Gears of War
|Gears of War|
|Platform(s)||Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One|
|First release||Gears of War|
November 7, 2006
|Latest release||Gears of War 4|
October 11, 2016
Gears of War is a video game franchise created by Epic Games, developed and managed by The Coalition, and owned and published by Microsoft Studios. The series focuses on the conflict between humanity, the subterranean reptilian hominids known as the Locust Horde, and their mutated counterparts, the Lambent & the Swarm. The franchise consists of five third-person shooter video games, which has also been supplemented by a comic book series and five novels.
The first installment, titled Gears of War, was released on November 7, 2006 for the Xbox 360. The game follows protagonist Marcus Fenix, a soldier in the Coalition of Ordered Governments tasked to lead a last-ditch effort to destroy the Locust Horde and save humanity. Two subsequent titles, Gears of War 2 (2008) and Gears of War 3 (2011), continued Fenix and humanity's ongoing conflict with the Locust Horde and Lambent forces. In 2013, Epic Games and Microsoft released Gears of War: Judgment, a prequel to the series’ first title, which instead focuses on Damon Baird, one of Fenix's squad-mates. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition was released for Microsoft Windows on March 1, 2016. The series' third sequel, Gears of War 4, is set 25 years after Gears of War 3 and follows Marcus Fenix's son, JD, as he battles a new resurrected Locust Horde that once again threatens humanity.
Gears of War was developed by Epic Games. Cliff Bleszinski, who has previously worked on Epic's Unreal Tournament games, served the series’ lead game designer for the first three installments. He was inspired by gameplay elements from Resident Evil 4, Kill Switch, and Bionic Commando. The series was also guided by Rod Fergusson, the executive producer and director of development of Epic Games until 2012. The first four installments of the Gears of War series used a modified version of the Unreal Engine 3 engine. On January 27, 2014, Microsoft acquired all rights to the franchise from Epic Games. Canadian studio The Coalition developed Gears of War 4, which was released on October 11, 2016 for the Xbox One and Windows 10.
Gears of War became one of the best-selling franchises for the Xbox 360. The series is well known for its emphasis on cover-based combat, in which players can use objects to avoid gunfire or safely engage enemies. All five installments in Gears of War featured several multiplayer modes that allowed players to compete against each other or team-up to battle AI opponents on Xbox Live. The Gears of War games have been amongst the most popular and most played titles on Xbox Live.
- 1 Setting
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Games
- 4 Backwards compatibility
- 5 Music
- 6 Adaptations
- 7 Reception
- 8 Merchandise
- 9 Legal issues
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
The Gears of War series takes place on Sera, a fictional Earth-like planet. Human civilization develops on Sera and endures a millennia-long conflict that leaves humanity on the brink of extinction. Sera's leaders broker an era of peace that ushers an era of scientific advancements and a cultural renaissance. Humanity's population sporadically grows and demands more energy provided by fossil and nuclear fuels. Sera's scientists discover Imulsion, a naturally occurring substance that can be refined into a potent energy source. Imulsion solves Sera's energy crisis but ultimately creates great economic disparity. Nations with direct access to Imulsion prosper, while other nations fall into financial turmoil.
Sera's citizens balkanize into two warring factions: the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) and Union of Independent Republics (UIR). The ensuing 79-year strife, known as the ‘Pendulum Wars’, consumes millions of lives with both sides locked in a virtual stalemate. The UIR develops the 'Hammer of Dawn', a system of satellites capable of delivering precise and potent orbital-to-surface laser strikes. However, a contingent of COG commandos, led by Marcus Fenix, Dom Santiago, and Victor Hoffman launch a daring raid on a UIR stronghold and steal the schematics for the Hammer of Dawn. The UIR quickly surrenders after witnessing the Hammer of Dawn devastate one of their naval vessels.
