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Gears of War (franchise)

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"Sure, the IP can be a billion dollar one, but when you're Rule 34'd is when you've truly arrived as a fictional universe."
Cliff Bleszinski[1]

Gears of War is an award winning, bestselling science fiction video game franchise, created by Epic Games, currently owned and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The trilogy and a prequel that currently make up the series take place on the planet Sera and focus on a war between humans and creatures known as the Locust Horde. In Gears of War, the protagonist Marcus Fenix, a soldier or "Gear" in the Coalition of Ordered Governments, leads his squad on a mission to deploy the Lightmass bomb and destroy the Locust Horde in their underground strongholds. The sequel Gears of War 2 takes place six months after the events of the first game, and follows Delta Squad and the COG army as it launches an assault directly against the Hollow in an effort to end the war. The second sequel Gears of War 3 takes places 2 years after the second game, and Marcus and his team have to combat the growing threat of the Lambent and rescue his father Adam Fenix from the Locust Horde. A Prequel Gears of War: Judgment takes you back before events of the original trilogy to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day. Following Kilo Squad, led by Damon Baird and Augustus Cole, as they fight to save the city of Halvo Bay from an unstoppable enemy. Numerous comics and novels expand on the events of the Gears universe and its backstory.

SettingEdit

The Gears franchise takes place on the planet Sera. The planet Sera has a history of conflict that took the planet to the brink of destruction. This shocked the people into a rejection of their destructive ways, leading to a golden age. Although most conflict was solved peacefully, civil liberties and crime remained troublesome social issues. A golden age of culture, science, and the arts.[2] Yet one problem stood prominent above the rest: energy. Sera's sources of petroleum and nuclear fuel were not sufficient to meet the global demand. Imulsion - with its promise of near limitless energy - was thought to be the solution to mankind's great need.[3]

Humans discovered the liquid Imulsion that flows underground that became a key power source. The value of Imulsion led to a seventy nine-year war over the substance, fought between the Coalition of Ordered Governments and the Union of Independent Republics, until the COG won the war. Shortly after peace settled, however, humans were attacked across the planet from the Locust, a race of beings that dug their way out from underground. Much of humanity was wiped out on the first Locust attack, otherwise known as Emergence Day, and the remaining humans gathered their numbers on Jacinto Plateau, a mass of hard rock the Locust could not burrow through; the humans that could not make it became known as the Stranded, and took shelter among the ruins. COG then employed a "scorched earth" policy by turning orbital lasers across the surface of the planet to deny the Locust any spoils of war. The COG forces and the Locust continue to battle, each side desiring the complete destruction of the other.

The campaign mode of the series has focused on the character of Marcus Fenix, a COG soldier formally imprisoned for abandoning his duty post during the early Locust attacks to save his father, Adam Fenix, a key scientist studying the Locust. At the start of the first game, Marcus is rescued from the abandoned prison facility by his best friend, Dominic "Dom" Santiago, who had lost his wife Maria during the Locust attacks and has been looking for her since. Marcus, after his rescue, is readmitted to the COG force and promoted to lead Delta Squad. They are later joined by Augustus Cole, a star "thrashball" player before Emergence Day, and Damon Baird, the squad's mechanic.

GameplayEdit

Gears of War is a third person shooter game, with its core concepts being derived from Resident Evil 4's "over the shoulder" perspective, kill.switch's cover system, and Bionic Commando's swinging action akin to moving between points of cover.[4] The series focuses on using cover to tactically engage the enemy in battle to avoid taking damage. While behind cover, the player can fire blindly and inaccurately at their opponent, or can look around the cover and aim carefully, though exposing himself to enemy fire; the player can also sidle along cover, move between nearby cover, or vault over cover to race to a new point of cover. While “roadie-running” if a player hits a piece of cover, they will automatically slam into cover against it. As the player takes damage, the "Crimson Omen" appears on the HUD, becoming more defined as the player nears low health levels. The player can regenerate their health by staying out of harm’s way for a short bit. Should the player take too much damage, they will become incapacitated unless revived by a teammate; depending on game mode, the player may be able to recover from this state on their own, or may die after a short amount of time if not revived. When a combatant is down, a member of the other side may also attempt to execute the downed player via a "curb stomp" or other brutal method. Some types of damage will immediately kill the player with no chance of revival, such as explosive damage or a headshot.

