Developer: The Coalition, Splash Damage
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release Date: PC: April 28, 2020; Xbox One: TBA
Gears Tactics is a turn-based tactical strategy title developed by Splash Damage and The Coalition and published by Microsoft. It is a spinoff of the Gears of War series, and a prequel to the first game.
Gears Tactics is developed jointly by Splash Damage and The Coalition. The two have previously collaborated on multiple projects, including Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and the multiplayer components of Gears of War 4 and Gears 5.
Gears Tactics was first officially unveiled by Microsoft at their E3 2017 press event. There were little to no updates on the game for the following two years, until Rod Fergusson, founder of The Coalition, confirmed in June 2019 that the game was still in development. In December of that year, at The Game Awards 2019, it was announced that the game would release for PC on April 28, 2020. An Xbox One version was also confirmed to be in development, to be released at a later date. The developers also confirmed that unlike previous games in the series, Gears Tactics would be a single player-only experience, and would have no microtransactions.
The developers of Gears Tactics wanted to expand the series’ scope and introduce it to new audiences, and also thought that the series’ typical cover-based combat lent itself to tactical turn-based strategy gameplay very well. As such, they decided to develop Gears Tactics, though the developers have said the game has nothing to do with the previously cancelled Epic Games project, Gears of War: Tactics. Gears Tactics’ developers also consulted with 343 Industries, who had been involved with the Halo strategy spinoff titles, Halo Wars and its sequel.
Gears Tactics’ developers wanted to ensure that the game was more fast-paced than other games in the genre to suit the style of the series better, and implemented various gameplay mechanics to that end, including giving each character three actions per turn instead of the usual two. They also wanted to place a larger emphasis on story and storytelling, and as such spent a lot of time coming up with the game’s storyline and characters, and bringing them to life with cutscenes, voice acting, and performance capture.
They also chose to introduce a brand new protagonist instead of going with previously established characters because they thought it suited their story better. The setting and time frame within the series’ chronology was chosen because they felt it was suited to their central concept of starting with nothing and then gradually building up a powerful squad and army to take on enemy forces.
Gears Tactics went gold in April 2020, wrapping up development after four and a half years of production.
Gears Tactics serves as a prequel to the first Gears of War, taking place twelve years prior to its events, following the Hammer of Dawn strikes by the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) to curb the advancement of the Locusts hordes.
War hero Lt. Col. Gabriel Diaz – father of Gears 5 protagonist Kait Diaz – is the game’s protagonist. With fellow COG soldiers Sid Redburn and Mikayla Dorn, Gabe is tasked with forming and leading a new squad, whose primary task is to track down and assassinate Locust scientist Ukkon before his genetically engineered soldiers can wipe out the remnants of humanity on the planet of Sera.
Gears Tactics is unlike any other previous game in the series. While previous Gears of War titles are third person cover-based shooters, Gears Tactics is a turn-based tactical strategy game played from a top-down perspsective, similar to the XCOM series. Each character can take multiple actions per turn, including taking cover, shooting at enemies, remaining in overwatch to shoot at any enemies that make movements in their line of sight, moving in and performing executions on enemies with low health, or reviving squadmates with low health.
Besides the named characters, players can also recruit and train various procedurally generated units. Gears Tactics also features a permadeath mechanic in the Iron Man mode, which applies to these procedurally generated characters. Should these characters be killed in combat, their deaths are permanent, and players cannot use them again.
Movement in Gears Tactics is not based on grids, and characters can move about the map freely. Several missions also have secondary optional objectives that can be completed, while there are also various dedicated side missions. In combat, Locust often spawn from Emergence Holes, which have to be destroyed with grenades to stop them from spawning. Several missions are also centred around fights against larger boss units.
Throughout the campaign, The Convoy – a mobile headquarters of the COG’s surviving and growing forces – serves as the hub for players. From The Convoy, players can recruit new soldiers, and also customize various aspects of their troops, including their weapons, skills, and cosmetic equipment. Each character can equip a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, and grenades. Weapon customization entails things such as scopes, stocks, and various other weapon parts, which can yield active and passive bonuses. Characters also progress through unlocks from a variety of skill trees.
Each characters in Gears Tactics falls into one of five classes, while they can also have specializations, which are unlocked through skill trees. Meanwhile, the central hero characters also have unique abilities that are exclusive to them. The five character classes in Gears Tactics are: Support (which focuses on healing), Heavy (attack-focused troops with advanced weaponry), Vanguard (frontline soldiers with a focus on drawing fire and dealing damage), Sniper (ranged combat specialists), and Scout (up-close combat specialists with a proficiency in weapons such as shotguns, as well as stealth capabilities).
Gears Tactics’ campaign is separated into three distinct Acts. Once Gears Tactics’ campaign is finished, which the developers have said is roughly 40 hours long, players can play the Veteran mode, which allows certain modifiers to be applied to missions. These modifiers range from bonus damages to accuracy penalties.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.