Merely six weeks after the COG and UIR agreed to an armistice, the Locust Horde unexpectedly emerge from Sera's depths and begin assaulting all human cities. The Locust Horde easily overwhelms the already battleworn COG forces during this surprise attack, referred to as 'Emergence Day'. The COG retreats to the Jacinto Plateau, their last bastion, and reluctantly bombard their own cities with the Hammer of Dawn to halt the Locust Horde's offensive. The ensuing scorched earth tactic destroys much of Sera's cities and human population. The COG continues to operate out of Jacinto, while the surviving humans, known as Stranded, are left to wander through Sera's charred ruins. During the chaos of Emergence Day, Marcus led an unauthorized and failed rescue mission to save his father, Adam, from the Locust assault. The COG's leadership court martials Marcus and sentences him to life imprisonment.
The first Gears of War title is set 14 years after the Locust emerged and attacked Sera's human population. The COG forces devise a last-ditch offensive to destroy the Locust Horde with 'lightmass bombs', weaponized forms of Imulsion. Marcus Fenix, now a disgraced veteran, is reinstated into the COG army, to supplement the COG's depleted ranks. Marcus joins his best friend, Dom Santiago, on a mission to map the Locust Horde's tunnel network in preparation for the bombing. However, their unit is ambushed by Locust Ground forces and sustain heavy casualties. Fenix and Santiago regroup with two other survivors, Augustus Cole and Damon Baird, and continue their mission. Marcus ultimately prevails in not only mapping, but successfully deploying the lightmass bombs and crippling the Locust Horde.
In Gears of War 2, Myrrah, the Locust leader, regroups her remaining forces and organizes a counteroffensive. The crux of her plan revolves around using a giant worm-like creature to sink the cities around the Jacinto Plateau until the COG stronghold itself collapses. The COG Forces in-turn deploy several soldiers directly into the depths of Sera to directly battle the Locust Horde and stop Myrrah's plan. Marcus discovers that members of the Locust Horde are mutating from exposure from Imulsion into ‘Lambent’. These abominations are forcing the Locust to abandon their underground civilization to try claim the surface world as their new home. Marcus devises a plan to intentionally sink Jacinto and using the surrounding sea water to flood the Locust and Lambent tunnel network. The COG evacuate Jacinto just as the city collapses and drowns a majority of the Locust Horde.
Gears of War 3 marks the final main-line installment in the original Gears of War trilogy. Set 18 months after Marcus sinks Jacinto, the game opens to reveal the COG has disbanded and left humanity scattered across Sera. The Lambent are now a major threat to humanity's scarce population, while the surviving members of the Locust Horde retreat to settlements in Sera's wastelands. Marcus’ father, Adam, who was presumed to have been deceased, notifies the COG that he is alive on Azura, an isolated island, and possess a solution to eradicate the Locust and Lambent threats. Marcus and his allies reach Azura after Dom sacrifices himself to rescue his friends from imminent demise. Adam is rescued and releases his anti-Locust and Lambent weapon but reveals he infected himself with the Lambent contagion to develop the weapon. The weapon's energy wave destroys all Locust and Lambent forces, including Adam. Marcus personally kills Myrrah and dedicates her demise to his fallen friends, family, and comrades.
The fourth game, Gears of War: Judgment, focuses on Baird and Cole during the early days after Emergence Day. With military cadet Sofia Hendrick and Garron Paduk, a former UIR soldier, they comprise the Kilo Squad. Baird disobeys orders to use a secret weapon of mass destruction to destroy Locust forces and save survivors at Halvo Bay. Despite also killing the powerful Locust leader Karn, the squad is court-martialed because they disobeyed orders and Baird is demoted from officer to private. A separate campaign, "Aftermath", portrays Baird, Cole, and Paduk in the hours before the activation of the anti-Imulsion energy wave.
Microsoft announced Gears of War 4 at E3 2015 on June 15. The game takes place 25 years after the original Gears of War trilogy and primarily concentrates on Marcus’ son, JD Fenix. The COG reestablish itself thanks to creation of robotic soldiers. Many civilians instead choose to live on the outskirts of the COG's walled cities. JD, accompanied by his friends Kait and Del conduct frequent raids on COG fortifications to acquire various supplies. The three successfully fend off a COG counterattack only to have their encampment devastated by a new foe, called the Swarm. Kait's mother, Reyna, is captured during the chaos.
