I Worry About the Future of the Gears of War After E-Day
Image via The Coalition

I Worry About the Future of Gears of War Series After E-Day

Now, when I talk about “the future” of the Gears of War series, I don’t necessarily mean the newly announced Gears of War: E-Day game. Going back in time to seeing the world of Sera in peace and witnessing young Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago become friends through the crucible of a new war against an incomprehensible enemy sounds fascinating, and I totally understand why The Coalition took this opportunity. However, I worry about about the future of the series when we eventually get to continue the plot threads left hanging in Gears 5.

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In a recent interview with The Coalition, the developers reassured fans of the series that they are “not retreating” from the storylines that started in the series games Gears of War 4 and continued in Gears 5. While this can sound comforting, I can’t help but think that it will be a really long time until we see or even hear about a hypothetical Gears of War 6. When you consider how long video games take to develop and how expensive they are nowadays, I fear we might not see a resolution to the events and cliffhangers left in Gears 5, at least not in the way fans expect. The latest game in the Gears franchise shipped in September 2019, almost 5 years ago. With no announced date for Gears of War: E-Day, it could take a while for this new title to appear.

If things go swimmingly for The Coalition, a direct continuation of Gears 5 could take another four to five years to get greenlit and released. Unless the team is magically working on two titles at the same time (something which could be catastrophic when taking in account the massive financial risk), we could be talking about a direct sequel appearing sometime around 2030. That would be well over a decade after Gears 5. Of course, this is all hypothetical. But no matter the result, by the time we get to experience a direct sequel, it will have been way too long for audiences to keep the same level of interest than they had when the game originally came out.

Don’t get me wrong, I am actually very excited to experience Gears of War: E-Day. I completely understand the allure of going back to the very origin of the series. Showing the overwhelming and terrifying threat of the Locust Horde in its heyday, when humanity had no tools to fight back against a never-before-seen enemy, is promising. I can’t help but imagine how different it would be to play this game, compared to the action-focused romps of the original trilogy. The idea of combat encounters being more threatening than ever before for the series, a lower number of Locust drones feeling overpowering, compared to the hordes of enemies Marcus and the COG mowed down in the original trilogy could truly breathe new life into the franchise.

Of course, I’m not expecting the game to completely change genres into survival horror, although I wouldn’t really mind it, but I keep wondering what new ideas this new scenario could bring. Seeing Marcus and Dom fight a single enemy in the reveal trailer and barely survive the encounter really fascinates me. From a narrative standpoint, seeing their relationship flourish in real time after both experienced unspeakable loss sounds right up my alley. Even seeing the creation of the iconic Lancer or Hammer of Dawn, among other memorable tools in the franchise, to successfully face the Locust excites me. But there’s only so much The Coalition can do before they run out of material to cover for this prequel.

Once all it’s said and done, I just can’t imagine the future of the Gears of War franchise after E-Day. Once it’s time to go back to the present, there will be a whole new generation of players to bring into the fold. Maybe revisiting the past with E-Day, and with the release of the rumored remaster of the original Gears of War trilogy, could bring a renewed interest into the franchise for old and new audiences alike. But that’s hedging on too many bets at that point. And even if we end up seeing a continuation of the story of Gears 5, by that point it will be a completely different story from the one that started all the way back in 2016 with Gears of War 4.

The long development cycles, hyperinflated budgets, expectations for triple-A games, and constant layoffs are keeping the industry stagnant. Taking any type of risk is untenable for big name developers. That’s why remakes, remasters, and looking at the past of once-popular series is safer and easier. There’s no window for risk or experimentation in the triple-A market. And I worry that, with how long it takes to ship a game nowadays, the Gears of War franchise might not have much of a future after this detour to its past with E-Day.

Gears of War: E-Day is currently in development for the Xbox Series X and PC via Steam. There is no announced release date for the game yet.

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Image of Daniel Bueno
Daniel Bueno
Daniel is a staff writer and translator from the Spaghetti Western land of Andalusia, Spain. He got his start writing for Xbox Outsider in 2022. His favorite genres are RPGs, survival horrors, and immersive sims. In truth, he is a Dragon Quest slime in a human suit.