Gears of War 3 screenshot
Gears of War 3 screenshot

I love Gears of War. It was the first franchise of the 360 generation that truly struck a chord with me, and I was borderline obsessed with the series right up until the credits rolled in Gears of War 3. I even thought that scene in the third game was portrayed and executed wonderfully well. So brave…

You may have noticed, however, that so far I've only talked about the original trilogy. Judgment - released in March of last year - felt like a huge misstep. Existing to keep brand awareness alive - and given its sales you'd be hard-pressed to fault Microsoft for wanting it to continue - it tweaked with a formula in ways that wasn't necessary, telling a story that didn't need to be told. The multiplayer certainly had its moments, but it was far from what many had come to expect. It withered in the memory - the previous titles had set up shop there.

Which brings us to the announcement that Epic is no longer handling the Gears of War IP. Purchased by Microsoft, development duties have gone to Black Tusk, a new studio set up, it would seem, to deal with the idea exclusively. It's Halo and 343Industries but Marcus Fenix - maybe - is leading the charge. So far, feelings seem mixed.

On one side, you have Gears of War fans now justified in their Xbox One purchase, soothed with the knowledge that Rod Fergusson - a backbone of the franchise - is heading up team. Given how much he's pinged around the last few years, his passion for everything Locust must remain. It seems highly unlikely he'll let all the hard work go to waste.

With that said, there is the other side to the debate. Judgment struggled because it focused its attention on new ideas and introduced mechanics that existed to merely change rather than enhance. There's nothing to say a Gears can't work without Marcus Fenix, but then you have to ask yourself where it goes next.

If a new set of characters take centre stage, Black Tusk has far more creative freedom to do with the series as they will. Aside from the art style, there'll be no visual cues to remind people what they're playing isn't part of Epic's arc. But then you start moving away from what Gears is, or was.

343's challenge wasn't dissimilar. Although Halo 4 wasn't the greatest offering featuring the Master Chief, it wasn't a disaster. Furthermore, for a first effort from a new studio dealing with an incredibly demanding IP, it succeeded. There's no reason why Black Tusk can't do the same.

Gears of War 3 screenshot

With Halo's narrative coming to a close with 3 and Reach being a prequel, new ideas and concepts had to be developed. For starters, we all needed a reason as to why the Master Chief was taken out of stasis… again. If Microsoft is desperate to get Fenix's face back on boxes, his motivation will be completely different. There's no locusts; his father troubles are sorted out and Dom… well… we fly the flag for you, good buddy.

Regardless, this won't, and can't afford to be, another Judgment. That could've easily been DLC for the final Gears, and there's no way a brand such as this can come across as fodder on a brand new console. It has to have a unique selling point, a justification for bringing it back. Taking into account how well-received the trilogy was, that's no easy task.

It's a must for Microsoft, though. As one of its biggest sellers, Gears is a pillar in keeping Xbox One's momentum on course. Halo is pencilled in and Forza has already shown its next-gen hand - we could mention the likes of Fable and Kinect, but their appeal has either dwindled or is still yet to get going. Screw this up, and there'd be millions of unhappy customers.

As a Gears enthusiast, I'm confident. The time and money given to 343 was to ensure the ball wasn't dropped and allow a talented team to make a game that stood proudly against its predecessors. Some even said it was a refreshing change to a familiar template. I'd miss Marcus Fenix no doubt - he's has amazing traps - but if Gears of War is to truly establish itself as a brand that can be evolved over the next decade or so, now is the time.

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User Comments

cynicalcookie's Avatar

cynicalcookie@ Victim

Marcus will be a $10 dlc and to advance in the campaign you will have to pay $10 for each mission
Posted 13:57 on 09 February 2014
cynicalcookie's Avatar


Guess what to play as Marcus its a $10 dlc
Posted 13:55 on 09 February 2014
Victim's Avatar


It couldn't get any worse, could it?
Posted 02:29 on 08 February 2014
colorlessdrip31's Avatar


I really hope this game will be good it's my favorite game of all time.
Posted 08:25 on 05 February 2014
MasonCooper42's Avatar

MasonCooper42@ TomZeWolf

They sped up gears 3 multiplayer too much. And opened up too much of the maps. The tightness and closeness of he maps made it a tactical game.
Posted 18:49 on 30 January 2014
MasonCooper42's Avatar


Ive always wanted to see some sort of thrashball game,

But as soon as i heard halo 4 was announced i remember telling an xbox live friend that i had faith cliffy b would make sure this was the end.

Would love to see some pendulum wars stuff. But u jist know tgat microsoft will be like. Err we hear what u saying but we want gears 4.
Posted 18:47 on 30 January 2014
Bretty's Avatar

Bretty@ TomZeWolf

Sometimes a risk works beautifully though (Resi 4 for example). However I have a feeling the next game will play it safe due to messing everything up with Judgement.
Posted 17:02 on 30 January 2014

TomZeWolf@ Bretty

Yeah they already made the game you are referring too where they took a risk and it didn't come off well and that was Judgement.

Create something in between Gears 1 and 2 and they might be on to something on the multiplayer.
Posted 14:45 on 30 January 2014
Bretty's Avatar


Open world Gears of War game with the option to have Thrashball matches (much like FFX) would win me over… I am only half joking.
Posted 10:59 on 30 January 2014
essex1212's Avatar

essex1212@ Karlius

Not really and the problem with Prequel's in any narrative for me is that you know who will not die and removes any tension in the story.

Just make "Gears of War: Online" scrap the story and just work on multiplayer.

Just my thought on it anyway dude.
Posted 10:56 on 30 January 2014
Karlius's Avatar


As a massive gears fan I think the solution is easy. - Prequel.

Talking amongst other Gears fans you'll find that there is a huge appetite to find out what happened prior to the current trilogy.*

So give us what we want, Gears of War - The end of Pendulum. There is so much scope here that it could be another trilogy after all it raged for 79 years (I propose the last 4 or so years.) What's more you can keep Marcus as the main protagonists, Dom as a sidekick and introduce a raft of other support characters including some of the fan favourites. (Allowing us to play as all characters in the multi-player element)

I'm sure everyone wants to know why Marcus ended up in Jacinto prison.

(I'm not interested in Judgement - Seemed like something to keep People Can Fly/Epic Poland busy instead of creating a sequel to the fantastic bulletstorm)
Posted 10:12 on 30 January 2014
Bretty's Avatar


Although I am not a huge Gears of War fan I feel the series is in safe hands… however I feel the series needs more than safe hands. It needs hands that can take a risk and execute it well.

However change it too much and everyone will complain "it's not Gears of War", like they do with every game that changes its mechanics or characters. (DmC, Hitman, Resi 5+ etc)
Posted 08:59 on 30 January 2014
Manguy17's Avatar


Franchise sure is in an odd scenario, however you would imagine that MS have enough money to ensure it succeeds, and given that they just purchased the rights to it seems safe to assume that they are committed to it.
Posted 21:00 on 29 January 2014
WhatISayGoes's Avatar


Never saw the appeal of these games, played the first one and found it terribly clunky with a uninteresting story and ridiculous looking character models.
Gears of poop.
Posted 19:32 on 29 January 2014
Guybrushinator's Avatar


Good article as always by miller, at least the article eased my worries about the next gear of war a little bit.
Posted 19:14 on 29 January 2014

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