There is no doubt in my mind that Xbox had an absolutely great E3 conference. They addressed a lot of issues that their core audience had spoken up about and are building for the future While there were a bunch of good things that came from this conference, without a doubt there were still a few oddities. One of the biggest “what, why?” moments came during the announcement of three upcoming Gears titles.
Gears Pop was the first game announced, a mobile game based around the Funko Pop collectibles, and looks like it might be a fun little mobile title. Then came what a lot of Gears fans had been waiting for, a spinoff game from the main Gears of War franchise. Gears Tactics is a turn-based strategy game set 12 years before the main events of 2006’s Gears of War. Finally came the much-anticipated Gears 5, which will build off what the Coalition built with Gears of War 4.
I want to go back to the announcement for Gears Tactics. It sounds like an interesting change of pace for the franchise and a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, one minor detail will sour this announcement for many of the Gears of War fan-base. At this time, it will not be coming to Xbox One. As it stands right now, Gears Tactics is a Windows 10 exclusive.
Is This Really That Big of a Deal?
There is a couple of reasons that this is a bigger issue than just a game not being available on Xbox. Gears of War has been a flagship franchise since the Xbox 360 and has been a huge part of the console’s image, right alongside Halo. A huge part of the Xbox userbase has a love for this franchise and they may not necessarily all have PC’s that can run this title. Another angle to look at is, can Xbox really afford to not have this game come to console? Xbox has been criticized for well over a year about the lackluster first-party support of the Xbox console and this only fuels this criticism. While the future is looking better on the first-party side of things with five studio acquisitions to help build for the future, these deals potentially could take a few years to pay off.
Gears Tactics would be a good step to filling out the Xbox lineup whether it lands in 2019 or gets pushed into 2020. Showing flexibility with already established IPs would be good for Xbox and having this game not appear on the console is a missed opportunity. It feels like mixed messaging, with all first-party games since the launch of the Play Anywhere program have gone to Windows 10. Now PC is getting exclusives that Xbox owners who invested in the console cannot play. Xbox owners feeling second rate to PC users is not something Xbox as a company should want for their consumers.
Why Wouldn’t They Make It Available on Xbox?
Could there be a method to Xbox’s madness of not having this game on Xbox? Is it a lack of faith in the game finding an audience on the console? It is no secret that Halo Wars 2, which was a fantastic RTS game in 2017, underperformed in sales. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that there might be a high risk of such a game flopping. This is especially apparent as well if the Gears community does not get behind the direction of this spinoff. However, with the success that XCOM 2 has found in the console space, it would not be hard to market Gears Tactics to this very audience. With a lack of variety in the turn-based games being released in the console space, it would be a huge opportunity. I truly believe that if The Coalition put together a polished experience, with enough fanservice to draw in the Gears community and great gameplay to draw in strategy fans, this game could be a sleeper hit.
Could It Be Coming to Xbox at a Later Date?
This is also a possibility. XCOM 2 released on PC back in February 2016 with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions coming in September later that year. Could this possibly be what happens with Gears Tactics? We can hope, but as it stands right now there are not even rumors of it coming to the Xbox family of consoles.
If you are an Xbox owner and you were excited for this announcement let your voice be heard, let The Coalition and Xbox know. Whether it be through social media, forums, or even if you are a content creator and plan to make videos. Just remember the most important thing: Conduct yourself in a meaningful fashion and be respectfulof the hard working developers behind these games. While I will personally be able to play Gears Tactics on my PC, I very much hope my many friends who love the Gears franchise on Xbox (where it was made) will be able to play this spinoff of their favorite franchise.