In a stunning surprise during its E3 presentation, Microsoft announced Gears of War 5, which it's simply calling "Gears 5," and fans of the franchise are going crazy.
Marcus Fenix, the main protagonist of the series, makes an appearance in the game's first-ever trailer, which follows the events of Gears of War 4. From the looks of things, the new game is going to dig deeper in terms of melee combat.
Aside from that, however, the new environments, from snow-soaked mountains to a sun-streaked jungle, present a breath of fresh air to the Gears of War franchise's usual drab and dull industrial locales. The graphical fidelity deserves mention, in particular: the ambience, lighting, shadow, and the facial animations are gorgeously designed. It should make any Gears of War fan overflow with excitement.
Beyond the visuals, a lot more seems to be going in Gears 5, despite only brief glimpses the trailer provides. The game seemingly brings new gameplay elements that focus on, as mentioned, melee combat by virtue of massive-looking Locust maces, biomechanical turrets, and a bevy of new Locust types.
The story is nothing short of promising, too. Gears of War 4's time-jumping reboot infuses the new game with a seemingly more youthful and emotional atmosphere that fans only got a slight taste of in the last main entry. Gears 5 could feature a more personal story led by Kait Diaz, an Outsider in the post-Locust War who's going through some significant trauma.
For now it's hard determine what the game's scope will be, but based solely on the environments featured in the trailer, the game could end up spanning different continents, which if true would pave the way for a much broader, fleshed out entry compared with previous ones in the franchise.
Microsoft And The New 'Gears' Brand
Microsoft acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games in 2014 and formed a new studio, The Coalition, to herald the brand, with series co-creator Rod Fergusson tapped to helm the whole project.
At E3, not only did Microsoft announce a new Gears of War game, but it also made clear what its plans are for the franchise moving forward. It wants to turn the series into something more significant than mere shooter titles.
"Previously, if you were to say, 'OK what are the franchise tenets of Gears of War?,' brutal probably would've been one of the words that you use. But that doesn't really apply to the mobile game. So we started thinking of it as visceral. You start to distill it down to its truest essence," Fergusson tells The Verge, adding that the core of the franchise is comprised of cover, co-op, characters — preciously why there are three new games in the newly branded Gears franchise: turn-based Gears Tactics, cutesy Gears Pop, and of course, Gears 5.
Gears 5 for Xbox One is out 2019. A PC port is undetermined but highly likely. Watch the announcement trailer below: