The next Gears of War doesn’t arrive until Oct. 11, but Microsoft just unveiled the launch trailer three weeks early to fete first time studio The Coalition‘s third-person military sci-fi shooter for PC and Xbox One. Though it’s technically the fifth Gears game, it’s called Gears of War 4, because Gears of War: Judgment (the last installment) was technically a prequel.
Leaping 25 years forward in the series fiction, Gears of War 4 imagines a future in which the cataclysmic measures that eliminated the original trilogy’s enemies also triggered global storms and other post-apocalyptic tropes. The trailer depicts peacetime citizenry hauled off to detention areas by the game’s presumptive new enemy, dubbed The Swarm. Whether they’re meaningfully different from the Locust, or the same snarling steroidal monsters by another name, remains to be seen.
The subversive thing to do with a decade-old tentpole shooter like Gears of War would have been to create something that instead lays down its arms. No guns, no “a new feature is the Combat Knife,” no mechanically absurd contraptions like one dubbed the “Buzzkill” that fires rebounding saw blades. You might call it “Gears of Walking Simulator”—I’m only half-kidding!—and make it a contemplative Myst-like puzzler starring characters ruminating about the wages of genocide (given, however mutually genocidal the Locust were, that they constituted another form of intelligent life). And of course, no one would spend a penny on that.
So instead we’re going to play as longtime series protagonist Marcus Fenix’s son, who looks like the linebacker version of Uncharted star Nathan Drake. See for yourself, in the trailer’s breezy two minutes flush with mayhem, motorcycles and Metallica.
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