Graev and I picked up Gears of War 4 and are currently working our way through the campaign. It’s really, really good. I don’t want to focus on any of the gameplay itself. What I want to focus on here is more of the cross play experience.
When Microsoft announced their big push toward “play anywhere,” I was extremely pleased. For the past 10 years I have been wanting PC and Console players to merge. Some games have tried, almost all have not. Developers of hardware and software alike have cited a litany of reasons. Now, I hope that’s over.
Gears of War 4 allows for co-op campaign and Horde mode cross play. It works flawlessly.
At first we couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Graev was on his Xbox One and I was on PC, but I wasn’t getting his invites. Then I found an Xbox app on my computer and suddenly the experience was merged. His invites came in like they do when you’re on Xbox and someone invites you. From there, the entire experience was utterly seamless.
Taking things a step further, if I use the Xbox app on my computer I can essentially communicate and interact in every way I can if I was on an Xbox instead. It’s great.
Here’s the one downside: You can’t play competitive multiplayer modes where PC players would be fighting against console players. Microsoft has said this is currently “temporary,” but I won’t hold my breath. I think they’ve left it out of Gears on purpose — to have no ‘negative’ perceptions of cross play among the early impressions.
Whether or not PC is truly the master race doesn’t matter to me right now. I’m just glad that I can play games with Graev on my PC if I choose, and he can be on his Xbox if he chooses. It’s time for Sony and Nintendo to start moving in that direction.
Our thoughts on Gears 4 coming soon…