This article is about the Real World
- "Never Fight Alone"
- —Gears of War 4 slogan
Gears of War 4 is the fifth game in the Gears of War franchise. Set 25 years after Gears of War 3, humanity is slowly rebuilding and repopulating, and planet Sera’s weather is taking a violent turn due to the Imulsion countermeasure. But when a new, Locust-like enemy, the Swarm, starts kidnapping entire human colonies, JD Fenix and his two friends, Kait Diaz and Del Walker, have to step in to save their loved ones.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Appearances
- 4 Multiplayer
- 5 Development
- 6 Retail Editions and Pre-Order Bonuses
- 7 Xbox One X Enhancement
- 8 Windows 10 Version
- 9 Videos
- 10 Reception
- 11 References
The story opens on a mysterious observer watching the televised commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of the Locust War, led by First Minister Jinn. Jinn commends the bravery of the veteran Gears present, but laments the absence of Marcus Fenix from the ceremony.
The observer then switches to another screen, watching the Outsiders JD, Del, Kait and Oscar Diaz. The four plan to raid a COG settlement, uninhabited and still in construction, in order to steal a fabricator for their village. Protecting the settlement are automated robots known as DeeBees. Fighting their way through the city, several coincidences on the part of the city's machinery help the team reach the city center, where they retrieve the fabricator. However, they are confronted by First Minister Jinn, transmitting via DeeBee, who angrily accuses them of taking her people. Before anything more can be said, the conversation is cut short by a rail car destroying Jinn's DeeBee. The team escapes the settlement and return to their village with the fabricator, but are quickly attacked by more of Jinn's robots. The DeeBees are repelled, but Reyna, village leader and Kait's mother, is furious at JD and Del for inciting Jinn. They attempt to explain what Jinn had said earlier, but to no avail.
At night, as JD and Del work to restore power, Kait notices strange creatures in the village. Chaos erupts as the creatures begin abducting villagers. Reyna barricades JD, Del, and Kait inside, then engages a humanoid creature in melee combat, managing to slice off its hand. Oscar tries to help, but the both of them are incapacitated. By the time the three emerge, everyone in the village is gone. Del likens the creatures' sheer numbers to a swarm. After JD finds the severed hand and cuts a crystal from it, Del suggests taking it to an expert: JD's estranged father, Marcus Fenix.
The three arrive at Marcus' estate and come face to face with the man himself. Marcus recognizes the crystal, but the tense reunion is cut short by the arrival of Jinn's DeeBees, who still seek to apprehend JD and Del. The four gear up and narrowly escape Jinn's forces, using a pair of old Mules to travel to Fort Reval. Marcus explains they need to get to the abandoned osmium mine on the other side of fort, where the COG dumped thousands of Locust bodies, which were completely covered in the same crystals that JD found, after the war. If the Swarm was related to the Locust in any way, they would find out there. The squad proceeds through the nearby town, discovering strange pods and bio-matter. Cutting a pod open, they discover the grisly remains of a COG soldier within, explaining Jinn's "disappearances" and leading the squad to realize that the Swarm is harvesting people. Soon after, Marcus is abducted by a Snatcher. The three chase after the Snatcher into Swarm territory, encountering new forms of the Swarm. They use an ore transporter to descend into the mine, where the Swarm have created a hive. They are attacked by a new creature, markedly different than the Drones they had encountered before, and covered in crystals. Pushing through heavy Swarm resistance, they find Marcus in a pod and free him. Marcus appears dead, but he manages to cough up the fluids in his lungs. He informs the team that while inside the pod, he was connected to the Swarm's network and could feel them, along with the disturbing revelation that the Locust had never died; they became the Scions, and are now using humans to build an army. Marcus then informs Kait that the Swarm is treating Reyna differently, and that she's being held at another burial site, located nearby at Tollen Dam.
The four then fight their way back to the surface. Marcus suggests taking a detour to get backup from a "friend", but Kait refuses to wait. The squad makes it to the top of the dam, but upon seeing the extent of the second Swarm hive, JD relents and asks if Marcus' friend can help. To contact him, they'll need to reach a radio tower, located in the nearby town of Speyer. They soon encounter a Scion Elite with a missing hand: the same one who took Reyna. The Scion speaks, saying Reyna is "right where she belongs". They kill the Scion and arrive at Speyer in the morning.
