Ever since 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the formerly anaemic squad tactics genre has exploded, and most of its new entrants have wilted beneath XCOM’s shadow to some degree.
One that may not, based on my first impression, is Gears Tactics. The PC-friendly spin-off from what was once one of the Xbox’s leading console exclusives is out in a month, and making a number of carefully judged, if incremental, changes to the XCOM formula while staying true to Gears’ spirit.
I spoke with Tyler Bielman and Alex Grimbley, publishing design director and executive producer respectively at The Coalition, about why that’s not such a difficult balancing act as it first sounds. Their answers indicate why translating a heart-thumping console cover shooter to the more considered turn-based tactics genre makes a great deal of sense, why it’ll still feel like Gears anyway, and why Gears Tactics has what it takes to stand tall not just among an increasingly crowded genre, but in comparison with the modern classic that revived it eight years ago.