The Gears of War video game franchise has always been better known for its gritty visuals, over-the-top carnage and genre-redefining “cover-shooter” gameplay than its storyline; which features a conflict for control of the planet Sera between human settlers and a race of grotesque subturranean creatures call The Locust. But the series did build up enough of a story to “wrap up” with the third installment before the franchise was re-launched by new creators with a new second-generation storyline for the current generation of X-Box consoles.
Now, original creator Cliff Bleszinski has revealed to Destructoid that the series was at one point meant to conclude on a very different note:
“I can’t remember the specifics, I think the Locust winded up burrowing back underground, and Sera exploded. The core of Sera, over many many years, wound up solidifying. And then all of a sudden you see a spaceman boot land on it, and you hear ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ It turns out their moon was Earth, it was always like the Moon and the Earth in the past, and our Moon is the remnants of Sera. And the Locusts in Gears 4 would’ve been on Earth. It was kind of a really far out there idea, but Rod thought it was too extreme. So I respected his opinion.”
While “it was Earth all along” is a venerable science-fiction twist tradition sometimes used to great effect, it’s difficult to see what this would have added to or changed about the overall impact of the series; which has been celebrated for its unique setting but also critiqued in the past for implications of colonialism and militarism in its setup. Rather than building on the proposed twist, the first post-Bleszinski sequel in the franchise followed the children of the original main characters taking up a new resurgent conflict.
Bleszinski, who has now left the series and is focusing on his new property Lawbreakers, went on to acknowledge that endings are extremely difficult in general when it comes to fiction:
“Ending anything is always really hard. Like, go back to the ending to The Sopranos and that smash cut. I was getting tired of Gears. Wanting to blow up the entire planet was probably my frustration of having worked on that for ten years with all the crunch hours and stuff like that. It was probably too much.”