wave
- Fortifications will help you in your defense against the onslaught of foes. These are built using the Fabricator, which is powered by Energy dropped by enemies. Additionally, fallen comrades will drop COG Tags that can be taken back to the Fabricator in order to revive them, or you can just clear the round and they'll be revived automatically
- There are five Classes that can be selected - Engineer, Scout, Soldier, Sniper, and Heavy - that have their own unique abilities and initial weapon loadout, but any class can build anything at the Fabricator and use any weapon. Each class can be leveled up (to a max of 10) by playing that class in Horde mode, which unlocks more Skill slots into which you can plug Skill Cards
- Engineer - gets discounts for building, upgrading, and repairing fortifications. Unlike the other Classes, has no way to boost their own damage output and thus relies more on the Fortifications
- Heavy - can mark targets to do increased damage to them, or call in Mortar Strikes on an area to take out a large group of foes. Very reliant upon being well-stocked with ammo to make effective use of heavy weapons
- Scout - gets double the Energy when picking it up, can use X-Ray vision to see enemies through walls, and has a variety of skills to make them more effective with a shotgun. Becomes tougher to play late game when enemies are tougher
- Sniper - can specialize either into Headshot damage boosts or general damage boosts and reload speed reduction, and has two unique Fabricator skills that can eliminate a lot of enemies at once, or mark them all with a Radar Ping. Very reliant upon precision shooting from a distance
- Soldier - focused on increasing damage with assault rifles via increased clip size, more damage per shot, and more, gets a boost to shooting from cover, and can boost Grenade area of effect or plant minefields. Only class with the Hammer of Dawn Strike
- Fortifications include barriers, decoys, sentries, turrets, weapons lockers for storing weapons in between rounds, and a repair tool for repairing fortifications and refilling their ammo
- In addition to leveling up a Class by earning experience for playing Horde mode, you can also increase the level of each classes' Skills. Skills are unlocked via Skill Cards, which can be found in Gear Packs or purchased using either in-game or premium currency. Duplicate Skill Cards can be applied to existing Skill Cards to level them up, or they can be converted into Scrap, which can then be used to craft a particular Skill Card
Speaking of Skill Cards and Gear Packs, Rod Fergusson, head of The Coalition, revealed on Twitter a couple days ago that Season Pass holders will no longer be getting the 6 Gear Packs that were originally revealed to be a part of that deal, and instead replacing them with a 17 pack Starter Air Drop. That Starter Air Drop will contain 5 Horde Boosters, 5 Versus Boosters, 5 Operations Packs, and 2 Elite Packs, which means players will be getting a total of 85 cards. I guess that's a good deal, but all of this discussion of cards and boosters makes me curious about how all of these things will get used in the game and how much of it will be single-use items. It can be pretty easy to entice players to buy premium currency to buy more of these boosters.
Gears of War 4 is still slated for an October 11, 2016 release date on Xbox One and Windows 10, and is part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program.