If you travel back to the holiday season circa 2006 , there was a single game that had so much hype it was in danger of exploding off the store shelves.
That game was Gears of War.
Only 1 year into the consoles life cycle and Microsoft was unleashing a true system seller. A game that wasn’t relying on a franchises history to sell it. It wasn’t a copy and paste of a previous years version and sure didn’t have any sales expectations to live up to. It was a true wildcard in the game industry at that time.
We all now know that it became a worldwide success that spawned 3 more entries and cemented itself as Xbox’s premiere franchise right alongside Halo. Gears of War brought it all; Graphics, Game play and story to back it all up. While the game really ended with 2011’s , Epic Games released a book end title called Gears of War: Judgement that detailed some of the events leading up to the original Gears of War title in 2013. This would mark the last time gamer’s anywhere in the world would have experienced a new game set in the Gears Universe.
So what has Microsoft and EPIC Games been up to for the past 2.5 years ( 3 years by the time we get the next game)?
A lot has happened since then and the biggest news is that Microsoft acquired sole ownership of the Gears of War property officially making it a XBOX exclusive forever. Prior to this EPIC Games owned the IP and simply had a publishing agreement with good ol Microsoft. While fairly iron clad this still had the possibility that PlayStation owners could have one day seen a new Gears series make its way onto the their platform. This was not unlike the deal that EA made with Respawn entertainment with Titanfall, and we know where that ended up ( PlayStation users are getting Titanfall 2 next year despite hating on the game when it was an exclusive ).
Not only did Microsoft scoop up ownership of the property they also hand picked a new developer to start work on a new entry for XBOX One. This studio headed up by none other than former Epic employee Rod Ferguson has been hard at work on a Next Gen Gears of War albeit without the franchise creator Cliff Bleszinski.
Make no mistake; Gears of War is on its way…but what can we expect with its return?
Currently the Next Gen< Current Gen now> is being hammered with Sequel and Remastered mania. Instead of getting new and exciting franchises we are being swamped with numbered follow ups and Next Gen remasters of existing titles and established franchises. Now don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that we need those games to add fuel into the industry and while there isn’t a ton of new IP’s coming ; Gears of War on Next gen is hinting at some big changes.
Being in hibernation is a good thing and even though Activision will never have the guts to stand down on releasing a yearly COD they could take a page from Microsoft’s playbook. This is where Gears of War will show everyone why is a franchise not to be trifled with.
We are hoping to get some teasers at this years E3 because we know next to nothing about the game and most assume that Microsoft will stagger its release around this years Halo 5. Releasing in 2016 will give it the breathing room it needs and put some distance between the ” shooter heavy” 2015 game line up. When it releases it will be welcomed by a community of gamer’s who may be worn out on traditional FPS mechanics and want a change of pace. Enough time will have passed and all of the previously loyal XBOX players will now have a reason to rejoin the ranks ( if Halo 5 hasn’t already turned the tide) and rev up their Lancers once more.
While still a sequel to an existing franchise I am a firm deliverer that when it arrives we will have had a good break from it. Gears will feel new and exciting again and may even attract some new blood in the form of gamer’s who never got to experience the sheer awesomeness of the originals on Xbox 360.
Gears of War is coming and I don’t think Sony realizes what its going to take to stand up to it in 2016.
Dwayne “EVO Knight” Morash