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What’s Up – March 5th 2020

Fahz defends his position in Horde

Welcome to What’s Up, our weekly blog where we’ll recap everything that’s happened in the past week and talk a little about future developments. In What’s Up this week:

  • Horde Frenzy Returns
  • TU 4.2 Update Notes
  • Quickplay Playlist Updates
Kait and JD face off against an incoming wave of Swarm

We’ve been teasing the arrival of something new for Horde fans coming with TU4.2 and it’s finally time to lift the curtain on the return of fan favorite Horde Frenzy.

For those of you who don’t know, Horde Frenzy was a half-length Horde variant introduced in Gears 4 that provided an additional way to play Horde without a multi-hour commitment.

In Gears 5, we’ve amped up Horde Frenzy even more to really double down on what it does best – bitesize, intense Horde experiences that can fit into a busy schedule or be played again and again late into the night.

Gears 5 Horde Frenzy is a 12-wave experience, lasting on average of around 30 minutes. The 12 waves are punctuated by a mini-boss wave at Wave 4, and then a Boss + Mini-Boss wave at wave 8 and 12 alongside modifier increases. You start with more Power than traditional Horde, and Power Taps will offer way more Power per wave than traditional Horde.

Initially, Horde Frenzy will be available on three maps – Exhibit, Forge and District – via matchmaking only. With the release of Operation 3, Horde Frenzy matchmaking will include all maps in the game. Later in the year, we’ll also release Horde Frenzy as a fully fledged mode available to use in Custom Lobbies.

To make the return of Horde Frenzy extra special, we’re planning to run an ENTIRE WEEK of Free Boost as well as Double Character XP in Horde!

Speaking of TU 4.2, we’re almost ready to launch the update next week on Tuesday, March 10th! Our latest hotfix delivers some key game updates targeting some of your most mentioned issues along with the introduction of Horde Frenzy:

  • Introducing Horde Frenzy! 12 wave Horde available in matchmaking on 3 maps.*
  • Escape Hive ‘The Descent’: Balancing pass to address some of the huge difficulty spikes during the Hive. Replaced the Iron Man mutator with Ammo Starvation.
  • Escape Hive ‘The Gauntlet’: Balancing pass to address some of the huge difficulty spikes during the Hive. Reduced the number of overall Bastions. Replaced weapons lockers with ammo crates.
  • Multiple fixes for the Boomshot to dramatically improve consistency. This includes updates to address specific materials that could block Boomshot damage when a shot lands beside / behind an opponent, increases to the initial explosion damage and decreasing the application time of damage from the Boomshot.
  • Flashbang hitmarkers will now only appear if the user has been stunned by the Flash
  • Capping and breaking rings will now be worth 100 points. We recognized our points were undervaluing the impact of capturing or breaking rings, and we’re continuing to look at further improvements we can make to scoring all up.*
  • Lowered the number of players needed to start FFA to 6 (from 12) to improve the matchmaking experience for lower population regions at off-peak times.*
  • Fixed an issue with Flash Bangs that caused audio to be louder than usual
  • Fixed an issue that could cause audio distortion in Horde when a Kestrel or Trishot fired
  • Additional crash fix

*These changes will be visible following our usual Live Update on TU day. The TU will arrive ~10am PT, with a live update to follow at ~1pm PT.

As we ramp up to the launch of Operation 3 at the end of this month and deliver another hotfix next week, we’ve had a bit of a quieter week in Gears 5.

Earlier this week, we launched our trial of a new Quickplay playlist setup and made Dodgeball our featured event as it leaves the standard Quickplay playlist.

You can get all the details on this week in Gears 5 here.

If you joined us for our Developer Stream last week, you may have heard we held a major Live Services summit internally to discuss the future of Gears 5 all up. The goal of this summit was to take what we’ve already been doing – prioritizing what’s important to you and what we need to work on – to the next level.

Rather than doing what we can within the confines we established with the launch of the game, the Summit was our opportunity to assess every element of the game and ask ourselves where do we – and you – want us to go regardless of precedent.

We have an exciting plan and vision for where we want to take the game that’s just getting started.

For now, the full focus is on shipping hotfixes, improvements and Operation 3 as our next big step up for the game. Shortly after, we should be ready to lay out what comes next for Gears 5 and set out on that journey together with you, keeping you informed every step of the way.

For now though, we’re just excited to get stuck in to some Horde Frenzy next week! Dibs on Lizzie!

TC, out.

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