Touch Control Feedback for Gears of War 5

I was playing the Hivebusters Campaign using a Surface Duo and having the lower screen be my touch controller. I only played for about 15 minutes, just to see how the controls worked, and really was impressed how much effort seemed to go into making this function.

The game ran smoothly, and that was using my home WiFi during a rainstorm, and on a not so fast internet connection. I only had a few screen lags and even when fighting the flock in the beginning the gameplay didn’t seem to suffer. I intentionally played as Mac to feel safe in knowing I could deploy his shield if I became overwhelmed if the touch controls proved complicated for combat.

I did encounter a few issues though.

The first issue was weapon switching. With the adaptive controls there’s a gun icon which then brings about a D-Pad to act as weapon swap input, but this would not work for me. I could not swap between my pistol and left and right weapons. The only way to change was to grab new things (pistol to picking up a new gun, to then grabbing a 2nd gun and then a heavy weapon).

The second issue was that I could not trigger Lahni or Keegan’s abilities. There was no Left Bumper (LB) option showing, so I could only use my ability as Mac.

A 3rd issue was moving and shooting. I fully understand this is a complex issue with the way a touch screen will be limited to a 3D movement option, but I wanted to try to offer some suggestions.

When trying to aim, it becomes difficult to maneuver. A player has to basically use one digit to move the “Right Stick” touch while then tapping or holding the “Trigger” input. This sort of feels counter intuitive, as I found myself having to stop, look down at my buttons and then move my hands around to make this work (to be very fair, I was still learning the controls too, so this is definitely a part of user error as well).

Is there a way to make it work more with your thumbs? Like if I double tapped the left stick touch, maybe that could initiate the aiming, and then double tapping the right stick input could let me fire while able to move the aim? This way for combat I’m not having to keep moving my thumbs to different inputs.

Likewise, for movement, could I also double tap the left stick forward touch input to start roadie-running? Or if I could slide my thumb a little further forward to indicate I want to start running.

In the game I noticed if I moved my device up or down, my character looked up or down, but only in a vertical perspective, Turning or tilting my device had no effect. Perhaps if I could tilt my device left or right to initiate a turn when hitting the roadie-run input, that could fix the running/turning problem. The sharper the tilt, the sharper the turn. The issue with tilting is that if the screen isn’t locked I assume it could start shifting the screen rotation, but maybe this locks the screen from the start.

I also don’t know if there would be an easy way for me to spot enemies or weapons in Versus or Horde and Escape. I would not plan on using touch controls for those modes, as they would be too intense for the stop and checking I was needing to do for the touch controls, but maybe they can be advanced to try in the future.

I am curious if you could possibly incorporate voice commands to make up for buttons. Like for reloading, could I say “Reload,” say “Active” to stop the bar when going for the Active Reload bar, “Grab” for X-button prompts like Ammo, Collectibles and Revives, “Spot” for spotting, or “Deploy” for character and class abilities.

The only two other issues I saw for my time was with melee and vaulting, especially in combat. For both, maybe the upper touch screens can be the actual solution.

So for vaulting, it might actually be easier for me to push forward on the left stick input, and when the icons show on the screen, maybe I could just touch the screen instead. When the “A” icon shows, if I could just tap the upper screen with my right pointer finger or thumb, that could be faster at reacting.

Likewise, with melee inputs for juvies, if a “B” icon appeared above them, letting me know they were in melee range, if I could tap that icon from the upper screen, that might be faster in letting me react to it.

I don’t know how to suggest some other integrations for something like the Lancers with the chainsaw and retro charge, or even the secondary of the grenade launcher, but I expect they would be complicated for touch controls.

I really do appreciate the action of trying to support this for such an in depth game like this, and I hope some of these ideas show the interest in expanding the touch controls further (or even backward with the other games in the series)