Gears 5 Has Me Excited to Reconnect with Old Friends
Gears 5 is proving to be a landmark release amongst my friend group and is bringing us back together in ways I didn't expect.
One of the harshest truths of life is that over time, you begin to naturally lose contact with a lot of friends that you saw so frequently when you were younger. I’m now 25 and in my post-college life, I’ve kept in touch with a fair amount of my friends from my early school days, but the amount to which we interact now isn’t like it once was. Especially when it comes to gaming, long gone are the times of system-linking Xbox 360 consoles with my pals to play Halo 3 multiplayer or trying to get to Wave 50 of Gears of Wars 2’s Horde mode all in one run.
Nowadays, I don’t play multiplayer games as much as I used to and I think part of the reason for that is just because my friends aren’t around as often as they used to be. We’ve all got different schedules now and getting together to play games isn’t as simple as it was back in the day when we’d just say, “Hey, want to play Halo after school?” Even though I still enjoy multiplayer titles (God knows I play League of Legends more than anything else), it’s just not the same without playing with those consistent groups of friends.
With Gears 5 finally releasing next week, it’s providing an opportunity for my friends and I to reconnect via gaming in one of the first major ways in quite some time. My old friend group and I used to play a ton of Gears of War back in the day, especially the second game in the series. I’d waste hours upon hours in competitive multiplayer, Horde, and even going through the campaign a couple of different times on Insane difficulty. Since Gears 5’s release date was announced, my old friend group and I have started touching base about getting back together and making sure that we make time to play this one together.
What’s been kind of ironic about all of this is that we didn’t really try to get the gang back together like this when Gears of War 4 came out a few years back. I think part of this was because it happened earlier in this console generation. Not all of my friends back then had Xbox One consoles to play on at the time. Compared to my time in high school where legitimately everyone I knew had an Xbox 360, we were more fragmented around 2016 when the last Gears game came out.
A bit after launch, Microsoft and The Coalition ended up adding cross-play functionality to Gears of War 4 that would allow PC and Xbox One users to play against one another in multiplayer. Sadly, that ship had already sailed for myself and my friends by the time it was added. We had all already moved on to other games or just simply didn’t make an effort to play Gears of War 4 at any point even though it was then available. Now, with Gears 5, crossplay will seemingly be supported across all game modes out of the gate, meaning we’ve made more of an effort to actually group up this time.
This ability to play with one another in this manner is also a large reason of why I continue to love Xbox’s ecosystem. Even though some have criticized Microsoft for completely ending the notion of exclusives by putting all of their games on both Xbox One and PC, I adore it because it means that I can play with a wider group of friends. My current roommate, for instance, is primarily a PC gamer but has jumped aboard this Gears 5 excitement train with me because he knows that we both can play with one another on our preferred platforms once the game launches.
The more time passes, the more I have come to appreciate crossplay in these last few years of this console cycle because of reasons just like this. Crossplay is really one of the most vital things that I think more companies (looking at you, Sony) need to be open to in the future. Picking sides in a console war is no longer intriguing to me like it may have been when I was younger. More than anything, I just want to play with my friends when I can with certain games, no matter where they might be.
The lead-up to Gears 5 has actually helped me remember why I liked these games so much in the first place. The palpable excitement that I have to get my hands on Gears 5 is less about the game directly, although I do think it looks pretty great, and has more been because I’m looking forward to playing with some close friends.
I don’t know if Gears 5 is going to turn out to be great or a disappointment, but I am at the very least glad to know I’ll have some close companions to play it with. That alone should make the experience much more enjoyable in my book. While there might be other games I’m anticipating a bit more this fall season, Gears 5 is going to allow me to reconnect a bit with those I haven’t played games with much in recent years, and for that, I’m endlessly appreciative and stoked for its release.
Gears 5 is set to launch initially next week on September 6 for Xbox One and PC, assuming you pick up the game’s Ultimate Edition. Those with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will be able to get this version of the game with their subscription as well. If you’re just looking to play the standard version though, it’ll launch the following week on September 10.