JD, Kate, and Del reach out to Marcus, now a disgruntled COG expatriate, who reluctantly agrees to help them. The COG, led by First Minister Jinn, pursue the group after erroneously believing they are behind a string of mass-kidnappings. The four reach a Locust mass-burial site, where they uncover evidence suggestion that Adam Fenix's lightmass weapon caused the Locust Horde to enter a cocooned metamorphosis state. Their fears are confirmed when various Locust Horde soldiers attack them in conjunction with the Swarm. The group receives assistance from Damon Baird, now a successful industrialist, along with Augustus Cole, and Samantha Byrne. They battle their way to the Swarm's hive and defeat multiple Swarm and Locust monstrosities. However, they reach the hive to learn that Swarm's hive-mind has forcefully integrated with Reyna. Kait frees her mother, knowing she will die but will no longer suffer. Reyna gives Kait a parting gift that belonged to her mother – a necklace bearing the insignia of the Locust Queen Myrrah.
Gears of War is a third-person shooter game, with its core concepts being derived from Resident Evil 4's "over the shoulder" perspective, Kill Switch's cover system, and Bionic Commando's swinging action akin to moving between points of cover. The series focuses on using cover to tactically engage the enemy in battle to avoid taking damage. While behind cover, the player can fire blindly and inaccurately at their opponent, or can look around the cover and aim carefully, though exposing himself to enemy fire; the player can also slide along cover, move between nearby cover, or vault over cover to race to a new point of cover. As the player takes damage, the "Crimson Omen" appears on the HUD, becoming more defined as the player nears low health levels. The player can regenerate their health by staying out of harm's way for a short while. Should the player take too much damage, they will become incapacitated unless revived by a teammate; depending on game mode, the player may be able to recover from this state on their own, or may die after a short amount of time if not revived. When a combatant is down, a member of the other side may also attempt to execute the downed player via a "curb stomp" or other brutal methods. As well, some types of damage will immediately kill the player with no chance of revival, such as explosive damage. There are five levels on the first two games, but they are referred to as "acts" and each act is formed into a certain amount of chapters.
Players in Gears can only carry four different weapons, with the exception of the fourth game, allowing one primary weapon slot that can carry weapons which include, but are not limited to, assault rifles, a sniper rifle, grenade launchers and an explosive bow; one grenade slot, which may be filled with up to four grenades of a specific type (Fragmentation, Smoke, Ink and Incendiary), and one pistol-type weapon. Players can either obtain ammo or swap out their current weapons with any weapon dropped by a downed foe or from those scattered around the various maps. Most weapons feature the "Active Reload" ability: either after a weapon has depleted an ammo magazine or when the player starts a manual reload, a meter is shown on screen, and the player can attempt to stop the meter in a certain marked area. If the player stops the meter in the marked area, their reload will be completed faster than if they did not attempt an Active Reload, and if the player can stop the meter at a specific section of the marked area, they will gain a temporary slight damage boost with each reloaded shot and a faster reload. If the player stops the meter outside this area, their gun will become temporarily jammed and slow down the reload time. While most of the weapons are based on standard shooter archetypes, Gears's signature weapon is the Lancer, an assault rifle that has a mounted chainsaw bayonet which can be used in close quarter combat to instantly kill a standard foe. Most other weapons also can be used to bash opponents in melee, or in the case of grenades, can be stuck to a foe, exploding a few seconds later. In Gears of War 2 & 3, all four types of grenades can be planted on any reachable surface, detonating when an opponent comes close to it. If the opponent spots the grenade, he or she can detonate it from a safe distance by shooting it.
All Gears games feature a campaign mode that can be played cooperatively with one other player. The two players take the roles of two COG soldiers, Marcus Fenix and Dominic "Dom" Santiago, as they fight the Locust. In the third game the campaign allows for up to four players to play together at the same time. The campaign mode features several levels of difficulty. At various times, the campaign will offer a choice of paths the first player can select; if the second player is present, they will be forced to take the other path. The third and fourth players in Gears of War 3 will be separated between the paths of the first and second players. In these areas, all players generally have to work together to get them through the section, such as by one player providing covering fire while the second player opens a switch that allows the first player to then proceed.
