Gears 5 has player initiated combat inspired by Bioshock Infinite

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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all...

Gears 5′s campaign is changing it up, offering an open-world setting alongside something The Coalition has called “player initiated combat,” an AI mentality heavily inspired by Bioshock Infintite.

While it might sound daunting, the combat system is just that — one that lets the player decide with a fight actually starts. Whereas Locust enemies in Gears 1-4 would instantly react when a player entered an arena, Gears 5 will give players the opportunity to stealth through areas, with enemies only engaging when they actively see you.

Stevivor talked with Matt Searcy, Campaign Design Director, about the new system.

“There’s lots of games that have done pure stealth, but pure stealth is a whole beast unto itself. It didn’t feel right for Gears,” Searcy began. “Our characters are not tiptoeing around in Ninja costumes, they’re stomping around in armour.

“You look at games like BioShock Infinite and it’s all about that choice. They show the situation or part of the situation and you have a bunch of tools loaded up and then you get to decide what to do. This wouldn’t have worked as well in Gears 4 or in past games because we would show you the situation. Even if we showed you a bunch of unaware enemies, you’re still only choosing between left and right or the piece of coverage. But you’re going to have to shoot then.”

This time around, there are more tools at the players disposal to try to get through an area without firing a Lancer.

“We added new melee kills and new stealth kills. We’ve got a cloak ability, we’ve got a steal ability. We have a marking system — it’s mainly used for multiplayer to tell your teammates who you want them to shoot at, but the AI respects it too. We’ve got the hijack where you can take over an enemy,” Searcy continued. “Before the encounter even starts, you could pick the sniper on the other end of the field, flip them to your team and then mark an enemy on the field and that sniper will shoot at that enemy and ideally kill him.”

While all this sounds amazing in practice, fully stealthing through an area will be rather difficult on easy modes (and even moreso on difficulties from experienced and above). My personal best in a room full of Locust? Four chained stealth kills before I either ran out of skill or just got unlucky. Nevertheless, player initiated combat provides a new way to experience Gears, and I’m quite excited by it.

Gears 5 heads to Windows PC and Xbox One from 10 September, though Xbox Game Pass subscribers get a headstart from 6 September.