The new Gears of War looks to step in a few new directions for the series, but one aspect in particular is ahead of the curve, according to its developer. There are no loot boxes for real money, one persistent progression system, lots of free cosmetics, and no season pass.
Speaking to GamesIndustryBiz, multiplayer design director Ryan Cleven says he feels Gears has a very "player-centric" monetization.
"We really think we're ahead of the industry here in getting rid of loot boxes and making sure that we can both service people that are looking to accelerate their progression or earn cosmetics using money but also keeping the integrity of the game experience," Cleven says.
In response to recent developments like the proposed loot box bill, Cleven says it didn't have an impact on Gears 5. Apparently, the process of de-lootboxing Gears started in the fourth game, where he says developer The Coalition was "sort of reading the tea leaves."
"We put the challenge to ourselves: can we still provide purchasable things to players that want to purchase and still have the rest of the players really enjoy the system? That was a challenge we set right from the beginning of Gears 5," Cleven told GI Biz.
Gears 5 is instead going with a battle pass-style system called Tour of Duty, where freely available cosmetics can be earned just by playing, and any cosmetics you purchase in the shop will be direct, with no random rolls. It's a little more reasonable than full-on loot boxes, skirts any potential legislation, and doesn't leave you spending money to get to spend money. Still, Gears 5 is a full price game, so it has a little luxury in not having to think about how to get players to invest like a free-to-play might.
Gears 5 arrives on Xbox One and PC on September 10. Keep up to date with all the latest, including launch dates for Xbox Games Pass owners, in our Gears 5 release guide.