At E3 2016, Microsoft announced that the much-anticipated Gears of War 4 game coming to Xbox One would also be hitting Windows 10 PCs in October. Additionally, with their newly announced Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, Gears of War 4 users will be able to get the game on one platform and have it on both. Cross-play is also enabled, meaning that any player on Windows 10 or Xbox One could play the game together.
This brings up an interesting dilemma since the campaign of Xbox One’s Gears of War 4 will run at a capped 30-frames-per-second in the campaign mode. However, with the ability to play the game with Windows 10 users, the question became whether or not the PC version would be capped to keep in rhythm with the Xbox One.
I spoke with Michael Rayner, Technical Director at The Coalition, Monday night at the Xbox Media Showcase at E3 2016, and he had some good news for Gears of War 4 Windows 10 players.
“[O]n the Xbox we’re running at 30hz, 1080p for the campaign, 60hz, 1080p for multiplayer. On Windows 10, PC gamers will run as fast as your hardware will support. So you can lock it to your Vsync or your monitor refresh rate, or you can run it fully unlocked, you know, 120 frames or whatever your system can support.”
Rayner says this holds up even when playing the campaign across platforms, meaning that Gears of War 4 will not artificially cap your frame rate on Windows 10 in order to keep time with the Xbox One. Raynor attributes this to the engine running the game, Unreal Engine 4.
“Because of the way the engine works, at the core it supports a variable time stamp. The way that the network updates happen between co-op [or] two players, we can have the PC game running at the higher frame rate against the Xbox One at a fixed frame rate. And everything works.”
Gears of War 4 will support cross play with all of its game modes, and players will be able to get the most out of their respective systems without it being at the expense of other players. Some engines will tie the simulation to the frame rate, but as Rayner mentions, the engine using that variable time stamp will keep everything organized and in sync. Rayner equated it to the PC landscape today, bringing up that not everyone plays at blistering frame rates, yet they are still able to play with people who are.
“Say you’re running at the lowest resolution to get the highest frame rate, or you’ve just got a really powerful system against someone who is running on a recommended or minimum spec PC that’s running at a lower frame rate, it’ll all network correctly and you’ll get to play co-op.”
Gears of War 4 was announced at Monday’s Xbox Press Briefing at to be coming to Windows 10, though no official release date was listed by Microsoft. The Xbox One version is confirmed to release for October 11, and while there is speculation as to whether or not Gears of War 4 is hitting the same day, the official post on Xbox Wire gives the impression that they will launch simultaneously.
Gears of War 4 is the latest major franchise to be confirmed for Windows 10 PCs, while the Windows 10 store has been off to a real shaky spot since its inception, with multiple titles being released with issues. Gears of War Ultimate Edition is still giving some PC players issues, so many PC players are naturally concerned with the quality of the port. It’s obviously to-be-determined, though if Forza Motorsport 6: Apex and Killer Instinct on Windows 10 are any indication, things might be looking up for Windows gamers.
[Image via The Coalition/ Microsoft]