Xbox Launch Celebration – Gears Tactics

[XBOX SOUND] Let’s jump in with a new next-gen title from Xbox Game Studios that gives you a top-down perspective and, of course, the opportunity to save every human on the planet This is Gears Tactics [MUSIC PLAYING] [ROARING] Just like we planned it [GROWLING] Good work, Jack [GUNFIRE] [GRUNTING] Join the party [ROARING] Well, if you insist Summon the beast [GUNSHOT] Holy shit [GROWLING] [GUNFIRE] We’re done here [MUSIC PLAYING] [XBOX SOUND] [CHEERING] I’m so excited to be here today PC gamers have been playing this critically acclaimed game since earlier this year But if you prefer console and haven’t had a chance to play it yet, today’s your lucky day as it launches on all Xbox consoles And you are lucky because this is a great, great game But what I think you might want to know– how does a turn-based strategy game made from the ground up on PC make that move from mouse and keyboard to– I will take apart the set here– to the Xbox controller? Here to tell us more, joining us live from Vancouver up in Canada, Tyler Bielman, the publishing design director up at the Coalition Happy launch day, Tyler Thanks, Jeff I’m super excited, thrilled to be here kicking off the show with you guys And I’m so excited that everyone will get to play Gears Tactics on their consoles today They don’t know what is coming for them, because it is an excellent, excellent game But let’s say you’re new to the world of strategy Gears has always been a third-person cover shooter How did you decide to make a turn-based strategy game in the world of Gears? Yeah, I mean, it was a process of prototyping and proving things out and making sure that we could take what was really essential about Gears styled combat and translating that to a different camera and a different perspective, but all the while bringing what makes Gears great to it So we’ve got big boss fights We’ve got incredibly satisfying combat encounters, and we’ve got a really amazing story to go with it So we’re really happy and proud of how Gears Tactics plays on the console And it’s widely known that I’m a huge Gears fan Gears Tactics doesn’t really take place during the same time period as the other games, right, Tyler? That’s right It actually takes place about 12 years before the events of the first Gears of War games, so right around Emergence Day– well before the events of Marcus Phoenix in Gears one And the game revolves around a sort of reluctant hero named Gabe Diaz And if that last name sounds familiar, this is Kate Diaz’s father, Kate Diaz being the main character in Gears 5 So we get to explore his journey He’s a tactical commander who’s had some bad experiences with the Cog And when we meet him, he is working in the motor pool in sort of self-imposed exile But he’s brought back into the fold to fight an incredibly dangerous Locust scientist named Ukkon, a geneticist And Ukkon in Gears backstory is the monster that makes the monsters If you’ve seen those big Brumaks and Corpsers, those are Ukkon’s pets And so our heroes need to go on this journey to try to stop Ukkon from creating even more devastating enemies that will take down the planet Sera All right Tyler, we didn’t come here to talk We came here to play– and also to talk while we’re playing Yeah Let’s do it So why don’t we fire up the game You’re playing live here on Xbox Series X, right? I am, yes Right there There’s the controller So why don’t we take this footage? I’m ready to go Yeah, so let’s load it up, and let’s see what we do So where are we in the game here? TYLER: There we are JEFF: Act 2, Chapter 7 TYLER: Yeah, we’ve got this loaded in about 2/3 of the way through the game So we’ve got lots of cool skills and abilities, which

we’ll talk about And I’ve got a four-person squad here But the squad now, as of today, also includes Jack, the sort of signature Gears robot companion But as we move through the objectives here– and I’ll show you some of the basics and kind of get people who are not familiar with Tactics on PC– I’ll give you kind of the basics and why it’s a special game The first thing that I want to point out is that even though it is a turn-based tactics game, the game does not take place on a forced grid You are free to move wherever you want in the game, in the map You can create any sort of firing lanes or trap areas that you want to You’re not constrained by that The second thing that I would point out, and kind of what makes Tactics special, is in a lot of turn-based tactics games, you’re very limited to one move action and one shoot action In our game, we have three action points You can divide those between your movements So this would be a one-action movement here, a two-action movement, and then a three-action movement Or you can fire your primary weapon or your secondary weapon three times Or you can use these skills So you’ll see the skill bar down at the bottom These are all the cool skills that I’ve leveled up or figured out how to get through my equipment load-out So this is my scout Mikayla I’m going to look around a little bit, actually, and get some– scope out the battlefield So this is an equipment case over here And I could see a bit of the objective, but I can’t see into the fog here So we’re going to move our scout up Scouts are really good at penetrating, getting in close, and using their shotgun to finish units off JEFF: It’s a Gnasher, man It’s a Gnasher TYLER: Yeah What are you going to do, right? You’re going to bounce