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Gears of War 4 to include microtransactions

Developer stresses that purchasing cosmetic items will be entirely optional.

Developer The Coalition has confirmed upcoming Xbox One shooter Gears of War 4 will include purchasable cosmetics items. Players will be able to purchase crates filled with cards that have different levels of rarity, and offer cosmetic changes in-game.

The details were revealed in an interview with GameSpot, during which studio head Rod Fergusson said none of the items will affect gameplay and why cards in particular were chosen.

"I feel like that paradigm of cards is really clear to understand for collectibles, like the ability to collect things. We had weapon skins and character skins, so that idea of collecting cards is just easily understood. It felt like it added some engagement in terms of its not the, 'Oh, I like Tiger Stripe. I bought Tiger Stripe. I'm done. I don't need to engage with that system anymore. There's no need for me to hang around.'"

"I like the idea of why you buy Magic: The Gathering booster packs," he added. "If I could just buy the one card I want then I'm out, then you lose it, right?"

Gears of War 4 is not the first game in the series to include the option of in-game purchases. Gears of War 3 had purchasable weapon skins, as did last year's Ultimate Edition.

Fergusson drew comparisons in the appeal of the collectible card mechanic to Blizzard's own collectible card game, Hearthstone. He also reiterated that such purchases were up to the player, and that the same packs could be earned by playing through the game.

"That's I think what we owe the player, is that feeling you get, much like ... I think Hearthstone is brilliant at, that idea of the glow, and the voice, and the excitement about like, 'I want to open packs, and I want to be a part of that engagement. I can't wait to complete today's quest so I can go to the paramedic with pack of cards.' I think that feeds into that engagement.

"I think that's the same thing we're trying to do here. The notion that everything is earnable just through play means the only reason you would ever use real money is when you want to accelerate it. We're going to be balanced where you're going to be constantly getting crates, or enough credits to get crates through the game, so it really is just about your choice," Fergusson said.

Gears of War 4 launches on Xbox One in October, but you won't have to wait that long to give the game a whirl as the multiplayer beta kicks off on April 18. If you're interested in getting into the beta, check out our article for details on how to sign up.

Microsoft recently teased another short video showcasing new combat from the game. The video followed a few other teasers that featured other executions, including one that depicted a move known as "Unicorn-ing," which is when you stab an enemy in the forehead with a knife.