Maybe the most off-kilter announcement from Microsoft at this year's E3 was Gears Pop! -- a mobile game that's Gears of War by way of Funko Pop. This series that has long been about large muscly men being as masculine as possible suddenly has an entry where they all have silly inflated cartoon heads.
Gears of War developer The Coalition has now shown off the first look at gameplay, and we have a much better idea of what this actually aims to be. It's a competitive multiplayer game where each side tries to advance on the other with the ultimate goal of taking their fort. The video jumps into gameplay around the three-minute mark.
All the familiar faces are there (Marcus, JD, Kait, and more in this demo) and they all play certain roles. For instance, Marcus is extraordinarily speedy which allows him to get to cover quickly. Kait ignores all immediate threats and beelines to the fort's turrets; it's kind of a kamikaze mentality but it chips away at the opponent's defenses while providing ample distraction for your other troops to get some offense in. Matches only last three minutes, so it seems crucial to make use of the little time you have.
The fan service doesn't stop at the characters. There are ultimate abilities like unleashing a Hammer of Dawn attack to obliterate whatever poor sucker's sitting underneath it. Also, in a weird concession, COGs fight alongside the Locusts. It's seemingly necessary because both sides need a weak horde rush attack.
There might be a decent little mobile strategy game hiding here, as long as it isn't inundated with pay-to-win systems. Gears Pop! soft-launches in a few regions soon. It'll get its global launch on both Android and iOS devices sometime in 2019.