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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. The game will feature optional microtransactions for cosmetic items. Players will be 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 will run at 1080p 30fps while the versus multiplayer will run at 60fps (30fps in split-screen) on an unspecified resolution.
Gears of War 4 will introduce several new gameplay elements to the Gears of War series.
- Windflares: A new environmental element, wind, will be 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 Drone, 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.
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 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.