Why a Gears of War HD Collection makes sense
But also why we should be wary of it
One of the unfortunate trends in this console generation has been the remake and/or re-master of previous franchises. The Last of Us, Halo, Tomb Raider, Wind Waker, and countless other past gems have been brought back for a new audience. As a business move, this makes logical sense: it’s far cheaper to re-master an already made game, than it is to create a new experience from the ground up. Considering the rising costs of game development, you’re going to go with the cheaper alternative more often than not.
Gears of War is an entirely different case for some. We haven’t seen a traditional Gears release since 2011; while Judgement was available back in 2013, you can’t help but feel that most of the Xbox audience was already looking to the future at that point. Despite the perceived quality of the game, it fell to the wayside, akin to Halo ODST’s magnificent campaign.
I could talk about how it’ll be great to experience every Gears of War multiplayer map on one disc ala Halo: The Master Chief Collection, provided the game works at launch of course (here’s to hoping it doesn’t pull a Gears of War 2), but that’s not why I’m excited for the franchise’s return. Gears of War has always been different; its third-person cover-based gameplay style has always led to a far more tactical approach than the typical run-and-gun affair we see in other shooters. The manner of which matches play out (you only get one life and then you’re done), a throwback to the days of Counter-Strike, added tension to each affair.
Plus, the complete brutality of the game can’t be overlooked.
The moment of “clarity,” though, didn’t fully arrive until this past weekend. I was attending a console-based LAN party (I know, I know) that featured two linked Xbox 360 consoles and Gears of War 2. Naturally, my friends and I wanted to relive the glory days of college and throw back the clock a bit with Marcus Fenix and friends. There was just one problem: things weren’t functionally working.
There’s a certain irony in wanting a Gears of War collection because the system link wasn’t fully operational; modern games come with the unfortunate circumstance of never working when they release. Yet there’s still that kid inside me who’s approaching hype level maximum. There are shooters, and then there are shooters where you curb stomp your enemies to eliminate them. I want to go back to that shooter.
Provided we get a working experience, of course.
Oh God, what if we don't get a working experience? What if the Gears of War collection is as big of a mess as the Master Chief Collection? I mean think about it; we can simply boot up our Xbox 360 consoles and play the Gears of War trilogy. We don't need a collection. To be quite frank, I'm damn tired of collections. I want my new consoles to bring new experiences, new worlds, new franchises. I was bummed out when Black Tusk Studio went from making a new IP to the next entry in the Gears of War franchise.
Not to mention that the point of a Gears of War collection is to strum up interest for Gears of War 4. What if the collection leaves a bad taste in our mouths? The franchise has already seen rocky launches: Gears of War 2. That happened without social media being as prevelant as it is today. Could you imagine it back then? The horror, the anger.
Plus, wasn't Gears of War 3 supposed to be the end? Is this franchise turning into The Fast and the Furious? One last ride for the last time to end all times we totally promise this time?
Maybe I don't want a Gears of War collection. Maybe it's not okay. That's the gaming world we live in, sadly; new ideas and experiences are either complely shunned, relegated to the indie scene, or shoehorned into existing franchises.