Gears 5 isn’t arriving until September, but eager fans will be able to get their hands on Microsoft’s latest shooter with a Versus Multiplayer Technical Test, taking place in July.
Weekend test sessions will be held to let players play Arcade, Escalation, and King of the Hill multiplayer modes. Arcade is a “new and approachable” multiplayer mode, Escalation is a more competitive option and King of the Hill is a long-term fan favourite.
There are two tests planned, with the first taking place from July 19 until July 21, while the second is available from July 26 through July 29. They’ll be open to anyone that has pre-ordered Gears 5 from a participating retailer or digitally, or players with an Xbox Game Pass membership. You’ll be able to download the technical test client at any point from July 17 until July 29 on your Xbox One or Windows 10 PC, but the servers will only actually be live during the specified weekends.
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In addition, the technical test will include a training mode — Bootcamp — which should help curious newcomers learn the ropes, although the multiplayer test weekend is likely to be a fairly bruising experience for new players. There’s also a short “Tour of Duty”, a series of challenges that can allow players to earn content for the game: completing all of the challenges will give tech test players an exclusive Tech Test Banner, but also three weapon skins for use in the Versus game mode.
Gears of War on PC is a bit of a treat, too. The franchise has something distinct to it compared to several other multiplayer shooters, so I’ll likely dip in myself, despite the fact I’ll likely get completely battered.
Microsoft has provided more information in a blog post, which also points out that you might experience some issues with the technical test because it is, well, it’s a test.