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Gears 5 – Operation 2: Free For All Update

The next multiplayer Operation for Gears 5 is currently planned for December 11, 2019 (pending certification). This update features fourteen-player Free For All, Arcade Blitz, 2v2 Gnashers, two Heroes, two villains, seven maps and a whole lot more.

Get your first look at Operation 2: Free For All in action in the trailer above, then read on for all the details.

Free For All

Operation 2: Free For All

The next multiplayer Operation for Gears 5 is currently planned for December 11, 2019 (pending certification). This update features fourteen-player Free For All, Arcade Blitz, 2v2 Gnashers, two Heroes, two villains, seven maps and a whole lot more.

Get your first look at Operation 2: Free For All in action in the trailer above, then read on for all the details.

Free For All

Two Gears of War characters in the heat of battle surrounded by flame-like light

Free For All is back and better than ever as the biggest Versus mode in Gears history. Fourteen players will battle against each other in a holds barred fight to be the first to 30 kills.

Free For All will initially be launched as a featured playlist with the launch of Operation 2, and will convert to a Ranked mode in early January.

FFA in Gears 5 keeps it simple – core tuning (not Arcade tuning), standard loadouts and quick respawns. To dominate in FFA, you’ll need to master the fundamentals while taking advantage of any weapon pickups on each map. To support fights this big, we’ve created three brand new maps built specifically to support a great FFA experience, each with their own distinct style of gameplay.


This mining excavation frozen in time features huge slides that funnel combat into a dangerous central pit. Venture into the depths of the Pit to be rewarded with the best weapon pickups – if you can survive.


A claustrophobic battle in the heart of a machine with fights that will be defined by bridges separating the two main sections of the map.


This sprawling maze features large landmark rooms that create fierce points of contention and plenty of mayhem.

Arcade Blitz

"Arcade Blitz" on a banner across a birds-eye view of the center of the map with characters rushing from the top and bottom.

Arcade Blitz is a fast paced objective mode, where hills move quickly and points can only be captured by standing within the hill.

This is an Arcade mode, so choose a character whose passive abilities and weapon upgrade trees will help drive your team to victory. Do you take a more survivable Character and focus on capturing rings, or do you play a more defensive Character and keep your opponents away from the hill? The choice is yours.

Arcade Blitz will be available in Custom Lobbies and the Arcade Quickplay playlist alongside Arcade Deathmatch.

2v2 Gnashers

"2v2 Gnashers" on a banner in the foreground with two maps crossed diagonally in the back.

Grab a friend and warm up that Gnasher – 2v2 Gnashers is back in Gears 5!

2v2 Gnashers is all about intense duo duels where hitting shots and covering your teammate is all that matters. To serve these deadly duels, two maps will be returning for 2v2 Gnashers.


The OG showdown in the middle of War Machine. Positioning is everything to come out on top of this intense fight.

Foundation Mid

Fights in Foundation Mid leave you nowhere to hide – risk going wide in Closed or fight pillar to pillar in Open.

2v2 Gnashers will be a ranked playlist with competitive tuning. One more thing, more maps are coming in future Operations.

New Characters

"Lizzie: Horde, Escape, Arcade" written in the foreground with Lizzie and a Silverback just behind.

Operation 2 brings two new Heroes and three new Villains to the battlefield!


Lizzie Carmine

A driver for the COG and member of the iconic Carmine military family, Lizzie is a total badass that never backs down from a fight. In Horde and Escape, she can summon a Silverback with her Ultimate to wreak havoc on the battlefield.

Use her Skill Cards to customize the Silverback with different weaponry to create your own recipe for Swarm destruction and to maximize her on-foot potential to draw aggro.

PvE Details

  • Role: Tank
  • Ultimate: Summon Silverback – Summon and pilot a Silverback on the battlefield
  • Passive: Enemies that die with your mark reduce the cooldown of your Ultimate
  • Skill Cards: 16

Versus Arcade Details

  • Passive: Hot Footed – Taking damage makes you move faster for a brief time
  • Loadout: Lancer, Talon, Smoke
  • Weapon Tree: Shock Grenade (2), Gnasher (4), Dropshot (6)
  • Skull Bounty: Multi-kill Eliminations

Damon Baird

"Baird: Horde, Escape, Arcade" written in the bottom left with Baird crossing his arms in the background.

The one and only Baird is back, bringing his engineering talents and endless sarcasm to the battlefield. As the head of DB Industries, Baird can summon a heavy hitting DR-1 to help protect him as he performs his engineering duties on the battlefield.

Use his Skill Cards to buff and get bonuses from using precision weaponry or specialize in boosted fortifications like the Weapons Locker Overclock or higher damage MG Sentries.

PvE Details

  • Role: Engineer
  • Ultimate: Reinforce DR-1 – Summon a DR-1 that targets enemies
  • Passive: Build new Fortifications at a small discount and carry Fortifications faster
  • Skill Cards: 16

Versus Arcade Details

  • Passive: DB Specialist – Significantly reduced recoil on DeeBee Weapons
  • Loadout: Enforcer, Snub, Flashbang
  • Weapon Tree: Shock Grenade (2), Overkill (4), EMBAR (6)]
  • Skull Bounty: Multi-kill Eliminations


"Jermad: Arcade" and "Locust Drone: Arcade" written in the foreground with Jermad on a piece of cover and Locust Drone vaulting over.


This Locust sniper hails from the ranks of RAAM’s vicious Bloodied Vanguard where he played a key role in the defeat of Sraak.