Pushing through the town, Marcus gets in contact with his friend. Two giant mechs arrive at the agreed rendezvous point; their pilots dismount, revealing themselves to be Damon Baird and Augustus Cole. It's revealed that Baird was the one who was spying on JD and provided assistance in the COG settlement. Del, Marcus, Cole, and Baird board a King Raven, piloted by Samantha Byrne, leaving JD and Kait to pilot the mechs. The squad push through heavy Swarm resistance and return to the dam. After the mechs break through the dam and emerge on the dried riverbed where the hive is, a gargantuan Swarm creature erupts from the ground. The mechs and helicopter coordinate to take it down, but the Raven is downed. JD tears off the damaged helicopter's rotary system with the mech and uses it to kill the creature. The squad dismounts and enters the hive to find a partially-assimilated Reyna, who knows that if she's released, she'll die; nonetheless, she begs to be mercy killed. Everyone leaves the cave to give Kait some privacy as she bids her mother goodbye. Before she fulfills Reyna's last wish, Reyna tells Kait to take her medallion. Emerging from the cavern, Kait is consoled and holds up the medallion, saying that it belonged to her grandmother, who she never knew. On the back of the medallion is the sigil of the Locust Horde...
After the credits, a lone Snatcher falls over and dies in the woods. A knife pierces its belly, revealing Oscar to be alive. After getting himself up, he wonders, "Where the hell is everybody?"
The game features optional microtransactions for cosmetic items. Players are able to purchase crates called Gear Packs filled with cards that have different levels of rarity, and offer cosmetic changes in-game. On the Xbox One version, the campaign and Horde modes operate at 1080p, 30fps. The versus multiplayer operates at a dynamic resolution up to 1080p, 60fps (30fps in split-screen).
An early access beta period ran from April 18-24 for those who purchased Gears of War: Ultimate Edition before April 11. After the multiplayer beta early access period ended, all Xbox Live Gold users could play from April 25 to May 1.
Gears of War 4 introduced several new gameplay elements to the Gears of War series.
Windflares: A new environmental element, wind, is a key feature in the game in the form of Windflares. These Windflares have been described as a 'mini boss battle'. They affect weapons, causing grenades and projectiles to change course, or even fly back at you. They affect enemies, causing them to stumble about in the wind, and, when killed, an enemy can be pulled apart and ripped off into the distance. Objects throughout a landscape can be freed up and used as projectiles against the enemy, or yourself if you're unlucky.
Dynamic Cover: Cover is a core element of Gears of War, and Meat Shields and Boom Shields are forms of dynamic cover introduced in earlier games. Looking to advance dynamic cover even further, pods were introduced. These pods can be shot, thus removing them and the combat advantages they grant from the battlefield. The pods could have nothing in them, or either a Juvie or Screamer; the latter of which could pop all the pods in the vicinity. Also introduced is the vault kick, where a player can slide over cover and kick an opponent on the other side, stunning them and opening up an opportunity to perform an execution.
Melee/Executions: The ability to melee and execute enemies have been an evolving standard throughout Gears of War, and a further evolution will be in the form of Close Cover Combat (CCC), and the Combat Knife. A player can initiate the CCC system in the form of a series of close combat melee takedowns against another player, and that player can also counter it. The Combat Knife brings new executions to the game, and the execution animation will differ depending on where your player is situated in relation to an opponent (these executions are reminiscent of those seen in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor). While in cover, a player can reach over and pull an opponent onto their side and perform a knife execution; this is known as a 'yank-and-shank'.
Cross-Buy/Play: Gears of War 4 supports Xbox's Play Anywhere program which allows players to play on both Windows 10 and Xbox One with shared achievements regardless of which platform it's purchased on at no extra cost. It will support cross-play across both platforms for co-op Campaign, Horde, and Versus Multiplayer against bots.
|Organizations and titles||Vehicles and vessels||Weapons and technology||Miscellanea|
Organizations and titles
Vehicles and vessels
Weapons and technology
Development for Multiplayer began at the same time as Campaign, so there was an equal focus on both aspects of the game. Horde has also returned, with the inclusion of combat classes, and skill and ability progression.
