Gears Tactics Used Prototype Tabletop Game For Gameplay Design

Some thrifty tools lead to the game's core designs.

Posted By | On 23rd, Apr. 2020

gears tactics

We’re less than a week away from the Gears of War franchise moving into a new genre with Gears Tactics. The game is looking to bring tactical based gameplay to the iconic Gears franchise, and you can read about the process of the character and story work through here. But as far as the gameplay itself, how it all got hashed out is interesting as it all began on the tabletop.

Speaking to Polygon Associate Creative Director Steve Venezia said the team at Splash Damage actually made their own makeshift prototype board game. It was in this way they were able to hash out how they wanted the game to play. Interestingly enough, it was actually the limitations of that board game that influenced some of the biggest design changes. It lead to the game taking out the grid structure of a traditional tactics game for something more akin to the movement of a Gears title.

“We realized when you start to translate that into game mechanics, doing things like giving the player a little bit of extra movement when they slip out of cover and go into another piece of cover,” Venezia explained, “the player feels like they’re kind of cheating the system almost just by reading the environment, trying to deduce where they should move from and to. They’re actually getting that extra movement, and it suddenly feels Gears-y.

“We actually made the decision that I think was absolutely the right one,” Venezia said. “But we definitely paid for it in development, which is to go off-grid. When we did that, we realized that you give the players so much more freedom, so much more flexibility, you just feel so much smoother, and it feels so much more like you’re playing a Gears game.

“Looking back at it now, I just can’t imagine why we spent so long talking about it. I think it would have been crazy to put the game on a grid.”

Gears Tactics will release for both the Xbox One and PC on April 28th. You can check out the launch trailer for the title through here.


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