During a live stream at PAX East, The Coalition revealed another competitive mode for Gears of War 4
. Titled Escalation, the new mode was inspired by eSports and features very fast and frantic gameplay.
Escalation has three core features: Capture and Hold, Weapon Placement, and Escalating Combat.
At its core, Escalation is a round-based, ring-based objective mode with Execution rules. There are three rings on the map at all times – a middle ring an equal distance between both teams, and one ‘home’ ring for each team, which is placed in a more accessible location on the map. Team spawns do not move at any point during the round, though you will swap sides with the opposing team every second round.
Teams battle it out for control over these three rings, similar to King of The Hill or Annex, with either team gaining points for holding any ring. But if all three rings are held by one team, that team automatically wins the round. So while it might seem safe to hold two out of the three rings to rack up points, if the other team manages to quickly capture all three you're done for.
Escalation begins without any weapon pickups available on the battlefield. Unlike the rest of multiplayer modes offered in Gears of War 4, there are also no loadout selections available in Escalation – everyone starts with the Lancer and Gnasher to ensure every player in Escalation begins on an equal footing.
At the end of each round the losing team can decide to place a power weapon onto the map. The weapons can be picked up by either team so it's essential to carefully select which weapon goes where. The most powerful weapons (Boomshot, Dropshot) can only be placed in the middle of the map. While placing secondary weapons (Grenades, Sniper, etc.) can be placed on the outskirts. But secondary weapons will also spawn on the opposite side of the map allowing the enemy team access as well.
Teams can also choose to simply block a weapon spawn, in the hopes of preventing the enemy team from obtaining a strong weapon that works in their advantage. This new weapon placement system could very well be one of the most strategic elements of the multiplayer the franchise has ever seen.
True to its name, the combat in Escalation escalates round by round. In the first round, your individual respawn timer is set at a brisk 10 seconds, bringing dead players back into the fight quickly to rejoin the action. After each round, the respawn timer increases by 2 seconds, meaning each death becomes significantly more impactful as time goes on.
The longer the matches draw out, the more each death will impact the team. By Round 6 the respawn times are at a whopping 20 seconds. In a mode where control over all three capture points means instant victory, two or three deaths in a row can easily lead to a loss.
Check out the video below featuring professional Gears of War
eSports players playing the new mode for the first time (gameplay starts around 22:32).
Gears of War 4
is scheduled to release on October 11th for Xbox One with four days early access available to those who purchase the game's limited edition