Gears 5 developer The Coalition is introducing the change as part of the game’s next season to address slow matchmaking times in multiplayer.
Crossplay is becoming a more common feature in games as the gap between console and PC narrows, breaking down walls that may inhibit friends on different platforms from playing with each other. Gears 5 is one such game, giving Xbox and PC players the choice to face off in multiplayer, but to this point it has remained a choice. This looks to be ending as Gears 5 developer The Coalition saying crossplay will be the norm when the game’s next season starts on May 18.
Gears 5‘s latest season, Operation 7, is adding a new map and two new characters to the game’s multiplayer mode for players to enjoy. The map, Ephyra, will pit squads against each other in the downtown district of the COG’s ruined, former capital city last seen in the original Gears of War. COG scientist Hanna Cole will be making her multiplayer debut, jumping over from the game’s co-op mode, Escape, and The Hivebusters expansion. The second new character is Ukkon, the Locust scientist who served as the antagonist for 2020’s Gears Tactics. Other changes coming with Operation 7 include the seasonal balance patch to refresh the meta within Gears 5 multiplayer.
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However, the change to crossplay is arguably on the biggest coming to the game in Operation 7. The Coalition shared the change as part of the Operation 7 preview post on the game’s official website as a way to address slow matchmaking in the game’s multiplayer. It points to a reported 40% of players who have crossplay disabled as a key reason why matchmaking times on PC and Xbox are slower. The studio says it feels forcing all players into crossplay will help alleviate that and improve the experience for all. It also points to changes to the field of view, lag reduction on Xbox, and the option to use a mouse and keyboard as other reasons it is comfortable forcing all players into crossplay.
Crossplay is a tricky feature to navigate in today’s gaming landscape dominated by high-powered PCs and new console hardware on the market. As mentioned above, it can provide a positive experience by allowing friends on different platforms to play with each other and enjoy their games together. Games like Fortnite and Minecraft have already adopted some form of crossplay while other games like Destiny 2 have it in the pipeline for release in the near future.
On the other hand, there is something to be said about the possible negative experience players could have in certain types of games where crossplay is available. Shooters are the most common pointed to as precision and response time are important factors when playing against other people online. The argument is typically that PC players have an advantage because of mouse and keyboard, allowing for more accurate controls compared to controllers, which can be a bit slower and not as accurate. One way console makers are looking to address that is allowing keyboard and mouse function, but it does not completely address the criticism as not everyone may switch over to that setup on console.
Only time will tell if The Coalition is making the right move here and forcing players into crossplay is not problematic for Gears 5.
Gears 5 is currently available on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
Source: Gears 5 Official Website
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