Well, you think I’m calling for longer-ranged combat and a focus solely on vehicles. But what I’m actually calling for is more infantry combat, with vehicles as cover and transport platforms.
The illusion of large scale is more important than actually simulating massive battles.
And the way TC should capture the new public perception of warfare is by focusing on the core gameplay above all else. Cut anything that hampers the core gameplay, until the core gameplay feels and plays like the “new war” that gamers know. That means more weapon control, an improved cover system that remains simple but allows more impressive jukes, dives, and slides, and a CQB system (I believe Gears 4 and 5 gave us a CQB system that’s close to perfect, but too cluttered).
To explain my thought process so there are no assumptions:
More weapon control: the wider public now knows that the use of firearms is a martial art. This is doubly true for Gears, which has bayonets, special executions, and multiple modes of gunfire per gun (blindfire, hipfire, ADS, pop-shots, etc.). The average gamer now knows you can’t just walk through a doorway and start firing, you have to “pie the corner” and enter with good footwork, while maneuvering your weapon to avoid entangling with an obstruction or an enemy (if only so you don’t shoot through their model and miss). So, at the bare minimum Gears 6 needs a 180 quick-turn function by clicking the stick, like in The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption 2, and other post-Gears games. It also means that guns should interact with the environment instead of phasing through them. That kind of interaction actually counter-intuitively helps players avoid shooting their own cover, and it makes fire and maneuver more engaging.
Improved cover system: after Gears 2, “chest high walls” have become a common joke. They’ll always have their place in Gears, but Gears has a much-needed stealth system now… And many types of “cover” are just concealment. That means we should have the ability to use cover-like functionality with more types of environmental objects, such as hedges, arched rooflines, slumping piles of rubble, or mountain ridgelines. At bare minimum, we need to be able to decide whether to mantle over cover or roll over cover, so we determine where our head is when crossing over. And while wallbouncing can be fun, it’s an artifact of a janky, half-baked animation system, and it drives away most of the people who would play Gears multiplayer, in favor of a tiny cadre of veterans… Gears 6 should give characters actual weight and momentum, so Gears and Locust aren’t roller-skating and inverting themselves to pull an instant 180 every hundredth of a second. Sliding into cover doesn’t need to change, but we need a refined, intuitive version of the “momentum system” introduced by TC… Otherwise, the rollerskating physics-breaking nonsense will continue to stymy Gears’ playerbase.
CQB system: hit ‘B’ to smack with gun, or hold ‘B’ to carve with bayonet types. Yes, it’s that simple. However, a normal melee should have a well-defined tiny range. Being hit should disrupt your gun but allow you to keep moving, like a fighter, so meleeing in a gnasher fight becomes a skill-tool (like a parry) instead of a cheap kill. It should take a minimum of three melee hits to Down a player, so the purpose of melee should be to disrupt your enemy’s aim and reset, or to try and score a knife fight for style points. That way meleeing in a gnasher fight becomes a tool of skillful gun-fu, not a cheap kill.
Keep the ‘B’ for Counter system in Gears 4 and 5, but apply it to these melees… So if someone tries to swing their elbow/gun at you, but you’re facing them and act fast enough, you can perform one of the already-existing counter animations. Now there’s a risk/reward dichotomy to melees, and someone who melees predictably will get John Wick’d. To summarize: melee stuns the upper body, but the legs keep working, so try and melee the other guy’s gun. Bayonets (Lancer, Retro, Torque, Claw) can be deflected by a perfectly-aimed and perfectly-timed melee, but if you don’t kill them with your next shot (or ■■■■ at high speed) the bayonet will re-engage you and kill you before you can melee a second time.
Knife kill animations should be reworked so they use cover better, if only by allowing us to take knife kills as meatshields. One of my favorite parts of Gears 4 and 5 is executing a perfect yank or vault-kick, and using my victim as a living shield while my knife works them over… But then I’m left exposed and I can’t grab them as an actual meatshield???
(the yank itself should work around corners, not just over the top of cover)
If TC implemented something like the above, and found a way to make movement feel weighty, but with skill-based agility… While also revamping the Swarm to be a more engaging, fully-fleshed-out military force… I think Gears 6 could revolutionize shooters in the same way Gears 1 did.
But, all of this is Armchair Game design and wishful thinking. TC is under a lot of pressure to conform and appease, under tight time constraints and budget restrictions.