As a capable survivor, Jermad has reduced headshot damage, making him a significant threat to Heroes using precision weaponry.

Versus Arcade Details

  • Passive: Hard Headed – Headshot Damage Reduction
  • Loadout: Retro Lancer, Snub, Flashbang
  • Weapon Tree: Ammo (3), Mulcher (6), Torque Bow (7)
  • Skull Bounty: Multi-kill Eliminations

Locust Drone

The iconic Locust Drone emerges once more into the fight! With a highly adaptable nature, the Locust Drone has recoil mastery over DeeBee weaponry (Baird mirror).

Versus Arcade Details

  • Passive: DB Specialist – Significantly reduced recoil on DeeBee Weapons
  • Loadout: Enforcer, Snub, Flashbang
  • Weapon Tree: Shock Grenade (2), Overkill (4), EMBAR (6)
  • Skull Bounty: Multi-kill Eliminations


Coming in early 2020, the iconic Kantus will be added to the ranks of the Swarm.

Scorpio Squad Joins Horde!

Beginning with Operation 2, Mac, Keegan and Lahni will be playable in Horde (all Levels and Skill Card you’ve earned in Escape will apply in Horde). In addition, each character will have perks based on their playstyle just like every other Horde character.

In response to player feedback, Fahz is receiving a significant buff as part of Operation 2 and we’ve added three new Skill Cards to Kat to increase her viability in Escape.

And finally, an old veteran becomes a new Hivebuster as Marcus makes the jump to become playable in Escape! How will you use Living Legend to best your time on old and new Hives?

New Maps

In addition to the 5 new maps for FFA and 2v2, two new Arena maps will also be added for both Public and Private Play with the launch of Operation 2!

Allfathers Arena

"New Map: Allfathers Arena" across a banner at the top with the map set behind.

Set in an old coliseum dedicated to the founding members of the COG, Allfathers Arena is now destined to once again be filled with the sound of battle!

Available in Horde and Versus, this unique arena is home to an exciting, never-before seen feature in a Gears map. The middle of the map showcases three dynamic areas – the Room, the Field and the Hall. Each area has three different cover configurations, resulting in a total of 27 possible map layouts, each a new way to fight. Be prepared to learn fast if you want to survive the Arena.

In Title Update 4, Allfathers Arena will also allow players to choose the combination of zones they want to play in Private Match.


Lift is returning Gears 5, with improved lighting and texture quality, as well as a few new changes. The best of Lift and Lift Apex have been combined to make the perfect version of the map. The most notable improvements include the popular “Top Rocks” area’s return to the battlefield and changes to the control room shutters, which now start closed and can be freely controlled by players.

Here’s a list of all the improvements coming to Lift when it arrives in Operation 2:

  • “Top Rocks” (from Lift) added to Lift Apex
  • Lift Apex shutters: Now begin closed as default (was open). Removed cooldown on opening / closing
  • Added new position to Submarine Bay side that houses a secondary pickup
  • Blocked some sightlines from Submarine Platform into spawn
  • Added more cover in and around spawn
  • Widened stairs leading to the Submarine Platform to improve player’s ability to contest the area
  • Escalation Home Rings on Submarine Bay side moved to a safer position
  • Submarine Bay side weapon pickup moved to the raised covered platform area
  • Brand new set of KOTH rings added
  • Escalation rings have been flipped (Previous A, B, and C rings now second half and vice versa)

New Escape Hives and Tiles

Operation 2 continues your Hivebusting adventures with 6 brand new Hives still to come over the duration of the Operation!

In addition to the new Hives, we’ve also introduced 27 new tiles that give you more ways to experience – and build – Escape Hives. These new tiles for the Ventilation and Mining tile families place an increased focus on vertical tiles, from winding staircases to huge cavernous slides, and new ways to control player behavior like the timed bridge.

Tour of Duty Improvements

Screengrab showing Onyx Gear and Collector Winter Marcus from Gears 5

The Tour of Duty in Operation 2: Free For All features more than 200 exclusive earnable items that can be unlocked through completing daily Objectives and season long Medals. These items include character skins, weapon skins, Iron, expressions, executions and more.

Improved Reward Structure and Content

This Tour of Duty brings more high-quality content to the Tour throughout the experience from the word go, like unlocking Collector’s Winter Marcus at Rank 1 and Onyx Guard at Rank 10.

More Ways To Play Your Way

Tour of Duty doubles the number of earnable medals groups for Versus players to 4 Medal Groups, plus an additional Medal Group tied to Versus Special Events. This provides more opportunities for Versus players to earn big hits of Stars in Versus to match the number available in PVE.

In response to community feedback, we have also excluded Character Skins from any of the mode specific Medal Group Rewards and placed them in the main Tour of Duty level rewards instead.

Better with Boost

All boosted players will earn Double Stars throughout the Operation regardless of when you play. Moving up the ranks just got a lot easier!

Broader Range of Tour Objectives

We have broadened our range of available Tour Objectives, and sunset others, to provide a more varied experience of Tour Objectives that can appear each Tour.

Stay tuned for full Operation 2 / Title Update 3 notes in next week’s What’s Up including a detailed look at Tour of Duty and the Totems Challenges for the new Characters.

Operation 2: Free For All Bundle

The Operation 2: Free For All bundle includes all four new characters, the complete Eclipse weapon set, 1000 Iron and 30 days of Boost, all for $19.99. All Heroes and Villains can be individually earned by playing or purchased via the in-game store for 500 Iron each.

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