By Joseph Leray
Microsoft has promised “vigorous action” against users pirating Epic Games’ and People Can Fly’s upcoming “Gears of War: Judgment,” after copies of the game started appearing on torrent sites -- the most popular of which has over 1600 leechers now. The problem is that “Judgment” isn’t due for release for another month.
According to a Microsoft rep speaking to Eurogamer, the company is aware of the illegal torrents and is investigating the source of the leak with their security teams and law enforcement. Microsoft is hoping to “address the situation immediately,” which means, if previous leaks are any indication, console bans for anyone caught playing “Judgment” early.
As the phrase suggests, a “console ban” prohibits a console from accessing Xbox Live and is a harsher punishment than a suspended account or Gamertag.
Meanwhile, Epic Games has released a new “Judgment” multiplayer developer diary (narrated, as always, by Lt. Baird) detailing some of the game’s new weapons, multiplayer modes, and maps. It’s not clear if Epic is releasing the video in response to piracy of the game, but the implication is clear: players with banned consoles won’t have access to “Judgment”’s online multiplayer modes.
New modes include Overrun, a character-based mode featuring the members of Kilo Squad squaring off against a Locust squad to protect a generator, and Free-for-All which is self-explanatory: every COG for him- or herself.
Free-for-All seems to run counter to the series’ trademark “revive” mechanic -- that is, the ability to revive fallen teammates -- and its fusion of squad-based tactics and free-flowing, exaggerated gunplay. By that same reasoning, though, I’m really interested in “Judgment”’s stim grenades that can heal or revive downed teammates.
Speaking of grenades: players can now quick-throw them without the long windup or the clunky aiming interface. With new map design focusing on more vertical encounters, it’s hard to tell whether the sticky grenade or the new assault-sniper rifle hybrid will replace the Gnasher shotgun as the next overpowered weapon to break a “Gears of War” multiplayer session.