through there and you’re going to take him out with one shot So one other thing I’ll notice– this is not something that we teach in the game, it’s kind of a pro tip– is you do have this limitation, this radius of one action of movement But because we’re a Gears game and we want you to be flowing into the cover, we’ll give you a little extra movement That movement up to that cover would normally cost you two But because you’re snapping into that cover, it’s going to cost you one So when you’re playing, you want to always be looking for those little advantages that will help you conserve action So we’ll move our scout Marcella up here And she has managed to reveal– wow– a ton of enemies We’ve got our sort of Hammerburst drones here Those are sort of the normal soldier command units And then there’s a Kantus here And I’m actually going to zoom in a little bit and show you the Kantus And the Kantus is kind of a healer class, and it has this opportunity attack So I can’t get in super close, or else it will knock me back And that zoom, actually, while I’m talking about it, this zoom is something we put in on the controller It’s on the right trigger And that’s sort of something we put in just for console users, because we know you’re going to be playing a little further back So we give the opportunity to get in And that’s really important if you’re really trying to position really carefully to make sure you’ve got the right firing lines CATARINA: Tyler, just to jump in– That zoom is also adjustable in the settings Yeah, go ahead Yeah, just to jump in there, the team has done a lot of work throughout the genre that’s usually played on PC with the mouse and the keyboard For it to work with the Xbox and with the Xbox controller, can you talk a little more about what work went into that? Absolutely We basically threw out the controls altogether on the controller when we started the console work about 10 months ago And we really wanted to make sure that it felt as native as possible So for example, this bayonet charge that I’ve just selected is a skill on that bar that my vanguard Sid has And instead of making you hunt and try to find the right location for it, we just snap the cursor to it And so you can cycle through Even though these are not viable targets, you’ll kind of end up on the right one That kind of background work, just to make it super smooth, are the kinds of things we did Another thing we did is, on the right trigger I mentioned a zoom But on the left trigger, we actually slow down the cursor movement a bit And so you can actually get a little bit more precision on where you’re moving the unit to And so those kinds of– and there’s a ton of these in the background We overhauled completely the front end where you do all the customization screens to make sure it works really perfectly with the controller JEFF: Tyler, let’s see some action here, because the thing that I want to talk about is the fact that you wouldn’t necessarily think from a remove that Gears, which is known for its quick action– and you shoot first or you’re probably dead, at least in multiplayer– would fit with a patient thinking man’s game I do love the Retro Lancer And I love that that’s in here You’ve done an amazing job of capturing the feel of Gears in a game that is a completely different genre

So I’d love to just– we’re seeing it, but I would love to hear a little bit more about the steps you took to bring in things that are classic Gears, like a Lancer directly into a Theron Guard, or something like that, that you’ve done that make this game feel Gears and yet completely new TYLER: Yeah I mean, it was really important to us that we not– that we make a game that feels like Gears And part of that is making sure that we are rewarding aggression In a lot of turn-based tactics games, you have– JEFF: This is going to be good –a strategy of sitting back Yeah, I’m just trying to– again, I’m going to try to place it just right to maximize the damage with a grenade This is Gears, right? So you have to push past that cover and take out those enemies So what starts out as a very intimidating looking front of enemies, through the depth of the tools that you have and the things you can do– and sometimes just a blunt force object like a grenade– we really wanted to emulate what makes the Gears combat so special And that has to do with creating flanks, pushing through fronts And one of the mechanics that we hit upon– in about the middle of development, but it became something we doubled down on– was the execution mechanic I don’t think I have enough actions here to show it in its sort of full potential But if you can down a unit– actually, I’m going to use Jack here to try to protect– JEFF: Now, Jack is entirely new, because I’ve played this game– I beat the whole game on PC And I loved it And for someone like me, it was like, OK, do I need to play this again You’ve actually added a ton of new content that makes me want to go back to the game, whether I do that on Xbox Series X or S or if I want to do that on Windows 10 PC There’s a ton of new content in terms of enemies, weapons, and of course Jack So I would love to hear about the new stuff Yeah, so Jack is entirely new He has his own unique skill tree that’s unlike any of the other classes in the game He goes on every mission with you So you don’t have to trade off your sort of offensive capability of your units for the kind of cool tricks that Jack can do Jack comes standard with a buff