The Gears franchise, formerly known as Gears of War, has been a staple of Xbox since the days of the Xbox 360. With six mainline titles and iconic characters, it matches first-party games like Halo as one of the most iconic gaming IPs owned by Microsoft.
Following Gears of War Judgement in 2013, the franchise went through a drastic change, shifting development to The Coalition. The studio would go on to release two Gears games for the Xbox One and PC, with its latest entry now four years old.
Gears 5 was released in September 2019, marking four years since the last game in the series.
Why it matters: Gears was crucial for Microsoft during the last decade as the gaming giant suffered from a weak first-party lineup for the Xbox One, and many consider it to be the best IP of the last Xbox generation.
Much like Gears of War 4, Gears 5 focused on the new generation of characters in the franchise. Kait Diaz took the lead role, while series mascot Marcus Fenix was also featured throughout the game.
The latest iteration of the franchise featured the familiar but satisfying cover-based third-person shooter gameplay that fans had come to love from the days of the Xbox 360.
It introduced new weapons and abilities for the AI companion, Jack. This floating robot allowed players to interact with the environment during combat, performing actions like reviving allies, flashing enemies, and more.
While the gameplay was not too different from the IP’s previous offerings, The Coalition experimented with semi-open-world level design for parts of Gears 5, giving it a fresh makeover.
During various parts of the game, players were given the opportunity to explore levels and progress at their own pace, being allowed to stop and complete side objectives amidst the exhilarating main storyline.
Gears 5 also continued the tradition of strong multiplayer offerings from the franchise, offering a plethora of co-op and PVP game modes.
Gears 5 was also the first game in the franchise to launch as a day-one title on Microsoft’s popular subscription service, Xbox Game Pass.
The subscription helped the series soar in popularity again, and Gears 5 reached over 3 million players in just one week after its release, making it a notable improvement over its predecessor.
Following the game’s release, job listings have hinted The Coalition is working on Gears 6.
The next entry in the franchise is expected to be the most ambitious project to date, thanks to new technologies like Unreal Engine 5 and the release of the capable Xbox Series S|X consoles.
Recent rumors have also claimed that Gears 6 may delve further into the open-world design from the last game, going fully open-world like the latest title in the Halo franchise.
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