Last week during a preview event, developer The Coalition revealed that Gears of War 4 for the PC will provide local split-screen co-op. According to technical director Mike Rayner, this is difficult to support given the game must utilize multiple inputs, the placement of the user interface, and the camera’s focus on each player. Ultimately, adding split-screen support was a “labor of love” for the studio.
Of course, gamers see split-screen support on plenty of console games. However, PCs aren’t locked to a specific hardware set like consoles. Thus, PC gamers can adjust the screen resolution and aspect ratio to meet their liking if they are supported by the hardware. That is a lot of variation to factor in and then throw multiple viewpoints on top of that. As Rayner pointed out, split-screen on the PC has to be right, not tacked on like a secondary feature.
Also showcased during the event was the ability for Windows 10 gamers to play alongside Xbox One owners in the campaign’s co-op mode. Gears of War 4 cross-play will also be supported in Horde Mode, the multiplayer mode against the game’s AI bots, and the multiplayer mode for private and LAN games.
In a separate report, Rayner said that The Coalition focused on Gears of War 4 as a “first class, fully focused PC title.” The studio learned from its mistakes in releasing Gears of War Ultimate Edition and all the fixing that had to be done thereafter. The studio took a different approach in this fourth installment by setting up a team dedicated to creating the PC version from the ground up, not a port of the Xbox One version.
“I would argue that Gears 1 in 2007 was very much a ‘let’s just port it over as quickly as possible’ Games for Windows Live kind of thing, whereas here’s all these settings you can do, and the depth of configuration you can do is something that our engineering team is really embracing,” studio head Rod Fergusson said.
While having a dedicated team for the PC is great, are they focusing on a specific hardware bracket such as high-end Intel processors and beefy Nvidia graphics cards? That doesn’t seem to be the case, as Rayner said the PC team tests the game on a wide range of hardware configurations. They are even working with Nvidia and AMD so that all three can provide the optimal experience on a wide variety of PC configurations.
“Gears of War 4 looked noticeably worse when I briefly switched over to playing it on an Xbox One for part of my demo,” PC Gamer’s Tom Marks wrote. “Aliasing on corners of objects and hair was distracting and the framerate looked sluggish by comparison. The PC is shaping up to be the best version of the game, despite Gears of War 4 still being locked to Windows 10 and its UWP.”
To be fair, Marks was playing Gears of War 4 on a PC packed with an Intel Core i7-6950X processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with 8GB of video memory, and 64GB of system memory. The game was running at a hefty 3,440 x 1,440 resolution with its graphics settings maxed out along with an increased field of view. The game even ran at an average of 84 frames per second at 75Hz with these settings. The Xbox One console certainly cannot compete with that.