Gears 5

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Gears 5
Gears 5 cover art.png
Developer(s)The Coalition
Publisher(s)Xbox Game Studios
Director(s)Rod Fergusson
Producer(s)Christi Rae
  • Matthew Searcy
  • Ryan Cleven
Artist(s)Aryan Hanbeck
Writer(s)Tom Bissell
Composer(s)Ramin Djawadi[1]
SeriesGears of War
EngineUnreal Engine 4
ReleasePC & Xbox One
September 10, 2019[a]
Xbox Series X/S
November 10, 2020
Genre(s)Third-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Gears 5 is a third-person shooter video game developed by The Coalition and published by Xbox Game Studios for Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and Xbox Series X/S. It is the fifth installment of the Gears of War series and the sequel to Gears of War 4. The ultimate edition was released on September 6, 2019, while the standard edition of the game was released worldwide on September 10, 2019 to generally favorable reviews.


In addition to single-player gameplay, the game supports three-player local split screen or online cooperative gameplay.[3]


Gears 5 focuses on Kait Diaz (Laura Bailey), an Outsider who is descended from Myrrah, Queen of the Locust Horde. As Kait, the player must uncover the origins of the Locust and the truth behind her family history. Gears of War 4 protagonist James Dominic "JD" Fenix (Liam McIntyre), his best friend Delmont "Del" Walker (Eugene Byrd), and JD's father Marcus Fenix (John DiMaggio) also return.[4]


Following the events of the previous game, JD, Del, and Marcus are officially reinstated in the COG Army along with Kait, who is given the rank of corporal. Reformed as the new Delta Squad, they travel to the ruins of Azura at Damon Baird's request in order to launch a Hammer of Dawn satellite in an effort to restore the Hammer of Dawn network. After doing this, they return to the COG capital, New Ephyra, but Baird informs them that he still cannot locate the other satellites. First Minister Jinn finds out about the launch and orders them not to restore the network since it would go against the wishes of the late Anya Stroud, who had decided to decommission the Hammer of Dawn permanently.

Jinn receives word that Settlement 2 is under attack by the Swarm and sends JD's squad to assist the evacuation. Accompanying them in defending the settlement are Augustus Cole, Clayton Carmine, his niece Lizzie, and Fahz Chutani, JD and Del's former squadmate. It is revealed during the battle that JD, Del, and Fahz had previously been deployed in Settlement 2 to quell a riot, which resulted in the death of civilians and prompted JD and Del to go AWOL. During a heated argument with Del, Fahz reveals that JD gave him the order to open fire on the civilians, causing Del and Kait to lose trust in JD. As the Swarm attacks intensify and threaten to destroy the evacuation convoy, JD orders Baird to fire the Hammer of Dawn prematurely. While the Swarm forces are annihilated, the Hammer of Dawn malfunctions and begins firing wildly. JD saves a group of civilians but is severely injured after failing to save Lizzie from being killed by the Hammer strikes.

Four months later, Kait and Del arrive at an Outsider village situated in the skeleton of the Riftworm to try to convince them to join the COG. The village chief, Kait's uncle Oscar, refuses to join, but the village is suddenly attacked by the Swarm. During the battle, Kait is captured by a Snatcher and begins experiencing vivid visions of controlling the Swarm forces. She escapes the Snatcher but is unable to prevent Oscar's death which she witnesses through her visions. COG reinforcements led by JD (who is now a captain) and Fahz then arrive to evacuate the village. Kait tells everybody about her visions, and Marcus recommends she head to the secret lab at New Hope to find answers, with Del deciding to accompany her against JD's objections. As they reach the lab, Marcus explains that the chief scientist, Niles Samson, had been experimenting on the children of humans suffering from Imulsion poisoning. They find clues leading them to Mount Kadar, a former Locust stronghold.

Kait and Del continue to Mount Kadar, where they find another secret COG lab hidden beneath the ice. There, they find an AI construct of Niles and uncover the frozen remains of COG personnel and Locust. Niles explains to them that the Locust were the result of his secret genetic experiments, by manipulating the DNA of children infected with Imulsion and hybridizing them with the indigenous creatures of the Hollow. He also reveals that Queen Myrrah was originally a human who possessed a complete immunity to Imulsion and could control the Locust due to her genetics being used to create them. However, when her new-born daughter Reyna, Kait's dead mother, was spirited out of the lab by her father, Myrrah led the Locust to rebel against the scientists and gained their independence. Kait panics when she realizes she is the next queen and demands that she be separated from the Swarm's hivemind. Niles puts Kait in a special brain-scanning machine connected to a dormant Berserker called the Matriarch, which successfully severs Kait from the hivemind but also resurrects Reyna in the process as her consciousness still resides in the hivemind. Niles then flees, revealing that he has intentionally revived Reyna to let the Swarm finish what the Locust started. Niles is soon destroyed by the revived Matriarch, and Kait and Del kill it before escaping the facility. Realizing Reyna is now the new Swarm queen, Kait reaffirms the COG's need to reactivate the Hammer of Dawn.