Unlike previous Gears of War titles, players won't earn characters or rewards based on achieving certain levels. Instead, everything done in online multiplayer earns people Credits. Better performance in a game will result in an increased Credit return. Credits can be used to acquire your choice of Gear Packs available in the store which will unlock a variety of items in the form of cards depending on the Gear Pack chosen -- including character and weapon skins. A second in-game currency called Scrap can be acquired only through destroying cards (like undesired or duplicate weapon skin cards). This currency is used for creating any individual cards rather than purchasing Gear Packs. Using Scrap, it's possible to create almost any card in the game. The amount of Scrap earned is based on the destroyed card's rarity, as is the amount of Scrap required to create a card.
As opposed to Gears of War 3, Gears of War: Judgment, and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition having 3 Re-Ups, Gears of War 4 features 10 Re-Ups. Similar to Gears of War 3 and Ultimate Edition, Re-Ups will be available after reaching Level 100, unlike Judgment, which required the player to reach only Level 50 before Re-Upping. Every Re-Up awards bonus Gear Packs as well as a unique emblem to display behind the player's name in lobbies and scoreboards. A special icon is also earned that displays behind the player's Level number and playlist Rank.
Two separate balance setups have been introduced – Core and Competitive. Core settings are aimed at providing the common balanced and varied experience whether playing 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. Currently, 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 in any mode.
Ranks are a new skill based matchmaking system, and are a visible skill rating that will provide you with opponents of similar skill levels, resulting in more balanced matches and a better way to grow your Versus skillset over time. Ranks are present for every Core and Competitive playlist and are assigned on an individual per-playlist basis. You’ll earn your rank by playing 5 initial placement matches to help us determine your skill level – winning is what matters. After this, you’ll be placed in one of five Ranks – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Onyx or Diamond – and one of the three tiers (numbered 1-3) within that rank. Consistently winning matches will increase the chances of getting a promotion to the next tier (or to the next Rank if at Tier 3). Conversely, consistently losing may result in getting demoted.
Along with the introduction of Core and Competitive playlists, there is also a new single unranked Social playlist. In Social, all Core game modes are mixed together into one playlist. At the end of each match, players will decide the next match by voting for the next map and mode combination they want - after the vote is finished, you'll quickly be transitioned to the next map (or mode if a new one was selected).
In Gears of War tradition (with the exception of Judgment), Gears of War 4 will launch with 10 maps (9 brand new maps and a fresh take on Gridlock) with 2 downloadable maps being added each month after launch for a year. There will be around 34 maps total by Fall 2017. Every DLC map in the game will be available to play for free without the need to buy the maps in public lobbies which contain them in the map rotation for a limited time. When new maps are released, those will replace the previously released DLC maps in the rotation. Private matches only require the lobby leader to own the DLC maps if players without the DLC are willing to play them for free without the need of waiting for map rotation to select one of the downloadable maps.
Like Gears of War 3, Gears of War 4 has a Season Pass that contains instant access to released DLC. However, instead of receiving a Weapon Skin set, two map packs and two expansion packs, players will receive a Starter Airdrop containing 17 Gear Packs, a Vintage VIP Pack containing a Vintage JD emblem, a Vintage skin for JD and the Gnasher and Dropshot weapons, and a Vintage JD Bounty that gives extra XP. In addition, the Season Pass also contains permanent access to DLC maps for private play, and exclusive access to a Developer Playlist which allows play for upcoming modes, maps, and variants before they are released publicly.
On the 7th February, 2017, The Coalition announced that the Locust would be returning as playable Character Skins in Gears of War 4 Multiplayer. On the same day, the company started a competition asking fans which Locust Character they'd like to see brought back to Multiplayer by asking them to either comment on their official forum or by replying over on their official Twitter page.