Players in Gears can only carry four different weapons: one pistol-type weapon, up to four grenades of a specific type, and two other weapons which include assault rifles, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers. Players can either obtain ammo or swap out their current weapons with any weapon dropped by a downed foe or from those scattered around the various maps. Most weapons feature the "Active Reload" ability: either after a weapon has run out of an ammo clip or when the player starts a manual reload, a meter is shown on screen, and the player can attempt to stop the meter in a certain marked area. If the player stops the meter in the marked area, their reload will be completed faster than if they didn't attempt an Active Reload, and if the player can stop the meter at a specific section of the marked area, they will gain a slight damage boost with each reloaded shot. If the player stops the meter outside this area, their gun will become temporarily jammed and slow down the reload time. While most of the weapons are based on standard shooter archetypes, Gears' signature weapon is the Lancer, an assault rifle that has a mounted chainsaw bayonet which can be used in close quarters combat to instantly kill a foe. The chainsaw bayonet, however, will lower itself if the player is taking damage. Most other weapons also can be used to bash opponents in melee, or in the case of grenades, can be stuck to a foe, exploding a few seconds later.

Both Gears games feature a single player mode that can be played co-operatively with one other player. The two players take the roles of two COG soldiers, Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago, respectively, as they fight the Locust. At various times, the campaign will offer a choice of paths the first player can select; if the second player is present, they will forced to take the other path. In these areas, both players generally have to work together to get them both through the section, such as by one player providing covering fire while the second player opens a switch that allows the first player to then proceed. The campaign mode features several levels of difficulties.

The competitive multiplayer mode in both games feature up to ten players split between COG and Locust forces in a number of gameplay types. Modes include "Warzone" and "Execution", both similar to a typical deathmatch, and "Annex" and "King of the Hill" where teams have to control a marked zone on the map.

Main CastEdit

character Game
Gears of War Gears of War 2 Gears of War 3 RAAM's Shadow
Marcus Fenix John DiMaggio
Dominic Santiago Carlos Ferro
Augustus Cole Lester Speight
Damon Baird Fred Tatasciore
Victor Hoffman Jamie Alcroft
Anya Stroud Nan McNamara
Locust Queen Myrrah Carolyn Seymour
Franklin John DiMaggio  ;
Hanley Peter Jason  ;
Chaps Robin Atkin Downes  ;
Adam Fenix  ; Charles Cioffi Peter Renaday
Jace Stratton  ; Nolan North Michael B. Jordan Justin Shaw
Samantha Byrne  ; Claudia Black
Minh Young Kim Robin Atkin Downes  ; Robin Atkin Downes
Anthony Carmine Michael Gough  ;
General RAAM Dee Bradley Baker  ;
Gyules Bruce DuBose  ;
Benjamin Carmine  ; Michael Gough
Tai Kaliso Fred Tatasciore Fred Tatasciore
Dizzy Wallin  ; Peter Jason
Skorge  ; Dee Bradley Baker  ;
Richard Prescott  ; Charles Cioffi Dwight Schultz
Maria Santiago  ; Courtney Ford  ;
Niles Samson  ; Robin Atkin Downes  ;
Bernadette Mataki  ; Tess Masters
Clayton Carmine  ; Michael Gough
Aaron Griffin  ; Ice-T
Michael Barrick  ; Rick Wasserman
Alicia Valera  ; Laura Bailey

GamesEdit

Gears of WarEdit

Main article: Gears of War

Gears of War is a tactical third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was initially released as an exclusive title for the Xbox 360 on November 7, 2006 in North America, and on November 17, 2006 in Europe.[5] Gears of War follows Delta Squad's efforts to help deploy a Lightmass bomb deep in the Locust tunnels to wipe out the Locust threat.