A few weeks later, Baird takes the group to Vasgar, where the Union of Independent Republics' secret space program was located. Baird reunites with his former squadmate Garron Paduk, who is now the leader of a group of nomads surviving in the desert. Paduk reveals that the UIR had a rocket loaded with Hammer of Dawn satellites ready to launch, a fact both the COG and UIR kept secret from the public. He also reveals that the Swarm have recently become more organized and have developed new weapons and armor. Realizing that the Swarm's increased intelligence is the result of Reyna's resurrection, Kait, Del, and Baird resolve to reactivate the Hammer of Dawn as soon as possible. JD and Fahz also arrive to help, with JD apologizing to Del and Kait for his previous deception and subsequent behavior. The squad manages to assemble and launch the rocket and acquire targeting beacons to help control the Hammer of Dawn, though they are soon confronted by a massive Swarm creature called the Kraken. The group barely manages to escape when Paduk picks them up in a Raven to fly them home.

Upon returning to New Ephyra, the group makes plans to launch the Hammer of Dawn. Jinn attempts to arrest Kait, intending to forcibly connect her to the hivemind to control the Swarm. Before she can do this, however, the Swarm attacks New Ephyra. The Gears attempt to set up UIR targeting beacons to provide targeting data to the Hammer of Dawn, but the Kraken destroys them. Reyna, now transformed into the Swarm's queen, appears and attacks Kait, JD, and Del, forcing Kait to choose to save either JD or Del, leaving Reyna to kill the other. Kait and the survivor fight their way back to their friends but are attacked by the Kraken. The remaining soldiers fall back to New Ephyra's outer wall to fight off the Kraken and are soon overwhelmed until the squad's robotic companion, Jack, kills the Kraken by sacrificing itself as a targeting beacon for the Hammer of Dawn. In the aftermath, Marcus warns Kait that Reyna will return, with Kait remarking that they will find her first before discarding her mother's Locust necklace.


Gears 5 is developed by The Coalition as a sequel to Gears of War 4. Unlike previous games in the Gears of War series, the game is simply titled Gears 5 (without "of War" included in the title).[5] Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg explained that the new title was "cleaner" and that it was a natural change because most people had been ignoring "of War" for years.[5] For Gears 5, The Coalition decided to shift player focus from JD Fenix to Kait Diaz. According to studio head Rod Fergusson, "It was a natural choice. When you play through Gears 4, think of it as Mad Max: Fury Road. It was really Furiosa's story, and Max was the side kick. That's how it felt in Gears 4, the whole game is about saving Kait's mom, and really JD is there to help her."[6]

Marketing and release[edit]

Gears 5 was announced at E3 2018, along with Gears Pop and Gears Tactics.[3][7] The game was released for Windows 10 and Xbox One on September 10, 2019 as part of Xbox Play Anywhere.[8][3] It was revealed at E3 2019 that for the game, a crossover with the upcoming film Terminator: Dark Fate would have players control either Sarah Connor with Linda Hamilton voicing her character or a T-800 Terminator model as either a pre-order bonus or with Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.[9] Moreover, action movie actor Dave Bautista appears as a playable character in a limited release where he uses his gimmick as a WWE professional wrestler after expressing interest in portraying Marcus Fenix in a potential film adaptation of Gears of War, where Goldberg's likeness was also used for Damon Baird, another major character of the series.[1][2][3] In addition to the standard and the ultimate editions, a Gears 5 Limited Edition Xbox One X Console bundle was announced to be released the same day as the game's release.[10] The bundle includes the Ultimate Edition of the game, a Limited Edition Xbox One X console, controller, headset, wireless keyboard, mouse from Razer (for console and PC), external hard drives from Seagate, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and the standard versions of Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, and Gears of War 4.[11]

The game will receive enhancements for the Xbox Series X upon its launch, including higher resolution textures, new visual effects such as volumetric fog, and running at 60 frames per second at minimum with potential to run at up to 120 frames per second.[12]