The competitive multiplayer mode in Gears 1 features 8 players while in Gears 2 features up to ten players split between COG and Locust forces in a number of gameplay types. Modes include "Warzone" and "Execution", both similar to a typical deathmatch, and "Annex" and "King of the Hill" where teams have to control a marked zone on the map. In the mode "Guardian,"(only in Gears 2) one member of each team is designated as the leader. As long as the leader is still alive, his or her teammates can respawn indefinitely. As soon as the leader is executed, his or her teammates can no longer respawn.
Gears of War 3 features better AI, as in past games the AI went around the obstacle even if it had been destroyed. However, in Gears 3 the AI will recognize that the obstacle has been destroyed and are free to walk over it.
|2006||Gears of War|
|2008||Gears of War 2|
|2011||Gears of War 3|
|2013||Gears of War: Judgment|
|2015||Gears of War: Ultimate Edition|
|2016||Gears of War 4|
Gears of War
Gears of War is a third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games and published by Microsoft Studios. It was initially released for the Xbox 360 on November 7, 2006 in North America, and on November 17, 2006 in Europe. While it was initially released as an exclusive title, it was also released for the PC on June 11, 2007. Gears of War follows Delta Squad's efforts to help deploy a Lightmass bomb deep in the Locust tunnels to wipe out the Locust threat.
In April 2015, it was confirmed that a remastering of the game was being developed for the Xbox One, with The Coalition working on the project, after Microsoft acquired the rights to the Gears franchise from Epic Games in 2014.
Gears of War 2
Gears of War 2 is a third-person shooter video game published by Microsoft Studios. It is the sequel to Gears of War, and was announced by lead designer Cliff Bleszinski during the February 20, 2008 Game Developers Conference. It was released worldwide November 7, 2008. The game uses a heavily upgraded version of the Unreal Engine 3. Gears of War 2 takes place after the first game, where the Locust are now attempting to sink Jacinto Plateau, and the COG forces have decided to launch a counter-offensive to stop them before they can complete their attempt. Ultimately the COG sinks Jacinto themselves to flood the home of the Locust (the Hollow) and drown them.
A PC version of the game was cancelled by the developers, citing poor sales of the original PC version of Gears of War as well as concerns over piracy.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 is the concluding part to the trilogy. Originally with an April 6, 2011 release date, it was moved to September 20, 2011 to anchor Microsoft Studios' holiday portfolio for the Xbox 360.
Gears of War 3 takes place 18 months after the end of Gears of War 2. Marcus, Dom, and the last remnants of humanity must band together to survive against the Locust and Lambent, while trying to find Marcus's father and end the war. In the end, a weapon developed by Marcus' father Adam Fenix is detonated, wiping out the Locust and the Lambent, as well as ending the war.
Gears of War: Judgment
Gears of War: Judgment is the fourth installment of the Gears of War series released on March 19, 2013. It was first announced on May 31, 2012 and was revealed at E3 on June 4, 2012. At the conference they showed off the first trailer, mainly focused on series mainstay Baird. He is accompanied by Augustus "Cole Train" Cole and two new characters, Garron Paduk and Sofia Hendrik, who make up Kilo Squad. Kilo Squad is ultimately put on trial by another new character, Ezra Loomis.
Gears of War 4
Gears POP! is a spinoff of the series for mobile devices based on Funko's POP! toyline.
Gears Tactics is a PC-exclusive turn-based strategy spinoff.
Gears 5 is a sequel to Gears of War 4. It is scheduled to be released in 2019.
Characters from the Gears of War series have made guest appearances in games outside of the Gears of War franchise. Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago are playable in the Xbox 360 version of Lost Planet 2. General RAAM was announced as a playable character in Killer Instinct: Season Three during Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference on June 13, 2016, and was released following the presentation's conclusion.
Microsoft announced on August 3, 2015 that the four Gears of War titles that launched on Xbox 360 — Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, and Gears of War: Judgment — will be available on Xbox One through the backwards compatibility program.
The video game music for Gears of War was composed by Kevin Riepl, who had previously worked with Epic Games on soundtracks for Unreal Tournament 2003, Unreal Tournament 2004 and Unreal Championship 2. The music for Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3 was composed by Steve Jablonsky. The music for Gears of War 4 is composed by Ramin Djawadi.