* -- Exclusive to Competitive playlists in Matchmaking
- Blood Drive
- Forge Blitz
- Fuel Depot
- Harbor Haze
- Impact Dark
- Lift Apex
- Old Town
- Raven Down
- Reclaimed Windflare
- The Slab
- War Machine
Epic Games began development on Gears of War 4 while People Can Fly worked on Gears of War: Judgment (a side project). Epic worked on the game for six months before selling the rights to the series to Microsoft. The game engine was more focused on PC and mobile platforms than consoles. After Microsoft bought the rights to the series in 2014, it sent the files and technology Epic had developed for Gears 4 to Black Tusk Studios. Black Tusk also retrieved story treatments and concept art. The idea of a Gears game set in the future, the concept of Marcus' son (the name "JD" existed this far back), were all ideas developed by Epic, and transferred to the Black Tusk version. A Swarm monster type also existed in the original version, though the nature of the Swarm itself changed over development.
The game was developed as a sequel to Gears of War 3, rather than building off Judgment. The game was designed as a "baseline," to show that the Coalition knew how to make a Gears of War game, and could build upon the game in future sequels. The tone of its story underwent revision during development. Initially, the game was meant to be darker and more serious than previous games; Rod Fergusson likened the original trilogy to the Tim Burton Batman films, whereas in this stage of conception, Gears of War 4 would be akin to the Christopher Nolan films. However, this version was, according to Ferguson, not in sync with the developers' personalities, so the darkness was scaled back. However, in terms of concept, Gears of War 4 was designed to emulate the original game, where the Locust were a more mysterious enemy. It was also decided to keep the setting on Sera, as a frame of reference in the light of the absence of characters from the original trilogy and the introduction of new adversaries. The game's narrative is, according to Fergusson, an 'evolution' from the style of previous games, in a bid to make the series more contemporary. The tone was intended to be tense, while not being on the level of a survival horror game.
Retail Editions and Pre-Order Bonuses
- Gears of War 4: Standard Edition includes only the base game. Digital purchases of the Standard Edition come with Xbox Play Anywhere. When you purchase a digital copy of Gears of War 4 on Xbox or PC, you’ll gain instant access to the game on both platforms at no additional cost. Any progression or content you acquire on one platform, including Season Pass and Gear Pack content, will also be available on both platforms regardless of where you buy. Pre-orders from the Xbox Store also came with a Vintage Del Gear Pack -- featuring a Vintage Del character skin, emblem, two Vintage weapon skins and a special Vintage Del bounty. Digital pre-orders also provided instant access to the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Character Pack for use in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.
- Gears of War 4: Ultimate Edition was released on October 7, 2016. Includes base game, four days early access, Season Pass, steelbook case (physical exclusive), and Xbox Play Anywhere (digital exclusive). Pre-orders on the Xbox Store also included the Vintage Del Gear Pack and the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Character Pack.
Loot Crate Edition
- Gears of War 4: Loot Crate Edition was released on October 11, 2016. It includes a digital copy of the game, a 7" Lancer replica, and a Gears of War-themed hoodie and glassware. Another version of the crate is also available without the game.
- Features a statue of JD on a COG Bike standing at 11 inches tall and 19 inches in length. The statue is also bundled with a Lithograph of the concept art for the COG Bike, and a Frag Grenade keychain. There’s also two variants of the statue to choose from – JD in COG Armor, or JD in Outsider clothing (exclusive to Amazon US). Some retailers will be bundling the game with the Collector’s Statue, while others offer it for standalone purchase.
Xbox One S Bundle
- A two terabyte Gears of War 4 Limited Edition Xbox One S Bundle launched alongside Gears of War 4's early access period. Includes Gears of War 4: Ultimate Edition, a custom Xbox One S console, and a Crimson Omen Limited Edition controller. 
Vintage Del Gear Pack
- A pre-order exclusive Gear Pack featuring a Vintage Delmont Walker character skin, emblem, bounty, as well as two Vintage weapon skins.
Brothers to the End Elite Gear Pack
- A pre-order bonus included in all editions of Gears of War 4. This pack pays homage to some of the most beloved characters from the Gears of War universe, and extends the tradition of offering gold weapons to day one players. This pack contains three unique character skins. 