Aggregate score
MetacriticPC: 82/100[13]
XONE: 84/100[14]
Review scores
EGM4/5 stars[16]
Game Informer8.5/10[18]
GamesRadar+4/5 stars[21]

Gears 5 has received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[13][14] Critics praised the gameplay, campaign, presentation and amount of content, but criticised the story and lack of innovation. Many critics praised the game for being a successful return to form for the series.[24]

Ryan McCaffrey of IGN gave the game a 9/10 in a raving review, stating: "It’s not surprising at all that Gears 5 is an excellent third-person action game. This iconic series has never really had a misfire, even when changing hands from original developer Epic to The Coalition, and the hot streak remains unbroken. What was unexpected is just how effectively it doubles down on story with a character-focused, consequence-filled tale that plays to one of the franchise’s most underappreciated strengths and backs it up with fun, welcome additions to both its gameplay formula and flow. And that’s just the campaign: add in a heavy-hitting multiplayer lineup of Versus, Versus Arcade, Horde, and Escape and it makes Gears 5 one of the best and most versatile action-game packages in recent memory."[22]

Andrew Reiner of Game Infomer rated Gears 5 a 8.5/10, concluding: "Gears 5 is exactly what it needs to be. This old war vet still packs a punch. The open-world exploration has issues, but that isn’t enough to steal away the thunder The Coalition expertly deploys on the battlefield. The campaign is a fun ride that concludes with a shocker moment and a hell of a setup for a sequel. I’m already looking forward to that follow-up."[18]

Wesley Yin-Poole, deputy editor of Eurogamer Recommended the game with a 4 star rating out of 5. He concluded: "The campaign really is great. Perhaps even better than great, the more I think about it. All the new things about it - the open world stuff, Jack's powers, the light RPG elements, the side quests - all this stuff was done better years ago by other games. But those other games weren't Gears of War, which has actual decent third-person shooting, actual interesting things happening, and a story that doesn't try hard to win awards. But while Versus, Horde and even Escape are, ultimately, fine, they're let down by the party pooper progression system. The hope is The Coalition tweaks how the battle pass works, because as it stands, Gears 5's grind is depressing."[17]

Phil Hornshaw of GameSpot rated it a 7/10, praising the "open areas" within the campaign and the "character moments" within it. However, he was critical of most of the campaign feeling "inconsequential" after the second act and the campaign feeling like a "rehash of earlier games." He concluded that "Gears 5 is very much a return of those best elements of Gears of War, but with a focus on making the game feel somewhat more adaptive to your particular ways of playing. Whether you want campaign or co-op, Competitive or Quickplay, there's an option for you in Gears 5, and plenty of stuff to reward you for time spent and skill gained. Gears 5 might suffer from some of the same storytelling missteps as its predecessors, and it might not venture far out of the past, but the new ideas it brings to the series are all good reasons for fans to return."[25]

Justin Clark of Slant Magazine gave a rating of 4/5, writing: "Escape stands out in particular because of just how much work has gone into making Gears 5 otherwise accessible. The Gears of War series has been broken of its worst habit: trying to put up the front of being better or harder or more stoic than the rest, allowing the deeper implications of its lore to come to the forefront. Despite dropping “of War” from its title, Gears 5 is the first time the series has made the brutality of its combat feel not only bloody and cathartic, but also captivating and disturbingly intimate on a human level. The quintessential dudebro shooter has evolved with the times, and the world is so much better for it."[26]


The game was played by 3 million people in its first weekend. It marks Microsoft's most successful first-party launch since Halo 4. Though sales in the UK were less than its predecessor, which sold 4.5 times better at launch.[27] The game became the biggest launch for Xbox Game Pass, with more than 3 million players playing the game during its launch week.[28]


Year Award Category Result Ref
2019 Game Critics Awards Best Action Game Nominated [29]
Best Online Multiplayer Nominated
Gamescom Best Xbox One Game Won [30]
2019 Golden Joystick Awards Xbox Game of the Year Won [31][32]
Ultimate Game of the Year Nominated
Titanium Awards Best Action Game Won [33][34]
Best Spanish Performance (Olga Velasco) Nominated
The Game Awards 2019 Best Audio Design Nominated [35]
Best Performance (Laura Bailey) Nominated
Best Action Game Nominated
2020 47th Annie Awards Best Character Animation - Video Game Nominated [36]
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project Nominated [37]
23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards Action Game of the Year Nominated [38]
NAVGTR Awards Control Design, 3D Nominated [39]
Game, Franchise Action Nominated
Use of Sound, Franchise Nominated
16th British Academy Games Awards Performer in a Leading Role (Laura Bailey) Nominated [40]
18th Annual G.A.N.G. Awards Best Cinematic Cutscene Audio Nominated [41]
Best Dialogue Nominated


