Gears 5 is repainting familiar ground with a coat of blood red polish. Despite last month’s major leak about Gears 5’s single-player mode, Microsoft is selling the next installment of the Xbox exclusive  based on gameplay improvements and additions to multiplayer. Microsoft’s E3 2019 Media Briefing skimped on Gears 5 story details save for playing a “Mad World”-style art house trailer featuring Marcus Fenix and Kait Diaz. Rod Fergusson, current head of Gears 5 developer The Coalition and former director of production at the series’ original studio Epic Games, took the stage to promote a brand new multiplayer mode called “Escape.”

Escape is a cooperative mode that heavily contrasts with Gears of War’s beloved Horde game type. Where Horde has up to five players and focuses on defense and fortification, Escape finally allows players act as the aggressors. Microsoft describes the new offering as “an agressive, high stakes, three-player co-op mode featuring a suicide squad that must work together to take out enemy hives from within.”

Yahtzee Croshaw offered a blunter assessment after waiting an hour to try it. “OK, well that was hardly worth it,” Croshaw said from the show floor. “Played a round of the new Escape mode and it’s just Left 4 Dead. But in Gears of War. All there is to say, really.”

Refurbishing older multiplayer modes has worked wonders for the Gears of War franchise in the past. Even though Left 4 Dead-style split screen online play is hardly new, Horde was similarly old fashioned when it debuted in Gears of War 2 to great fanfare. Escape could be similarly successful.

Gears 5 is slated for a Sept. 10 release on Xbox One and PC, but can be played four days early via Xbox Game Pass. Preorder bonuses includes playable Terminator: Dark Fate T-1000 and Sarah Connor multiplayer skins.


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