Gears of War 2Edit

Main article: Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2 is a tactical third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios.[6] It is the sequel to Gears of War, and was announced by lead designer Cliff Bleszinski during the February 20, 2008 Game Developers Conference. The game uses a heavily upgraded version of the Unreal Engine 3.[7] Gears of War 2 takes place after the first game, where the Locust are now attempting sink Jacinto Plateau, and the COG forces have decided to launch a counter-offensive to stop them before they can complete their attempt.

Gears of War 3Edit

Main article: Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3 is a tactical third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios and is the conclusion to the Gears of War Trilogy. Gears of War 3 takes places 2 years after the second game, Marcus and his team have to combat the growing threat of the Lambent and rescue his father Adam Fenix from the Locust Horde. The game was released on September 20th, 2011.

Gears of War: JudgmentEdit

Main article: Gears of War: Judgment

Gears of War: Judgment is a tactical third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games and Epic Games Poland and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Gears of War: Judgment is the fourth game in the Gears of War franchise. The Campaign is a prequel to the first game, it takes you back to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day and revolves around the trial of Kilo Squad, including Lt.Damon Baird and Pvt.Augustus Cole, as they are accused of treason after a battle against the Locust in Halvo Bay.

MusicEdit

Main article: Gears of War Soundtrack

The video game music for Gears of War was composed by Kevin Riepl, who has previously worked with Epic Games on soundtracks for Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Championship.[8]

Main article: Gears of War 2 Soundtrack

In Gears of War 2, the music was composed by Steve Jablonsky.[9] He was confirmed to be returning to compose Gears of War 3 at the 2010 Comic-Con International in San Diego.[10]

AdaptationsEdit

BooksEdit

Main article: Books

Epic Games and Del Ray announced on July 21, 2008, that a book series based on Gears of War would be published. The first three books are published by Del Ray with the fourth and fifth planned to be published by Gallery Books. All the books are written by Karen Traviss[11]

ComicsEdit

Main article: Gears of War: Comic Series

Epic Games and DC Comics announced on April 18, 2008, that a comic book based on Gears of War would be published. The comic is published under DC's Wildstorm imprint and is written by Joshua Ortega (Issues #1 - #14) and Karen Traviss (Issue #15 onwards), with art by Liam Sharp (Issues #1 - #13) and Leonardo Manco (Issue #14 onwards).[12][13][14]

FilmEdit

Main article: Gears of War (film)

On March 20, 2007, it was announced that New Line Cinema had purchased the rights to make a Gears of War film, with Stuart Beattie writing the script along with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, who will be producing it.[15] Producer Wyck Godfrey said of the film adaptation, "I'm not a gamer, but what blew me away about Gears was how it captures the mythology of a war mission and how high the stakes are."[16] On August 3, 2007, AICN.com reported that Len Wiseman was to direct the movie adaptation of Gears of War.[17] though on March 30, 2007, Godfrey stated that they have "a director we're about to attach" in order to film the movie during 2009 and release in 2010.

Wiseman was officially signed on in June 2008 with Chris Morgan performing script rewrites.[18] Morgan hinted on G4's televised coverage of Comic Con 2008 that the film would be a prequel to the first game, "it could explain how Marcus (Fenix) got his scar."[19] According to Morgan, Wiseman "wants to make it as realistic as possible, and to blur those lines where your mind says, 'Oh, it's a big CGI film.[20]

Production started to get complicated in 2010 when the budget was cut down and Les Wiseman left prodcution.[21]

MerchandiseEdit

Main article: Gears of War Merchandise

TriForce Sales has obtained a license from Epic Games to create full-scale replicas of the armor and weapons from the game, with assistance of sculptor Sid Garrand of Nightmare Armor Studios. The units will be available for advanced order in July 2008.[22]