called Wingman that lets you improve the accuracy and damage of the other squads You can cloak Jack Jack doesn’t use cover, so it’s important to make sure that Jack is protected And we added a whole new area of effect element to the game So he has these capsules And these capsules create areas of effect that will de-buff enemies or buff your units So in this case, I aggressively moved Sid up into this position So I’m going to try to protect him by using a shot capsule, which should debilitate these enemies and not allow them to move or shoot, kind of protecting him So he’s going to fire off his capsule, and now, because those units are shocked, Sid can maintain that forward position, but he doesn’t have to worry about those two units JEFF: Now, one of the hardest parts of the game is always choosing what characters you want to use You start to fall in love with different ones You know, do I want to have more than one sniper at the expense of giving up a scout or something like that? But you don’t have to make that choice with Jack, do you? No, absolutely not And in fact– I mean, Jack’s skill tree– I mean, those are still difficult choices because he has all of these cool toys that you want to use So he brings a lot of different options to the battlefield I’ll just move up into here JEFF: He doesn’t take up a slot, does he? No, he doesn’t He goes on every mission with you, every side mission, every story mission It was really important that we really embrace the player here And we want to give the player a ton of different tools We’re going to put you in really challenging situations We’re going to throw tons of enemies at you But the depth and your cleverness will always– well, in a lot of cases, not always– should help you get out of it And that was something that we felt like was important as we developed the game on the PC And then in translating it to console, making sure it still has that feel I’ve found myself in that position CATARINA: And to overcome all these enemies, could you walk us through how do you go about squad building and trying to find the best characters for each one of the challenges that you have on your sidekick? Sure Yeah, I mean, I can leave the mission and show you where you do all the customization And it’ll just take a second for it to reload back into the convoy We have five different classes in the game– heavy, sniper, support, scout, and vanguard Each of them has a signature Gears weapon So in the case of the support character, they have the signature Lancer You can see here Gabe, our hero, who’s carrying the Lancer One of the things people told us very early on when we were developing is

how much they loved the skills If you’re an RPG fan and you’re looking for sort of a deep experience in that way, we’ve got an incredible depth of skills So each of your support classes can be built entirely differently You can see all the skills that I’ve got unlocked on Gabe here on the right side And in addition, every weapon has weapon mod slots So you can customize the stock, the magazine, the scope, the barrel And so there’s a lot of different options for you there, and you collect these weapon mods through the progression of the game and buy those equipment cases in the level And that really allows you to build out these ultimate builds the way you want The same thing goes with the armor Ooh, there’s an epic destroyer vest here that’s pretty cool Should probably have that equipped on him JEFF: And some of the gold-tier accessories can really be game changers I mean, like radically– you can even affect how many turns you get And it’s worth it to go out of the way for those chests, isn’t it? Yeah, I mean, it’s tricky But one of the things Jack can do, actually– again, kind of a pro tip– is Jack can go retrieve those chests for you So again, you’re not trading your offensive power for that, which is pretty cool When you go to– JEFF: Your gamertag’s out there, I think That’s how you know we’re doing this live is here he comes Yeah Absolutely So this is the mission screen here, where we have that mission we were just on You go in here You choose who you want to take on the mission from your roster Oh, there’s Cole making a special appearance in his Thrashball armor Look at that JEFF: Cole is awesome, by the way We’ll talk more about later on how to unlock him And it’s very easy to do, and you’re going to want him Yeah, it’s really cool that he comes with a unique set of armor that gives you a little boost in the early game by having it JEFF: This is great Can we talk about– you’ve talked a lot about all the things that are added You’re getting new armor You’re getting a new character in Jack, who is essentially like a fifth wheel in a good way, if that was a thing And it was like, wow, this game must be getting easier But there’s another side of that coin, isn’t there? Yeah, we knew we really– we couldn’t give you more tools without giving you more obstacles And so we brought in a class of enemies called the Deviants The Deviants are sort of Ukkon’s rejects They’re a little overpowered, a little unruly So there are five new Deviant enemies And those Deviants have unique skills that kind of allow them to function as a captain for the encounters that are in the– that you go through So for example, the Deviant Wretch has a pack effect that will make all the Wretches around him harder to kill Those Wretches, if they push through your front and get to you and attack you, they will push you out