  1. ^ The Ultimate Edition for the game was released on September 6, 2019. The standard and collector's editions were released on September 10, 2019.[2]


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  3. ^ a b c "Gears of War 5 features local split-screen or online co-op – out next year". VG247. June 10, 2018. Archived from the original on June 16, 2018. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  4. ^ Carter, Justin (June 13, 2018). "E3 2018: Opinion: Gears 5's Tone Reminds Us of God of War in a Great Way". IGN. Archived from the original on June 14, 2018. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Makuch, Eddie (June 14, 2018). "E3 2018: Why It's Called Gears 5 And Not Gears Of War 5". GameSpot. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
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  11. ^ Watts, Steve (August 7, 2019). "New Gears 5 Xbox One X Limited Edition Announced Alongside Lots Of Other Hardware". GameSpot. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
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  14. ^ a b "Gears 5 for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
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  18. ^ a b Reiner, Andrew (September 4, 2019). "Gears 5 Review – Holding The Line". Game Informer. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  19. ^ Ashworth, Mack (September 4, 2019). "Gears 5 Review - The maddest world yet". Game Revolution. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  20. ^ Hornshaw, Phil (September 13, 2019). "Gears 5 Review - A Beneficial Mutation". GameSpot. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  21. ^ Epstein, Mike (September 4, 2019). "Gears 5 review: "New mechanics to polish the old make the whole game shine"". GamesRadar. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  22. ^ a b McCaffrey, Ryan (September 13, 2019). "Gear 5 Final Review". IGN. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  23. ^ Ahern, Colm (September 6, 2019). "Gears 5 review". Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  24. ^ Wakeling, Richard (September 4, 2019). "Gears 5 Review Roundup - See What The Critics Are Saying". GameSpot. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  25. ^ Hornshaw, Phil (September 13, 2019). "Gears 5 Review - A Beneficial Mutation". GameSpot. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  26. ^ Clark, Justin. "Review: With Gears 5, the Quintessential Dudebro Shooter Series Grows Up". Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  27. ^ Bailey, Dustin (September 17, 2019). "Gears 5 sales are bad – it is also the most successful launch in series history". PCGamesN. Retrieved September 18, 2019. On 10/17 NPD group gears rank no 7 best selling game in September 2019
  28. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (September 16, 2019). "Gears 5 tops 3 million players in first week". Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  29. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (June 27, 2019). "E3 2019 Game Critics Awards – Final Fantasy 7 Remake wins Best of Show". VG247. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  30. ^ Mamiit, Aaron (August 25, 2019). "PlayStation 4 exclusive Dreams takes home Best of Gamescom 2019 award". Digital Trends. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  31. ^ GamesRadar staff (October 25, 2019). "Vote now for your Ultimate Game of the Year in the Golden Joystick Awards 2019". GamesRadar+. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  32. ^ GamesRadar staff (November 15, 2019). "Here's every winner from this year's Golden Joystick Awards, including the Ultimate Game of the Year". GamesRadar+. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  33. ^ "Titanium Awards 2019". Fun & Serious Game Festival. Archived from the original on November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
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  35. ^ Winslow, Jeremy (November 19, 2019). "The Game Awards 2019 Nominees Full List". GameSpot. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  36. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (December 2, 2019). "Annie Awards: 'Frozen 2,' 'Missing Link' Lead Year of Surprises and Snubs". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  37. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 7, 2020). "VES Awards Nominations: 'The Lion King', 'Alita: Battle Angel', 'The Mandalorian' & 'GoT' Top List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  38. ^ Chalk, Andy (January 13, 2020). "Control and Death Stranding get 8 nominations each for the 2020 DICE Awards". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  39. ^ "2019 Nominees". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  40. ^ Stuart, Keith (March 3, 2020). "Death Stranding and Control dominate Bafta games awards nominations". The Guardian. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  41. ^ Wilson, Kelly (February 13, 2020). "Game Audio Network Guild Announces 18th Annual G.A.N.G. Award Nominees". The Hype Magazine. Retrieved February 27, 2020.

External links[edit]