Xbox One owners who purchase Gears of War 4's Ultimate Edition version will be able to play the game early on Oct. 7, four days ahead of its official launch date, according to a listing for the game on Xbox.com.
The Gears of War 4 Ultimate Edition includes the game's season pass and additional playable characters for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Gears of War 4. The season pass includes two dozen maps, character skins, a VIP playlist and more. Here's the full description of the season pass' contents:
Five exclusive digital items as part of the Vintage VIP Pack, including the Vintage JD character skin, Vintage Gnasher and Dropshot weapon skins, Vintage JD Emblem and Vintage JD Bounty for extra XP; permanent DLC map ownership of over 24 additional maps (two per month for a year) for private play on dedicated servers; an exclusive VIP "Early Access" Playlist that grants a preview to upcoming modes, maps and variants; and six Gear Packs which unlock special character and weapon skins, equipment and abilities, and XP boosting bounties.
Gears of War 4's early access scheme differs from similar efforts from other publishers. Electronic Arts gives subscribers to its EA Access program the chance to play its Xbox One titles a few days early, but for a limited time. Activision gave players who pre-ordered 2014's Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare a one-day head start on the game. Publisher 2K also offered four-day early access to NBA 2K16 to players who pre-ordered the game.
Microsoft's implementation of early access, however, is limited to Xbox One owners who will pay nearly $100 to experience the next Gears. We've contacted Microsoft to see if Gears of War 4 players will have another option to receive early access to the game.