The Gears of War multiplayer has always been competitive, but was never truly supported in the eSports community. The Coalition and Xbox is teaming with ESL and Twitch to launch a new Pro League and Open League featuring Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for the Xbox One with obvious plans to lead into Gears of War 4 in 2016.
The competitive gaming side of Gears of War has been “under served,” according to Executive Producer Rod Fergusson in the Twitch announcement. The Gears of War: Ultimate Edition launch for the Xbox One on August 25 gives The Coalition a chance to crawl before it tries to run.
“You can’t just jump completely into it with both feet and expect to be successful,” Fergusson said. “We see Gears of War: Ultimate Edition as an opportunity for us to start small.”
— Gears of War (@GearsofWar) August 22, 2015
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will serve as the testing ground for the new competitive multiplayer side of the franchise. Part of that includes a new King of the Hill variant called Blitz.
Lead Multiplayer Designer Ryan Cleven says, “In this version you have to stay in the ring in order to capture and hold it. If you leave the ring, you lose the cap. It’s intended to be a very strategic, eSports friendly King of the Hill. It plays out really quickly. It has a fixed hill rotation, no more randomness, players can go right to the ring that they know is going to pop up. It’s got a fast cap, you don’t have to wait.”
Things will kick off in September with eight weekly preseason cups with $500 prize pools where The Coalition and ESL will work with the competitive community to refine the ruleset that best fits the experience. The game types announced for each best of five match include Execution, King of the Hill, and Blitz.
This leads into the Gears of War Pro League with two qualifying cups on October 4 and 11 with a $500 prize pool. Eight teams will be picked from both cups for a Pro League qualifier that will be broadcast October 18 live on Twitch. The top eight teams will be selected to compete over the course of seven weeks starting in October to be one of the final four to compete in the Gears of War Pro League championships and share a $50,000 prize pool.
Those interested in signing up for the chance to compete in the Pro League should go to the ESL website for rules and registration. It will only be open to those in North America for the first season with the chance to expand to other countries in subsequent seasons.
An Open League will start after the Gears of War preseason cups that will run ten weeks from October through December 2015. This is for teams that either don’t make the Pro League or those that are more casual competitive gamers. There will still be money involved, however, with $500 prize pools for each weekly event.
New Game Same Formula
We’ve seen a similar formula take place with Halo: The Master Chief Collection and eSports. The Halo 2 Anniversary gameplay from the collection, despite the overall game’s problems, has been used as a testing ground in competitive events with pro gamers to help define and refine Arena play for Halo 5.
If The Coalition can use two to three seasons of Gears of War competitive play to help the development of Gears of War 4, the end result will only be better for it.
What do you think of the move to take Gears of War into the competitive scene? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via Gears of War]