In July 2007,[23] NECA announced they would be producing Gears of War merchandise, including action figures. The first series, available in the second quarter of 2008, included Augustus Cole, a Locust Drone, a Locust Sniper and Marcus Fenix.[24]

Mindzeye Studios has created foot high statues of Gears of War characters.[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://twitter.com/#!/therealcliffyb/status/124541868754223104
  2. Gears of War 2 booklet
  3. Destroyed Beauty pg 1
  4. GameSpot - GDC 07: Cliffy B disassembles Gears, mentions sequel (accessdate=2007-07-05)
  5. No Gears of War release for Germany (publisher=GamesIndustry.biz; date=2006-10-19; accessdate=2006-10-19)
  6. Gears of War 2: Epic's tactical shooter gears up for round two (publisher=GamePro; accessdate=April 2008)
  7. Gametrailers.com - Epic Games - GDC 2008: Unreal Engine Tech Demo (publisher=Gametrailers.com; accessdate=2008-11-03)
  8. Review of "Gears of War" soundtrack (publisher=Movie Music UK,by Jonathan Broxton; accessdate=2007-08-20)
  9. Gears of War 2 Soundtrack News (date=2008-10-07; accessdate=2008-11-28; publisher=IGN)
  10. http://g4tv.com/comiccon2010/panels-and-live-blogs/gears-of-war-3/77 G4: Gears Of War 3 Comic-Con 2010 Panel
  11. http://uk.xbox360.ign.com/articles/892/892316p1.html
  12. Epic Games and DC Plan Gears of War Comic Book (date=2008-04-18; accessdate=2008-04-18; publisher=Shacknews; by Aaron Linde)
  13. Ortega & Sharp on Gears of War Comic, Newsarama, July 24, 2008
  14. Sharp's Exclusive Gears of War Comic News, Comicon, August 11, 2008
  15. title=Gears of War Novel Update. Movie Script Confirmed (date=2008-01-02; publisher=TeamXbox; accessdate=2008-06-01)
  16. IGN: Gears of War Gearing Up at New Line (publisher=Movies.ign.com; author=IGN Staff; accessdate=2008-10-27)
  17. Len Wiseman officially announced as "Gears of War" director (publisher=Cinema Confidential; date=2008-06-17; accessdate=2008-09-21)
  18. Wiseman suits up for 'Gears of War', June 16, 2008
  19. A Day In The Life: Chris Morgan(publisher=G4tv.com; author=Jonathan Hunt; date=July 24, 2008; accessdate=2008-09-21)
  20. 'Gears Of War' Screenwriter Aims For 'Gritty And Real' Big-Screen Version Of Video Game (date=2008-10-29; publisher=MTV; accessdate=2008-10-30)
  21. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2010/04/gears-of-war-len-wiseman-delayed.html
  22. Company to Produce Wearable Gears of War Armor, Weapon Replicas (date=2008-05-30; publisher=Shacknews)
  23. NECA signs with Epic Games
  24. Gears of War: Marcus Fenix
  25. "GI's 2008 Holiday Buying Guide," Game Informer 188 (December 2008): 40.

External linksEdit

Gears of War series
Gears of War Trilogy: Gears of War () • Gears of War 2 () • Gears of War 3 ()
Other Games/Expansions: RAAM's ShadowGears of War: Judgment ()
Books: Aspho FieldsJacinto's RemnantAnvil GateCoalition's EndThe SlabKilo Squad: The Survivor's Log
Comics: HollowBarrenDirty Little SecretsStand-Alone Issues
Booklets and Guides: Destroyed BeautyBeneath the SurfaceThe Art of Gears of WarThe Art of Gears of War 3The Poster Collection
Other Media: Gears of War (film)Gears of War: ExileGears of War: The Board GameGears of War: Tactics

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