Gears of War is back with its fifth main installment, and the Gears 5 ending wraps up an exciting campaign. As expected, the stakes are extremely high in this fifth iteration of the main series, with the fate of the remaining human settlements on the line against the rampaging hordes of the Swarm.
Even though the fate of Sera is at stake, Gears 5 covers more than just the big picture. The Coalition manages to tell a deeply personal story at times, delving into the past of not just Gears of War as a whole but also that of main character Kait Diaz. All in all, this makes it an excellent entry in the series that takes plenty of risks.
That said, it's not easy to pull together personal introspection, deep conspiracy and the threat of world-ending hive minds. Thankfully, Gears 5 manages to corral those grander themes and smaller story arcs together well. Read on for an explanation of exactly how the Gears 5 ending comes together.
Big Secrets Uncovered
Some of the key reveals of Gears 5 happen much earlier in the game, and some of these play heavily into the exciting finale. In particular, those elements that relate to Kait's history - and that of her family - are extremely important to the end of the title.
Long-term Gears of War fans will no doubt remember the Locust, the antagonists of the Xbox 360 games. The exact source of this threat was never truly explained, until the shocking revelation that the Locust were in fact created by COG itself, through a series of secret experiments on children by Niles Samson. Queen Myrrah was one of these successful experiments, and is the grandmother of Kait.
This explained the link that Kait had to the Swarm, along with the deep, dark secrets that had remained uncovered for a long time. What's more, Kait's mother Reyna - whose separation from Myrrah (and supposed death) was part of the reason for the original Locust War - is not as dead as originally seemed. Although her human mind is no longer truly there, her form is being used as the queen of the Swarm.
Making a Difficult Choice
In the wake of a vicious attack by the Swarm, luckily Kait and the gang have some firepower to turn to. The Hammer of Dawn is back online and blowing literal chunks out of the opposition, albeit with a slight caveat. Kait and Delta Squad need to set down beacons to enable accurate targeting of the vicious Swarm forces.
All seems to be going well - at least as well as the events of a Gears of War game can truly be - until there's a shocking turn-up for the books. It turns out that the Swarm has a new queen, and that queen is Kait's mother, Reyna. Reyna was last seen in a Swarm hive in Gears of War 4, and killed by Kait to stop her from being assimilated. However, this clearly didn't stop the transformation, with instead Reyna now acting as a vessel for the hive.
With the Swarm's power unleashed, Reyna is able to easily take control of the situation, grabbing JD and Del and leaving Kait sprawled on the floor. Kait then has the chance to only save one of the two, with the other having their neck broken by the queen as the two remaining survivors escape from the scene.
A Dramatic Escape
Kait and the other surviving party lose their weapons and find themselves briefly stuck underground in the ruin of a building in Old Ephyra, before breaking out and once again jumping into action. Before too long they run into Fahz and Marcus Fenix, and break the bad news of whichever character got the chop in the previous scene. From there, it's time to get out of dodge with the Hammer of Dawn beacon destroyed.
Doing so is easier said than done. For starters, the gang is pursued by Swarm Flocks, with the leeches out and hungry for blood. Before too long, they get back to the core COG forces, ready to try and regroup with the help of the likes of Cole, and maintain a last ditch defense as the Swarm bears down on their position, throwing every soldier under the sun at the COG troops who fight back with well-mounted turrets.
As is often the case in Gears of War, things do get worse once again. The Swarm's Kraken, which was first encountered in Gears 5 in the red sands of Vasgar as it tried to stop the missile launch that got the Hammer of Dawn back online, turns up once more to spoil any tentative plans. From here, the final battle of Gears 5 begins.
The Final Fight
As expected, the Kraken proves to be an intimidating final foe. Initially Kait and company hold it down in the same manner as they did in the previous fracas, shooting whatever glows strongest to stop its assault. Held at bay with large rail guns, nonetheless it seems as though eventually the Kraken will overcome the last few survivors.
That's before a moment of ingenuity from robot companion Jack. Even though the Hammer of Dawn was taken offline by the Swarm's previous attack, Jack circumvents the need for targeting beacons by beaming its own coordinates to the Hammer of Dawn, and flying into the grotesque maw of the Kraken. With one more furious beam from the all-powerful weapon, the Kraken is destroyed - taking Jack with it.
From there, it's time the pick up the pieces. There's been a tragic death of a main character, the world is in ruins, and although one of the fiercest creatures in the Swarm's army has been defeated the reveal of a new queen means the Swarm remains a serious threat. Kait vows to take down the Swarm once and for all, setting up for what will no doubt be an explosive sequel.
All in all, it's a pretty strong end to what is an extremely impressive campaign. Although some fans may have been hoping for a little more closure and a less obvious tee up of the next game, nonetheless Gears 5 manages to give fans a lot of answers about the Gears of War story overall. Hopefully, Gears 6 will provide fans with a suitably powerful next chapter.