First of all i think MP gameplay in Gears 4 is pretty solid. TC did a great job of paying attention to the nitty gritty details and got a lot of the Gears “feel” right. Huge improvement over past titles and a lot closer to where it should be than i had expected given the trend the series was going in. I don’t think they need to deviate too much gameplay wise.
I think what will bring Gears 5 to the next level is the “extra” stuff. The features supplemental to gameplay that add depth to the competitive culture that keeps a game alive years after release.
We need more playlist consolidation and, i know it’s a pipe dream, but universal tuning as well (at the end of the day i prefer a comp and casual tuning rather than just casual tuning or something in between which leaves no one happy). Consolidated player pools equals faster matches, better connections, more equal skill levels. I cannot express how important player pool size is to the overall quality of the multiplayer experience. Realistically maybe we have just Execution and KotH, and then one “casual” TDM playlist to warm up or mess around. Add in a special event playlist as well.
Next should be the ranking system. I’m more than happy after all these years TC decided to give us a real ranking system. While it is definitely a step in the right direction they should expand on this for Gears 5. We need more stats, more medals, and maybe even more ranks. Everything should be comparable among friends and among the general population. Cooler ranked emblems, display the rank in more and different kind of ways (ie. league shows it on your character portrait, on your lobby icon, etc), ranking up should feel like a big deal, breaking through to another division should feel like a real feat. We’re not all kids who are are afraid to have our feelings hurt or want to be told we’re awesome all the time. A lot of us are adults and we want to compete. We want something to aim for. We want that coveted rank and when we get it we want to feel rewarded after all our hard work and determination.
Party size filtering! One of the most frustrating things about any MP experience is getting matched against a coordinated team as a solo player. The Best solution is to only match similar party sizes up behind the scenes. The reason why this works is because if you only let a certain combination of party sizes play against that same combination, Rank is actually party-size independent! Meaning it doesn’t matter what size party you are playing with or against, your ranked always means the same thing. I think the potential trade offs of having to wait longer for a match are well worth it if you ask me. And if Gears 5 is as good as i know it can be, we’ll have a thriving matchmaking pool that won’t even be affected by party size filtering.
Lastly and this is probably the biggest one from a profitability standpoint, i see a ton of potential in merit-based aesthetics. What i mean by this is skins that are unlocked through a merit-based feat (for example kill all 5 enemies in a ranked execution match 10 times) and then purchasable with real money. The reason why i think this model is the future of micro transactions is because it incentivizes the purchase of aesthetics, without using any cheap tactics to achieve this. What? How? Yes, this is a fair way to increase the spending of the consumer but also in a fair and honest way. This is a long term mutually beneficial strategy for games that want to remain profitable for a long time. And if it needs to be said, quality over quantity as well! I’m sure most of us would rather have a few cool an appropriately themed skins then a bunch of random rainbow cutesy skins. And i’m sure most of us would even be willing to pay more money for a product we really want. Also TC should explore the various types of aesthetics. Taunts, executions, name decorations, etc. there are plenty of possibilities. More opportunity for honestly earned profit.
Thanks for listening, Looking forward to seeing what TC can do for us in G5.