Gears 5 exclusive skins will give completionists a headache

Microsoft has dropped Gears 5 for Xbox One and PC, the latest and greatest of its gritty in-house shooter. Delivering a gripping single-player campaign and wealth of multiplayer experiences, it's a high-value package brimming with content. And with regular updates expected for the months ahead, Gears 5 puts cosmetics central to player progress and expression.

With an elevated role for vanity items in Gears 5, it's hard to miss the high volume of cosmetic content locked to external purchases and promotions. Microsoft has cooked up an overwhelming lineup of deals around the game's launch, making the full collection near impossible to obtain — unless you're a U.S. citizen with a ton of time and money to spare.

Every facet of Gears 5 promotions features unique cosmetics and tracking them proves challenging. We've been rounding up all skins available under the latest installment for guides, and even with hours of research, assembling a cohesive roundup is a headache.

Start with the Gears 5 Collector's Edition exclusive to GameStop, compiling Ultimate Edition Halo: Reach and Terminator Dark Fate packs, alongside a unique Jack paint job. You'll need to have preordered the game from Microsoft, Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart to cover those exclusive Lancer designs too. Microsoft's icy Gears 5-themed Xbox One X packs a Kait variant also available with the Gears 5 Xbox One controller and an additional console-only Jack skin. Don't forget exclusive two cosmetics spanning the Gears 5 Razer peripherals and three with the Seagate Xbox Game Drive — but 2TB won't cut it with just one, you need the 5TB drive for the three-piece set.

Pick up some treats with four packs of Gears 5-marked Chips Ahoy cookies and five Rockstar Energy drink cans, but visit Circle K and Walmart for two exclusive drops. Avoid that $210 AAPE by *A Bathing Ape collaboration hoodie via $20 AAPE Pack in-game. But you don't get an AAPE red banner, so pick the collection's cheapest $55 hat instead. Oh, and throw in two action figures and a life-size Gears 5 Lancer replica too. Hanging in there?

The result is a total of $1,775 when purchasing the cheapest items to complete the set. That's a hefty investment for any digital product, let alone cosmetics with no gameplay consequences. We're not even touching on microtransactions, where most games catch flak for controversial business practices.

In reality, high-priced skins have little harm on the Gears 5 community, and there's no obligation to collect them all. But looking at the broader landscape, Microsoft has cooked up deals to the point of confusion, with overlapping bonuses and overwhelming retailer exclusivity. Even with substantial research, I'm still not 100 percent confident I've caught every skin among the noise. Just don't set out to collect the full Gears 5 skin set – even with the cheapest routes, you're in for a serious shopping spree.

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

11 Comments
  • My brain hurts now.
  • 0.0... I think my wallet just checked into rehab.
  • What a weird article. It doesn't cost $1700 for skins, it costs $1700 for physical items which happen to include skins as a bonus.
  • Yeah this is a bit of a stretch WC. The skins are just bonus items for people that purchased said physical item. A thankyou. They are supposed to be limited offers with those goodies. All the normal skins within the game are all earn able without micros at all. Who knows down the line MS may make them available. But it's no different than any other free limited edition gift.
  • With Gears 5, MS confirmed how much they love microtransactions. After the whole Star Wars battlefront 2 controversy, it look like they decided to slow down with it. SoD2, SOT or Crackdown 3 seem to be steps in the right direction.
    But they couldn't continue. Their love for microtransactions is obvious.
    And ofc this "exclusive" content madness. This is the game that gave exclusive content for crap like Chips Ahoy &
    Rockstar Energy. I really didn't know it was that widespread. This is crazy and absolute bs. We as consumers should really fight this madness for exclusive limited content.
  • Why do you care about exclusive limited content? It's a skin, it literally means nothing unless you are so desperate to be special that you simply must own every single scrap of digital clothing for the game. In which case, I guess I can't really help you. I, on the other hand, am nowhere near that bullishly dedicated to ANY game to warrant worrying about not being able to have a skin I'll never use because it only comes with a console purchase I don't need.
  • That's because it affects everyone. This is not a trend that helps gaming and gamers in ANYWAY. We've seen exclusive content for different retailers. So if someone wants the complete experience he needs to buy the same game at two different retailers. Same with trying to sell exclusive content with junk food. It makes people change their consumption habits. It makes people buy stuff that they wouldn't necessarily buy. This is about fighting a possible new trend. This is about trying to change the "exclusive content" (that sometimes will turn out to be available separately later on). This is about trying to fight all these practices that is anti-gaming. Whether it's "get the game late if you don't pay", whether it's "content available for a limited time", whether it's pay for more content even though you bought the game full price, this is about lootbox,... All these things. It's not just about saying "Oh, I'll keep quiet because I don't care about the skin that's being sold with cookies."
    It's about fighting against these mentality that major AAA publishers has when it comes to trying to push devs into making these things for gamers. It's about games not being "services" but games. It's about buying a game and enjoying it knowing that you should not pay more money to unlock content of the game. Or that devs aren't changing game mechanism to try to frustrate players into paying.
    I want devs to focus on making an enjoyable game, not on microtransactions and "exclusive content"...
  • Firstly there is literally nothing new about this, retailer exclusive content is over a decade old. And secondly this isn't a case of full content, this is extra content. Not a part of the actual game experience. You word it like you can't finish the game if you don't own every skin, which is ludicrous. Also your final comment implies that enjoyment and microtransactions are mutually exclusive, an enjoyable game can have microtransactions in it, many do.
  • Even if it exists for decades it doesn't mean tat I should stop criticising it. And even if it does exist, I've never seen it used and abused so much for any other game. They are just going crazy with it.
    It's still content that was made by devs for the game but you can't get unless you spend more money elsewhere. If there is a skin that I want, but for that I have to buy cookies to get it is just something that's crazy for me.
    MS wins with these sponsors deal, The cookie company wins because people buy their junk. Customers aren't winning here because most are going to change their spending habits. Enjoyment is subjective. Some may love grinding for hours some won't. I'm talking about devs focusing on trying to get more money out of gamers vs devs just focusing on making a quality game in order to please gamers.
  • So free incentives of limited edition stuff as a gift to people who buy physical or retail items is a bad thing? Microtransactions these things aren't.
  • Guys, read behind the lines. This is not a complain or clickbait article. It's an article using inverse psychology for selling those items with exclusive cosmetics.