Additionally, the franchise has inspired music from other artists. American thrash metal band Megadeth recorded a song for the first game's release, first as an instrumental then with lyrics. For the third game, rapper Ice-T, who was cast as Griffin, reunited his metal band Body Count to record a song centered around the Gears universe.
The Board Game
Gears of War: The Board Game was released in 2011 by Fantasy Flight Games. Designed by Corey Konieczka, it is a cooperative game for up to four players, including the option for solo play. Each player takes control of a COG (represented by a miniature figure pre-painted in red), fighting their way through randomly generated maps filled with Locust soldiers (represented by a miniature figure pre-painted in light gray). These are controlled by an AI deck of cards: after each player finishes his or her turn, he or she draws a card from the AI deck and takes actions for each Locust creature. Players play cards and roll dice to take actions as well as to resolve shooting and defense. The game proceeds until the player team successfully completes the mission. There are seven different missions, each featuring different objectives and enemies in randomly generated map layouts. Since its launch, the game has received one expansion, Mission Pack 1, which brought more weapons, two new missions and new enemies, including General RAAM.
A series of novels based on the fictional universe has been created, all written by Karen Traviss. The books expand on the games and detail events which occur in between installments. Gears of War: Aspho Fields was the first in an expected trilogy, although the total numbers of books has since grown to five. It focused on the history of the characters and the battle at Aspho Fields, but also took place during the events between Gears of War and Gears of War 2. The second novel, Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant, continued where Gears of War 2 left off, with Jacinto's survivors fleeing the ruins of the city and searching for a new safe haven. Later they enter into a new conflict against the Stranded who have begun a guerilla war against the remnants of the COG. The book also detailed events 1 year after E-Day, when the new COG Chairman authorized the Hammer of Dawn counterattack. Gears of War: Anvil Gate is the third novel, released on August 31, 2010. The novel details the COG attempting to establish themselves on the island of Vectes, while trying to contain a Stranded insurgency and the resurgent Lambent. A flashback story details a young Hoffman during the Siege of Anvil Gate. Gears of War: Coalition's End, released in August 2011, is the fourth novel in the series, taking place immediately after the events of Anvil Gate; 18 months after the end of the second game. The novel details the COG's struggle with the Lambent attacks on the island of Vectes, and leads directly into Gears of War 3. Gears of War: The Slab is the fifth and final book in the series released in May 2012. The novel focuses on Marcus Fenix's time in Jacinto Maximum Security Prison prior to Gears of War, and reveals more backstory on him, Victor Hoffman, and Adam Fenix.
Gears of War: Hollow was the first comic book series based on the Gears of War world. It was first announced by Epic Games and DC Comics on 18 April 2008 and was released in December 2008. The series was published under DC's Wildstorm imprint and was written by Joshua Ortega, with art by Liam Sharp. The story arc followed Jace Stratton, a young recruit of Delta Squad who made an appearance in Gears of War 3 and Michael Barrick, a solo Gear found by Delta. The arc was 6 issues long and ended in May 2009.
Two stand-alone comic book series were then released. Issue 7, "The Quickening", followed the life of Tai Kaliso from his home in the South Islands to the torture den of the Locust Horde. This was released on June 9, 2009.
The second stand-alone was Harper's Story. In Gears of War 2 there are collectibles which describe the end of Sgt. Jonathan Harper, a Gears Veteran. He was captured by the Locust during the events of the Hollow. He managed not only to survive the vile deeds of the Locust Horde but also to escape. He helped a family reach safety, taking the bullets into his own body before falling to the ground.
Issue number 9 begins a new arc, Barren, of which the first part was released in September 2009. We are introduced to the "other side" of the life of humans faced by total annihilation. Birthing Creches, or Breeding Farms, filled with women who are there to just have baby after baby, and nothing else. With humanity dying out and no fresh faces to replace fallen Gears, new humans are needed. The story focuses on an escapee from one of these centers named Alex Brand. Declared to be barren at the age of 18, Brand was kicked from the Breeding Farm she was born in, sent to Boot Camp and trained to be a Gear. She accompanies Delta and Sigma Squads as they investigate a mysterious beacon call from the place at which she was born, which was thought to have been destroyed by Locust.
