Gears 5 has had something of a problem with multiplayer maps. The number of maps at launch paled in comparison to previous titles with Gears 5 having only seven maps available in multiplayer in Horde, much less than the ten maps given in both Gears of War 3 and 4. However, in the Brothers in Arms update, the Gears 5 classic maps have returned.
Despite the return of a handful of Gears 5 classic maps, the games post-launch content has also been fairly minimal. Whereas Gears of War 4 offered two new maps every month for a year, after the games initial launch, players have had less than half of that in the nine months post the game’s release.
The Coalition, developers of the past two installments of the Gears franchise, have said its been working on fixing this problem for some time now and have promised multiple new maps in the pipeline over the coming months. A new multiplayer map takes approximately six months to design, build, playtest, and properly balance, according to developers, which is likely why we are seeing the return of classic maps in Gears 5.
Further, it was expected that most of these upcoming maps wouldn’t be available until the Operation 5 update, which is due out in several months’ time. However, Operation 4: Brothers in Arms, the latest update to Gears 5, provides three new maps, two of which will be very familiar territory for long term fans.
First up is Blood Drive, which is set in an abandoned hospital. This map has become a mainstay for the franchise and was first featured in Gears of War 2 back in 2008. Blood Drive is in all but the very first installment of the series, having made its way into every game since. The map features raised levels on both team’s spawn and is filled with an array of side corridors and traversable cover making it perfect for long and short-range combat.
Next up is Checkout, a map with almost as iconic a legacy as Blood Drive. First appearing in Gears of War 3, this claustrophobically small map has made appearances in Gears of War: Judgement and Gears of War 4. Set in a ruined supermarket, this take on Checkout is by far the most colorful but seems functionally the same as its previous incarnations.
Finally, we have Overload, a brand-new map set inside a Swarm Hive. Overlord is a small map, taking around 12 seconds to sprint from one team spawn to the other, but hopefully it will prove to be as good a map as the other two veterans featured in the Brothers in Arms update.