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Friday, December 8, 2023

Sure looks like the next Gears of War is ramping up production

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A new Gears of War game is in development at the Coalition and, per a bunch of new job listings and a loose-lipped series veteran, production seems to be ramping up. It’s on the one hand no surprise that the Canadian studio, which was established specifically to work on the Gears series, is working on the Gears series. On the other, we’ve heard barely a peep about the mainline entries since 2019’s (fairly good) Gears 5 other than a rumour that the series is getting its own Halo: MCC treatment.

A series of job ads posted over the last month or two, the latest of which is for a senior gameplay designer, say the studio is hiring for roles on Gears of War and to “forge the future of the IP” (thanks, VGC). I’d say that future should be pretty obvious: Fleshy Locust belly, meet this cold-edged over-revved Lancer blade, then rinse and repeat while Cole Train shouts “woo!” in the background. Hey, maybe I could get a job there.

The type of roles that are being advertised seem extraordinarily unlikely to have anything to do with a remaster, with the Coalition seeking senior mission designers and multiplayer specialists, and the job ads making clear this is about building new things: “We are searching for candidates with experience in Character, Camera and Controls (the 3 C’s), or artificial intelligence (AI) systems. You have experience owning large scale features and guiding them from initial concept through to polish and completion.”

The hiring spree comes hot on the heels of a recent Microsoft firing spree, where the headlines were mostly about the impact on Halo studio 343 Industries but the Coalition was also affected. There are further unconfirmed reports that over this period the Coalition had two in-progress projects cancelled, and focus has shifted entirely to the game likely to be called Gears 6.

In addition to this, longtime Gears veteran Joshua Ortega appears to have confirmed their own return to the series. Ortega did this by quote-retweeting their own thread (thanks, GR+) about how much they’ve done on Gears (which ever since he co-directed and wrote Gears 2 is a lot) and saying “Once again it’s on!” Now that’s the kind of Gears dialogue I can get behind.

Once again it’s on! 💥💥💥💥💥💥 https://t.co/wMjE9xbqbpFebruary 21, 2023

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Clifford Bleszinski, meanwhile, is spending his time griping on twitter trying to land a consulting gig on the new title. Hey, we all gotta eat.

Microsoft acquired the Gears of War franchise from creator Epic Games in 2014, apparently because Epic didn’t really know what to do with it next. Since then it’s released Gears of War 4 (2016) and 5 (2019), a remaster of the original game, and the surprisingly good strategy game Gears Tactics. A bunch of other media spinoffs are also on the way, most notably a Gears film and “adult animated series” from Netflix.

One backend tidbit is known about the next entry in the series: That it’s being made on Unreal Engine 5. Get ready to see Marcus Fenix’s nose pores like never before! But I’m a simple man. I just want to chainsaw through other people in multiplayer and pull off some shotgun rolls that make my exploding opponents call bullshit. If there’s a heart to Gears of War, I’ve only ever found it through floods of viscera.

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