Earlier this month Gears of War developer The Coalition released the latest installment in its acclaimed franchise. Gears 5 is actually the sixth in the series and the first to drop the “of War” postfix, but none of this has hurt its popularity. According to numbers provided by Microsoft, the game attracted 3 million players to its opening weekend. This makes it one of the publisher’s most successful launches this generation.
With the title off to a flying start, details of its 2019-2020 esports circuit have now emerged. These are unlikely to quell the excitement around the game, as with them come over $2 million in prize money and more opportunities to compete than ever before.
Gears 5’s competitive year runs from September 2019 through July 2020, dividing the year into four seasonally named quarters. Each is capped off by an offline event. The Coalition has partnered with PGL to organize these tournaments.
There are several ways to earn the right to compete there. The highest tier of them is the new Gears 5 Pro League. Here the top sixteen qualifying teams will face off for a cash prize pool and seeding into the LAN finals. Amateur teams have a shot as well, however. Through weekly online tournaments and an ELO-based ladder, two competitors from each region will also receive an invitation to attend the offline event.
After each major, the bottom-placing Pro League teams will have to battle contenders from the amateur leagues to keep their spot. Then the ladders are reset and the next phase begins, opening the door for new challengers to rise to the top.
In its first year, the Gears 5 Pro League will be open for competition from North America, Latin America and Europe. Qualification begins September 22nd and will run for four weeks.
Amateur competition will have two additional regions, namely Asia-Pacific and South America. Online play in these starts at the same date.
The dates for two of the offline events have also been announced. The first of these will be the Fall Major, held in San Diego in early December. Following this, the Winter Major will take place in Mexico City in March 2020. Details for the other two and the World Championship at the end of the year have yet to be announced.
Strong esports history
Gears of War is considered the granddaddy of cover-shooters. It plays very differently from its competition and has the fan-base to go with it. Matches take place in a mode called Escalation. Here, teams win by holding an objective to accrue points, or by eliminating the opposing team.
For an idea of how this game differs from its competition, ELEAGUE organized a $200,000 Gears 5 showcase tournament back in July. The videos for this can be found here.
The game’s predecessor, Gears of War 4, has paid out more than $3 million over its two competitive seasons. By far the most dominant team in that title—the former OpTic Gaming squad—was recently picked up by NRG to play in Gears 5.
All in all, it looks like fans of the game are in for an explosive year.
Written by Xander Teunissen