Gears 5 is the official title of the next installment in Gears of War, as opposed to Gears of War 5, and was revealed during the Microsoft E3 2018 press brief today. The new trailer’s tone is as grim as you’d expect, with the entire squad from Gears of War 4 returning, alongside the original Dad of War, Marcus Fenix.
Players appear to play as Corporal Kait Diaz, one of the supporting squad mates to Gears of War 4 lead JD Fenix who seems to be on a mission of her own. Fellow squad mate Del Walker appears to be accompanying her on a search for answers about a mysterious necklace in her possession and nightmares that have been haunting her as of late.
Gears 5 appears to aim for greater emotional depth to the series, while prioritizing intense action and thrilling set pieces. But of greater note are the diversity of locations on display in the cinematic trailer. Past games have seen some different locations, but there’s a greater focus on variety here such as in an ice-covered lake and a jungle environment.
The trailer also shows off the usual hallmarks of Gears gameplay, including slithering nasties, explosive monsters guts and some odd new melee weapons. Microsoft studio The Coalition made no announcements about other game modes or what we can expect from co-op, but we can expect Gears 5 to be available on the Xbox Store in 2019.
But that wasn’t the only Gears announcement at the press brief. Gears of War Pop is a Funko-inspired game for mobile device that takes the explosive action of Gears into an all new comedic direction in 2019. Then there’s Gears of War: Tactics, a Windows PC exclusive foray into turn-based strategy for the Gears franchise, one I’m definitely excited about as a lover of games like XCOM and Invisible, Inc.
Microsoft Vice President and The Coalition boss Rod Fergusson told The Verge that once development on Gears 5 started, they began to ask, “What sorts of other things can we do?” Halo served as a touchstone for expanding a franchise with big potential – spinning the brand off into different genres and platforms. Gears has always enjoyed blockbuster success, but it’s never been used like this before.
“As a creator, you create this world and you want as many people to get access to it as possible,” Fergusson said. Such additions to Gears represent a broader shift for Microsoft, a company that has been criticized for its shortage of first-party games. The strategy of expanding the Gears brand complements their acquisition of studios today.
And regardless of whether either Gears title achieves the gangbusters success of spin-offs from other companies like Bethesda’s Fallout Shelter or CD Projekt Red’s Gwent, they’re certain to raise the franchise’s profile and make Gears of War great again.