of cover, which then allows Hammerburst guns to shoot you So every time a Deviant is on the field, you have to be very careful, and you have to approach the encounter in a different way So we’ve sort of sprinkled those throughout the campaign So again, even if you’ve played a single act on PC or played through the whole game, it’s a very different experience when you get to the console And then the last thing I’ll throw in that we added is a new tier of loot We’ve added an equipment tier called Supreme So when you’re going into these weapon mods, there’s a high level of red Supreme equipment I don’t think I have any, actually, because it’s too early in the game But those have a synergy to them So for example, if you have all of the different weapon mods of Supreme for the sniper rifle, it turns it into a crit machine that just keep critting over and over again And that’s exactly what you want to take down those high-powered enemies that might be a little bit further back, like the Kantus, that are trying to buff up the enemy team CATARINA: Tyler, if you had to put it out there, what’s your favorite squad and what’s your favorite formation on Gears Tactics? What would that be? Yeah, I mean, I am a big fan of the scout and vanguard classes, because they do what Gears does really well It allows you to push through, find a flanking route, and deliver a high amount of offense without the enemy having the benefit of covers So I tend to lean into scouts They also have a cloak ability, which allows them to push through And then the vanguard’s kind of interesting We have a lot of different– more traditional classes like the heavy or the sniper But the vanguard is sort of unique in that the vanguard has a straight ahead sort of attitude So whereas the scout you might want to cloak or flank around, what you want to do with the vanguard is push forward and sort of move through the fronts that way JEFF: We’re taking a look here at Gabe Diaz And you mentioned earlier that Gabe is Kate’s mom

And you’re going to learn a little bit– TYLER: Kate’s dad JEFF: I mean Kate’s dad, yes And you’re going to learn a little bit more about her lineage going in But something I just wanted to call– I love strategy RPGs I played XCOM, Mutant Year Zero, Phoenix Point, Mario Rabbids Like, if it has the word “tactics” in it, I will play that game Very few of those games have a really good story And you’ve put a ton of work into the story There was even one point later in the game where I was like, [GASPS] Like, I couldn’t believe it So talk about the story and the worldbuilding that goes into this This is not just, like, map, map, map, and on forever Yeah, I mean, the game takes place in Vasgar, partially, which is a region of Sera that you discover in Gears 5, except this is many years earlier And so you can recognize some of the architecture, some of things if you’re a deep Gears fan And it was really– it was an experiment for us, whether or not we could create a tactics game, which usually has a sort of point of view that’s a little more omniscient and a little less personal And can we do that– create a story around a main character that you grow to care about, surround that character with supporting characters like Sid and Mikayla that bring the Gabe story to life? It has the sort of AAA cinematic quality that you’re used to, which of course looks amazing on the new hardware And that was– for us, part of Gears are big boss fights, and we’ve got those It’s that sort of character-focused story We’ve got that It’s incredibly relevant to the lore So in addition to the basic combat and intensity, we made sure that we brought in that really high-quality story that makes it feel like Gears And, Tyler, I heard you have added a lot of new stuff to the game on the PC, too And you’ve talked about it for a little bit here, too Is there anything else in the game that you wanted to talk about and show us? Yeah, I mean, there’s new achievements So for those achievement hunters out there, we’ve added– I think it’s 400 gamer score worth of new achievements So there’s plenty of stuff there for you to hunt down And of course, just a note– you can play anywhere So if you’ve started your games on PC and you come over to console, either through Game Pass or buying the game, you could pick right up where you left off and continue your saves, which was very important to our technical director, Cam Like, that was the one thing he had to make sure works So yeah, it’s really great whether you’ve played it or not, whether you are longtime tactics player or a Gears player or even someone from an RPG background We believe there’s something for everyone with Tactics For sure Thank you, Tyler, so much for being here today with us and for showing Gears Tactics to everyone at home Absolutely Thank you so much Happy launch day So that is Gears Tactics, which everyone can play now on PC, Xbox One, and starting today, Xbox Series X and S And of course, it’s on Xbox Game Pass If you play the game by December 4, you’re going to get the Thrashball Cole character pack We saw a little bit of that and what that includes Let me tell you, it’s voiced by Lester Speight He’s got his famous catchphrases, like “woo.” And all the things you love about Coltrane is into this game as well, so you’re going to want to get that Plus, all you got to do is complete the tutorial, and you get the armored Gabe character skin to use in Gears 5 multiplayer So it all connects together (Xbox Sound)