The Gears of War franchise has always set its characters up against seemingly impossible odds, and it looks like things will be just as hopeless for the survivors of planet Sera in the upcoming Gears 5. Like past games in the series, Gears 5’s heroes find themselves in a fight for survival after the invasion of the Locust Horde and the mysterious appearance of the Swarm, but this game finds them in the first days of a brand new war.
Gears 5 is making some big changes to the long-running franchise. The most obvious is the title - which is officially Gears now, rather than Gears of War - but there will be plenty of more substantial developments, too. While the protagonists of previous Gears of War games will be present in Gears 5, they won’t be the main characters. This time, newcomer Kait Diaz takes the spotlight, backed by Delmont Walker, though Marcus and JD Fenix also appear in the game. A new three-player co-op mode will let Kait, Delmont, and robotic assistant JACK tackle the game’s challenges together, in place of the series’ previous two- and four-player modes.
Despite the shake-ups in the new game, Gears 5 still finds its characters stuck in the cycle of war. In fact, it may put them in the bleakest scenario of any game in the series. The game’s main character is on a mission to learn more about the Locust that could end up revealing some unwelcome truths about her relationship to them, all amid the opening days of a new war. When asked if there was any end to the fighting in sight for Planet Sera, Gears 5 campaign design director Matt Searcy said it wouldn't be in this game:
“The last game was essentially E-Day for this new war. E-Day being Emergence Day, the day that the Locusts came out of the ground. In Gears 1, they start out well after that.
The big difference between this and the original Gears trilogy is we start started Gears 4 on our equivalent of E-Day. You were there; you were at ground zero when they see the first Swarm waking up and all that stuff. So, it takes a little bit longer to spin it out. Instead of Gears of War, which dropped you in the twilight of a decades old war that looked hopeless, you're seeing the first battles of this massive new war.”
Fortunately, Gears 5 will give players plenty of ways to fight back against the overwhelming odds. Searcy told Screen Rant that “our mission with Gears 4 was to prove to people that we could make a really good Gears game,” that being the first game in the series developed by his studio, The Coalition. The studio had “bigger ambitions” for Gears 5, though, including more ways to approach fights strategically and a bigger world to explore. The robot JACK will grant players abilities like camouflage, flash grenades, and damage reduction to suit their playstyle. According to Searcy, Gears 5 will blend the more linear, cinematic style of the previous games with player-driven exploration.
Gears of War has always maintained a difficult balance between its grim story and its fun, over-the-top action, and Gears 5 looks prepared to carry on that tradition. The Coalition has already proved that it can make a good Gears game, and now it seems ready to branch out and put its own stamp on the series. Whether players are more drawn to following Kait’s personal journey, exploring Sera with more freedom than ever before, or just blasting away at enemies with friends, Gears 5 looks like it has plenty to offer.