Sunday, July 24

Versus Mode in Gears of War 4 sounds ... EPIC

gears of war 4 map boat

The Gears of War 4 developers are hard at work refining the game just before shipping. Here's a post they have done to show just how involved they are in making Versus mode even better than it was from the Beta that happened earlier in the year. 

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Right now, a small band of The Coalition are in San Diego prepping furiously for our upcoming appearance at Comic-Con, where we'll be bringing both new Single Player and Versus Multiplayer content to Comic-Con and NerdHQ. The show for us this year is particularly exciting, because both modes can be played by you - the fans - live in front of us. We can't wait to see and hear what you think.

By bringing Versus Multiplayer to San Diego, this will also mark the first time fans can play Gears of War 4 Versus since the Beta. In the two and a half months since the Gears of War 4 Beta ended, we've been working hard on improving and polishing Versus Multiplayer in an effort to make the best Gears game possible - now armed with the wealth of feedback from fans on what you liked, and didn't like, about the Beta. It's been part of our development ever since. The team has been incredibly eager to show you the results of their hard work.

I recently caught up with a variety of developers from around The Coalition to talk about just some of the big changes made since last April that impact Gears of War 4 Versus. Welcome to Developer Blog 2: The Evolution of Gears 4 Versus.

INTERVIEWED DEVELOPERS

In Gears of War 4, we will be introducing two separate balance setups in a single Gears of War title for the first time – Core and Competitive. Core settings are the bread and butter of the game, aimed at providing the balanced but varied experience you know and love whether you play solo or with friends.

The Competitive category has different settings that have been balanced to take into account the high levels of coordination and skill that come with competitive play, toning down damage and reducing certain factors like Aim Assist to highlight the best from the rest.

Modes will fall under Core or Competitive in Matchmaking, but not both. As it stands today, Escalation and Execution are the two modes in Competitive due to their emphasis on team based play at the highest level. In private, players can choose which tuning set they want to play with any mode.

Octus: Thanks for joining us to talk about the gameplay based improvements made since Beta Ryan! Let’s start off with this pretty substantial change for Versus Multiplayer - how did the team come to the decision to have the two separate tuning setups?

Ryan Cleven: It really started with our Escalation reveal at the Gears eSports Season 2 Finals. Prior to the match, we held a real-time feedback session with the 10 participating pro players to ask what they felt they needed for Gears of War 4 to shine in a professional environment. We tuned weapons with them late into the night, and it provided us a lot of insight into what we need to do to really deliver on a high-end team-based competitive experience. We took what worked from the playtest and refined it further back at the Coalition. We brought a second set of 10 pros up to the studio to try it out, and the response was great. However, we found that what the serious competitive players wanted and what the core Gears players wanted were too different to try to make a single tuning set.

Rather than trying to please everyone and end up pleasing no one, we decided that we would split the tuning into two sets, Core and Competitive. We want Gears fans to be able to play the game that we all know and love while simultaneously ensuring we provide a Competitive experience that can stand up to coordinated team based play at the highest level. This way, we hope Gears fans will be happy in being able to choose the experience they want to play, and really hone their abilities in an environment that takes more than just individual skill to excel in. Players can move between the tuning sets and their skills will still transfer between the two. The less lethal Competitive Settings mean landing consistent shots, making smart decisions and coordinating as a team become more important, but the fundamentals of the game are still the same. This approach also provides a clear step of progression for players looking to take their skills to the next level.

As always, maintaining a balanced experience that still rewards skilled players absolutely remains a fundamental pillar of our design for the Gears Versus experience.

Octus: The Gnasher is always a big talking point in the community. What did you modify following the Beta?

Ryan Cleven: Gears is balanced around the power of the Gnasher, and we feel like the Gears 4 version gets a lot of its consistency from the current damage tuning. We heard fans about the power it deals over distance, and how that impacts moving into a fight, so for Core we’ve toned down the range slightly to keep it within its expected damage at distance. For the Competitive tuning, it’s a much different story. We’ve brought the effective range in much further to allow the classic Gears Gnasher dance to breath more.

Octus: What other key changes have been made to weapon tuning since Beta?

Ryan Cleven: To highlight some of the bigger changes – the Hammerburst has been changed to be a 3 shot burst weapon (down from 6) and can now beat a Lancer at long range, but requires a patient head at mid-range to have any chance against a Lancer.

The Dropshot explosion radius has been toned down to require more player accuracy, and we’ve added ‘team colors’ to the targeting laser to help you identify a friendly drill from an enemy drill. Based on feedback from our color blind fans, we’re happy to share that we've added new Color Blind accessibility options that also apply to the team colors for the targeting laser!

There’s also been some changes to our grenades too. You can now only have one active Frag Grenade tagged to a wall, and the explosion has an increased delay – Frag Tags are now for catching opponents unawares or slowing their advance. An aware player with good reactions can now roll away before the tag goes off.

We've also changed the way we treat Smokes since Beta. Smoke Grenades now emit smaller volumes of smoke for a shorter period of time. They’re still thick to help you push a position in combination with the stun, but teams wanting to make a big push on a fortified position will need to throw multiple smokes together to form an effective screen.

We're still working every day to make further improvements to our tuning and balance to provide the best Gears of War Versus experience possible come release.

Check out the rest of the developer's blog here

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