Originally posted from Reddit - https://www.reddit.com/r/GearsOfWar/comments/urrzpk/mod_support_unreal_editor_why_gears_of_war_would/
(The following below is an expanded section that I had wrote for King Abz for his 2021 Wishlist for Gears of War. I have expanded upon it for more clarification and examples, and for additions that came to me at a later date. Please give the original video by King Abz a watch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_s-aIL3WGk). I decided to post this following the rumours of a Gears Collection release this year, hoping some conversation can be brought up regarding the games to have a Unreal Editor release along side Gears releases like Gears of War 1 in 2007, especially if the rumour is true for the older titles coming to PC. I hope guywelch2000 can read this as well <3)
The success within the Industry
It is no secret that modding in the PC community is a tradition spanning many years. Numerous amounts of dedicated fans to a franchise have used ways, both official and unofficial, to flex their creative minds and skills in creating new ideas within the worlds of their favourite games. Those fans even existed, and still continue to, on platforms with little to no mod support by simply having the infrastructure to have the flexibility to adjust parts of the game to their will. This itself has allowed for ground breaking new ideas and gameplay concepts. Anybody who played Halo with forge support will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Massive titles such a League of Legends and CSGO would not exist today without the use of community created content with tools provided in Half Life 1 and Warcraft 3. Black Ops 3 wouldn’t see 5,000 players daily over 6 years later after it’s original launch without the introduction of user generated content, to expand upon the multiplayer and zombies experience. The inclusion of Steam Workshop makes downloading mods and custom maps an easy user experience, compared to the traditional way of having to go on upload mod website such as ModDB.
Communities help grow and nurture the games they love, even after the main developers have no choice but to “abandon” their game to move onto their next project. Not to mention, these titles with community tools have great success in sales over a long period of time thanks to user generated content. I don’t even think I have to mention Skyrim as an example!
Some people have suggested in the past that developers don’t like to include modding tools as they do not give them or the publisher any monetary gain. I respectfully disagree.
The continued prevalence of Bethesda titles with The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, alongside the continued staying power Black Ops 3 has had, it is clear that modding tools and community creative content only extend sales of a game beyond its usual shelf life, and don’t impact future releases. I think we all know of everyone who had at least bought Skyrim twice just to experience the PC version, and all of its modded content from Nexus Mods.
How other Xbox IPs have embraced the community:
The Halo PC community was small before the release of MCC, but they remained committed to Combat Evolved due to the modding tools, allowing for new campaign experiences (See Cursed Halo + SPV3) & multiplayer maps and game modes. Both Single Player mods have some huge coverage on Youtube and by gaming journalists due to their quality, and in the case of Cursed Halo, the stupid fun they brought forward. They both gave new ways to try Combat Evolved again! (This is just a super small glimpse of what CE modding has brought forward)
Thanks to the release of MCC and official modding tools provided by 343, there has been a recent explosion of user generated content for all Halo games, and I really recommend you check out the Halo Mods Discord Server to see all the new ideas and releases being shown! My post alone cannot do that scene justice. In fact, one of my favourite additions to MCC was an experimental Zombies mode by Crsip, akin to COD Zombies, with the flood charging at you and your friends as ODST! User created content only proves that mechanics from other games can be transferred over, and even be used to create unique experiences that suit the lore and gameplay loop that makes it feel right at home.
Thankfully, 343 are going to be embracing the Steam Workshop like Treyarch with Black Ops 3, only allowing the access to mods and content more user friendly and approachable. I will be 100% watching this space.
The Gears 1 you might have missed out on
Gears of War itself is in fact no stranger to user generated content, and it was supported officially by Epic Games with the 2007 PC release bringing forward the Unreal Editor used on the game with each copy sold. Even to this day, there is a UE3 documentation still up explaining how to author mods for Gears of War 1. (See UDK | GearsModHome (unrealengine.com))
The community had a great number of people digging their claws right into the Unreal Editor, and began creating brand new multiplayer maps that we still play to this very day. There are currently community favourites from this time period such as such as Outpost (By theron), Ruin (By Quinn DelHoy), and finally Blood Strike (by Foxhoundcn) - (All these maps can be found on ModDB, please also see our custom map pack that we play every week in the Gears PC Community Discord server! Gears PC Discord Map Pack - Discord link: https://discord.gg/wxpYsAk - Imgur).
Some talented developers also took the chance to create brand new game modes for Gears 1 with inspirations from Gears 2/3 at the time. Some of the most popular ones were Lance Gauntlet and H.I.V.E by Bmbr1990. H.I.V.E introduced Horde mechanics and fortifications, alongside porting character models and weapons up to Gears 4 itself. Bmbr also took the time to increase the enemy variety in Gears 1, by bringing forth a lot of the locust that hadn’t been featured till Gears 2 or 3, making the combat loop a lot more interesting and engaging as you need to adapt to new situations often! (Check out Bmbr1990’s Youtube channel, it has years of archived video footage of testing updates to his mods, and a demo reel for H.I.V.E H.I.V.E Mode Dev: Executions - YouTube ).
It is also worth mentioning the huge amount of new single player experiences that were given to us by the community for the game, with one taking place during the Pendulum War, and also another letting you play as the Locust in a single player mission, as you begin to take out the COG! I also cannot fail to mention an experimental experience of Gears of War in First Person, which offers a new perspective into the franchise! Gears of War: the FPS -the Carmine Chronicles mod - Mod DB
The best part of modding tools is that it inspires people into game development, please see Nadav Pechthold 's A Night at the Museum. He created an excellent video showcasing his single player map, featuring his developer commentary A Night at the Museum - Gears of War Map - YouTube
Another great example from an existing game dev is by Mike DiRenzo, and his custom map Berserk! Berserk - Gears of War - Mike DiRenzo - Level Design Portfolio (mdirenzo.com). I highly recommend checking out his Portfolio link and seeing his full deep drive into his design goals, and full developer walkthrough!
Unfortunately, a large amount of custom content and discussions had been lost when the original Gears of War Forums were taken down. I highly recommend you check out SASxSH4DOWZ 's Channel, as he fortunately recorded a lot of user created mods back in 2015!
Infinite imagination, infinite content
There is a lot that I have missed out on, and hundreds of different examples for content created by the community in Gears of War 1 alone, never mind the content people have been creating with just now with Gears 3. At nearly 2000 words, I had to stop myself because I could have kept continuing to write about this space and go on about other examples within the industry (Just look up how Epic Games is providing editor tools for Fortnite later this year!)
I created this post because I wanted to show that within the industry, and the current Gears community, that providing official tools can inspire so many people to just create and be a stepping stone into the industry as a developer. The success of other developers with other franchises providing tools has only enriched those communities, and I really do feel that we are missing out in the Gears space with not only it’s modern titles, but between Gears 2 and Judgement officially!
If the rumours are to be true about a Gears Collection this year, then I only hope that said tools are provided to us with a potential PC release. Hopefully they will also include a way for us to share that content with Xbox users so they do not miss out, such as how Bethesda allows for people to download mods via the Creation Club. If the rumours are not true, then I really hope that The Coalition only consider bringing these tools going forward with Gears 6 and the Unreal Engine 5.
I think we should start embracing just what Gears on PC could mean for everybody, not just in terms of opening the franchise to new players, but to also show a passion that is currently overlooked.
When The Coalition decides to finally move on from the franchise, I hope we can at least we can all have a part bringing it forward in some unofficial capacity so we can continue to enjoy the franchise with fresh content with it’s single player, and multiplayer components.