On March 21, 2007, it was announced that New Line Cinema had purchased the rights to make a Gears of War film, with Stuart Beattie writing the script along with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, who will be producing it. Producer Wyck Godfrey said of the film adaptation, "I'm not a gamer, but what blew me away about Gears was how it captures the mythology of a war mission and how high the stakes are." On August 3, 2007, AICN.com reported that Len Wiseman was to direct the movie adaptation of Gears of War, though on March 30, 2007, Godfrey stated that they have "a director we're about to attach" in order to film the movie during 2009 and release in 2010. Cliff Bleszinski, the lead designer of the Gears of War video games, will serve as executive producer and consultant.
Wiseman was officially signed on in June 2008, with Chris Morgan performing script rewrites. Morgan hinted on G4's televised coverage of Comic Con 2008 that the film would be a prequel to the first game, "it could explain how Marcus Fenix got his scar." According to Morgan, Wiseman "wants to make it as realistic as possible, and to blur those lines where your mind says, 'Oh, it's a big CGI film.'". On December 8, 2009, Wyck Godfrey sat down with MakingOf to talk about the "Gears of War" movie, and said that "to tell the epic story of an alien planet that's living in a horrific environment just feels like the wrong mood right now".
In April 2010, New Line considerably scaled back the $100 million budget and epic story, stalling progress while they waited for a rewrite. Len Wiseman was no longer involved as he shifted his focus to other projects.
In April 2013, Variety reported that "Creative Artists Agency is eager to meet with producers in the coming weeks and set up the project elsewhere," and that Stuart Beattie will write the film. Scott Stuber is named to produce the film.
At the launch ceremony for Gears of War 4 in October 2016, The Coalition's Rod Fergusson affirmed that a Gears of War movie is currently at development at Universal Pictures. Scott Stuber and Dylan Clark will produce the film under Universal's Bluegrass Films division, but no director or writer has been selected at this point. Fergusson also stated that where the film takes place relative to the games has been determined. On May 3, 2017, Universal hired Shane Salerno to write the screenplay with Fergusson stating, "the movie won't be based on one of the games but a new story set in the universe." On November 28, 2018, The Wrap reports that F. Scott Frazier will write the film's script.
|Gears of War||(X360) 94|
|Gears of War 2||(X360) 93|
|Gears of War 3||(X360) 91|
|Gears of War: Judgment||(X360) 79|
|Gears of War: Ultimate Edition||(XONE) 82|
|Gears of War 4||(PC) 86|
All of the Gears of War titles have been received positively, and the original trilogy is critically acclaimed. IGN rated Gears of War 3 the 22nd best Xbox 360 game, out of a list of 25. In 2010, Lasse Pulkkinen from Techno Buffalo called Gears of War 2 the best looking game on the Xbox 360.
TriForce Sales has obtained a license from Epic Games to create full-scale replicas of the armor and weapons from the game, with assistance of sculptor Sid Garrand of Nightmare Armor Studios. The units were available for advanced order in July 2008.
In July 2007, NECA announced they would be producing Gears of War merchandise, including action figures. The first series, available in the second quarter of 2008, included Augustus Cole, Anthony Carmine, Baird, a Locust Drone, a Locust Sniper, Dom Santiago and Marcus Fenix.
Mindzeye Studios has created foot high statues of Gears of War characters.
In January 2017, former American football player Lenwood Hamilton sued Epic Games, Microsoft, and voice actor Lester Speight, stating that the character of Cole Train in the series steals from his own likeness and voice. The lawsuit contends that elements of Cole's character, including being of African-American descent, having played in professional sports, and elements of the character's clothings were all elements representative of Hamilton, and voice analysis shows that Speight's delivery of Cole's lines matches too close with Hamilton's line. Hamilton had stated that Speight had approached him around 1998 about a video game, though Hamilton had turned it down due to the violence that would be in the game.
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- Gears of War: Aspho Fields, by Karen Traviss (2008) ISBN 0-345-49943-3
- Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant, by Karen Traviss (2009) ISBN 0-345-49944-1
- Gears of War: Anvil Gate, by Karen Traviss (2010) ISBN 0-345-49945-X
- Gears of War: Coalition's End, by Karen Traviss (2011) ISBN 0-356-50104-3
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