Gears of War 4’s “biggest ever” update is out tomorrow

The Coalition has yanked the gore-clotted tarp off Gears of War 4‘s “Rise of the Horde” update, which adds a quivering heap of new stuff to the game’s co-op Horde mode, plus two new difficulty levels, new achievements, two revamped maps from previous games, and much more. And it’s totally free! NIIIIICE.

There’s a lot going on here, so let’s look at some of the most significant new features:

  • The update introduces three new skills for every class, including a cloaking ability for Scouts, regenerating grenades for the Soldier, and multi-target shot penetration for Snipers
  • Horde skills can rank up to level six
  • Bosses now drop a random class skill at the end of waves 30, 40, and 50
  • Two new difficulty levels – Inconceivable and Ironman – are available for extreme masochists who thought Insane wasn’t already hard enough
  • 20 new achievements, woo baby!
  • Gears of War 2‘s Avalanche and Gears of War 3‘s Rust Lung maps are back
  • PC and Xbox One crossplay is (optionally) enabled in Ranked playlists

From 9-15 June, a 10-hour trial version of Gears of War 4 will also be free to download and play on Xbox One and PC, with the first campaign Act and the game’s Horde and Versus modes unlocked for that time.