UK-based studio Splash Damage are giving The Coalition a hand in developing Gears Of War 4‘s multiplayer, marking the second time the two studios have collaborated on a Gears title.
Splash Damage worked extensively on the multiplayer side of things for last year’s Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition and, according to Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson, is one of the primary reasons why they decided to bring them in again to help out on this year’s sequel to Gears Of War 3.
Speaking to Game Informer, Fergusson said:
They’re helping with a lot of the level design stuff. Especially with meshing of multiplayer maps, we’re tapping into the expertise they got from Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. They also have a lot of expertise with online systems, in terms of matchmaking from Ultimate Edition. They basically had to rewrite for Xbox One, between us and them, the whole matchmaking sub-system… when you get a strategic partner like Splash Damage, we talk about training up our own team on Gears, but when you have another team that’s trained up on Gears, we definitely want to work with them as much as possible.
Unlike previous games in the series, Fergusson says there’s a much greater emphasis on multiplayer this time around, especially on eSports, which has rocketed in popularity due in part to streaming services like Twitch.
Historically, the campaign is the hardest thing to make out of any of these games. So if you look at the development of Gears one, it was probably 90 percent single player, 10 percent multiplayer. Over the course of the franchise, that percentage shifted, but I don’t think it ever got above 70/30. Coming here, multiplayer has a much greater position at the table. On day one, as we were prototyping our first campaign experience, we were also building multiplayer maps. We really want to meet the needs of not just recreational players but eSports players, and it’s something we’ve been thinking about for the entire development cycle.
The Gears Of War series isn’t the first that Splash Damage have worked on, though. The studio are responsible for creating online-only shooter Brink, so theyundoubtedly know exactly what they’re doing.
Gears of War 4 is due to release later this year for Xbox One and PC, although The Coalition just recently announced a multiplayer beta due to start in April. For more information on dates and content that’ll be available in the early access period, head through here.