- "Tomorrow Anya" is named after her famous words following the end of the Locust War. Her appearance is based on her look in the Gears of War 4 television commercial, "Tomorrow," where she was introduced as the mother of JD Fenix.
- "Old Man Marcus" features an older Marcus Fenix as unveiled in the E3 2016 media briefing demo. Twenty-five years after the Locust War, Marcus and the COG have long since parted ways. His facial hair has grown long and his COG regulation kit has been replaced by civilian clothes.
- "Zombie Dom" proves there's no keeping a good soldier down, at least in the form of this character skin created as tribute to Marcus' dearly departed best friend Dominic Santiago.
- This Gear Pack also includes the Gold Wave Gnasher and Gold Wave Lancer -- updated versions of the gold weapon skins awarded to the series' most-dedicated day one players.
Xbox One X Enhancement
Gears of War 4 takes advantage of the Xbox One X's extra hardware power by offering HDR support and two distinct rendering methods: Visuals Mode, and Performance Mode. Setting the rendering preference to Visuals Mode provides a 4K image running at 30fps for campaign and Horde, with a boast of additional visual enhancements such as 4K textures. Performance Mode operates with the same visual setting as base Xbox One hardware at 1080p, but also 60fps for campaign and Horde. Due to less resources being used in versus multiplayer, it is always locked at 4K, 60fps regardless of rendering preference.
Windows 10 Version
A Windows 10 version of Gears of War 4 was announced during Microsoft's press conference at E3 2016. It will support Xbox's Play Anywhere program which allows players to play on both Windows 10 and Xbox One with shared achievements and support cross-play across both platforms on every mode except Versus Multiplayer against other players. Owning the Xbox One version will unlock the Windows 10 version at no extra cost and vice versa.
- Ability to fully rebind and customize the controls (including an option for actions such as evading and taking cover to be on separate keys)
- Unlockable frame-rate and refresh rate
- Resolution and dynamic scaling options for up to 4K resolution
- Individual texture settings for characters, vehicles, effects, lighting, and world detail
- Several visual settings
- In-game text chat channel
System Requirements (AMD/NVidia)
- Min OS version: Windows 10 Anniversary Update
- CPU: AMD FX-6300 / i5 3470 @3.0GHZ
- GPU: Radeon R7 260X / GeForce 750 Ti
- VRAM: 2GB
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 80GB free
- Min OS version: Windows 10 Anniversary Update
- CPU: AMD FX-8350 / i5 4690 @3.5GHZ
- GPU: Radeon R9 290X or RX 480 / GeForce 970 or GTX 1060
- VRAM: 4GB
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 80GB free
- Min OS version: Windows 10 Anniversary Update
- CPU: AMD FX-9590 / i7 4790 @4GHZ
- GPU: Radeon R9 Fury X / GeForce 980 Ti or GTX 1080
- VRAM: 4GB / +6GB
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: SSD + 80GB free
|Gears of War series|
|Main Games:||Gears of War (♫) • Gears of War 2 (♫) • Gears of War 3 (♫) • Gears of War 4 (♫) • Gears 5 (♫)|
|Other Games:||RAAM's Shadow • Gears of War: Judgment (♫) • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition • Gears Pop! • Gears Tactics • Gears: Hivebusters|
|Books:||Aspho Fields • Jacinto's Remnant • Anvil Gate • Coalition's End • The Slab • Kilo Squad: The Survivor's Log • Ascendance • Bloodlines • Ephyra Rising|
|Comics:||Hollow • Barren • A Pendulum Wars Story • Dirty Little Secrets • The Rise of RAAM • Hivebusters • Stand-Alone Issues |
|Booklets and Guides:||Destroyed Beauty • Beneath the Surface • The Art of Gears of War • The Art of Gears of War 3 • The Poster Collection • The Art of Gears of War 4 • Retrospective • The Art of Gears 5 • Gears Tactics: The Art of the Game|
|Other Media:||Gears of War (film) • Gears of War: Exile • Gears of War: The Board Game • Gears of War: Tactics|