- "So you always have me with you... I love you, Dominic... Always, Maria."
- — The note Maria wrote for Dom on their picture of them in a bar.
Maria Santiago (née Flores) was the wife of Dominic Santiago. She was a childhood friend of the Santiagos and Marcus Fenix, and she would later date and marry Dom Santiago, shortly before giving birth to their first child, Benedicto Santiago, when they were both sixteen. They later had a second child two years later, named Sylvia Santiago. Maria's children, along with her parents, were killed on Emergence Day. That event would lead to her depression and eventual self exile. After years of being missing, she was finally found by her husband and Marcus Fenix in a Locust prison camp only to find that she had been "processed" and severely tortured to the point that she couldn't even recognize her own husband. Dom was forced to euthanize her to end her suffering, something he never recovered from.
Eventually the Flores moved into the city of Ephyra. When Maria was eleven years old, she'd moved in two doors down from the Santiago family. The youngest son, Dominic, would look forward to seeing her climb her front-yard tree. When he finally talked to her, they soon became good friends.
Teenage Years and Pendulum WarsEdit
Later, when they were teenagers, they began dating. One day Maria came to Dom saying she missed her period, which among other things led Dom to marry her, hoping to take responsibility for his actions and for his soon to grow family.
Maria and Dom were soon married and gave birth to a son, Benedicto, named after the middle name of Carlos Santiago. When Benedicto was born, Dom gave Maria a necklace to mark the birth of their son, one of the few key identifications of her. After spending several months with Maria and Benedicto, he soon enlisted into the COG to support his family - going against his mother's wishes. Before Dom left, he, Maria, and Carlos went to a bar off of Embry Square where Carlos took a picture of the couple, the one later used as Maria's search picture. Once Dom went to basic training, Maria mostly wanted to take care of Benedicto by herself.
A year later, she was pregnant with a girl. Maria only saw Dom once on his leave from the time Benedicto was born to when Syliva was soon due. Maria was awoken by Dom in the middle of the night, stressed and tired, but happy to see Dom. She and Dom spent the next week buying and building baby furniture for their expecting daughter, only to be called back early from leave. He promised Maria to be home when the baby was born. However, Maria went into premature birth, so Dom missed his daughter's birth. Maria had decided to name her Sylvia Carla, in honor of Carlos who died during Sylvia's birth in the Battle of Aspho Fields.
Aspho Fields and AftermathEdit
- "She's right, you are one in a million."
- — Telling Dom what Anya said about him
Due to the heroic actions of Maria's husband, Dom received the Embry Star and attended the ceremony. Maria later went to a formal dinner at the hotel with Dom, Marcus, Anya Stroud, Eva and Eduardo Santiago, and Adam Fenix. After Dom's parents left, Maria and Dom chose to rather be home with the kids. Maria told Dom she wasn't enthusiastic about the idea of a relationship between Marcus and Anya who were clearly attracted to each other and went home together, saying they'd get in trouble as she was an officer and Marcus was enlisted. However, Dom believed if they kept it to off-duty hours they'd be fine.
In the next two years, Dom was on majority leave and he spent more time with his family. Maria and Dom decided to move out of their apartment in Jacinto and into a house in the suburb of Ephyra. The Ephyra residence was a two-story Villa-style house, and Maria and Dom continued to live there for the next two years. By the end of of those two years, the Hammer of Dawn was used to end the Pendulum Wars, and Dom was given permanent leave, allowing Maria to be with her husband and kids together in their new home.
Emergence Day and Locust WarEdit
- "Dom? Dom? Dom you awake? I brought you breakfast! The kids are at my mother's, so we get the whole day to ourselves!"
- — Maria waking up her husband, Dom, on the morning of Emergence Day
The following six weeks after the end of the Pendulum Wars, Maria sent Benedicto and Sylvia to be with her parents while she and Dom would spend the whole day to themselves. Later on, Maria woke Dom with breakfast in bed and told him that she sent the kids to her parents. Unfortunately, this day was Emergence Day, where the Locust Horde emerged from underground and invaded every major city on Sera, including Ephyra.
After the Emergence across Sera, Maria and Dom discovered that their children have been killed by the Locust, along with Maria's parents. Both Maria and Dom were devastated, but Maria soon descended into depression while her husband stayed on the front-lines. This left Maria to be all alone, to only watch the news of the Locust incursions day by day and stay in the same house where her children lived. While unable to bury her children, Maria had her parents buried in her hometown, Mercy, in the family graveyard.
Hammer of Dawn CounterattackEdit
- "So you always have me with you. Don't let me go. Keep it in your pocket, please."
- — Maria giving Dom the photo of them so he has something to remember her by
One year after Emergence Day, Maria was still grieving over her children. While Dom was in grief, Maria was prescribed anti-depressants. Maria developed the routine of cleaning her children's bedrooms and then followed by walks in the city. She would go for weeks without speaking or eating. She spent years blaming herself for sending the kids to her parents’ apartment that day, thinking she let the Locust Horde get them.
After the anniversary of her kids and family's death, Dom had cooked dinner for Maria, Marcus, and himself while she ran the daily routines. Afterwards, when Dom was prepared to go back from leave, Maria went through the kitchen drawers and found the photo Carlos had taken of them at the bar in Embry Square. She signed on the back a note: "So you always have me with you... I love you, Dominic.... Always, Maria." She gave the photo to Dom and promised to always keep it safe, to remind him of her.
Following the anniversary of E-Day, the newly appointed Chairman Richard Prescott announced that that 90% of Sera was to be incinerated by the Hammer of Dawn. After the announcement, she was transported to Fenix Estate where Adam Fenix took care of her. Dom eventually got her to admit that she went on walks because she believed that the kids are still alive and that she saw them every day on her walks. She also blocked out the truth that her kids died and didn't listen to Dom. Maria risked her health to go outside to see them again after the Hammer drop - the event that lead to the constant pollution cloud all over Sera.
Living with the StrandedEdit
- "Maybe she was... with one of the other groups that came down before, Stu's group I think, but Stu and them got captured."
- — Chaps informing Dom that she was in a Stranded group
Maria's depression soon led to her self exile, thus leaving Dom and found herself living with the Stranded. During the year after the Hammer Strikes, Maria went out on one last venture to find her children, but ended up leaving entirely. Dom would speculate what happen to Maria during this time and hoped that she was taken care of by the Stranded, theorizing she was with people that loved her and took care of her. Eventually Maria wound up with Stranded group lead by Stu in Ephyra.
After the Lightmass Bomb, the surface became a dangerous issue for all Stranded, and some began to camp underground in the outskirts of Locust areas. Maria and Stu's group went underground to escape the constant fighting and attack raids on Stranded Camps by the Locust. They soon fled into the Hollows beneath the safety of Mount Kadar. Only then did Maria's group camp on the shore by the lake to wait for Stu's friend, Chaps.
At some point they were captured by the Locust and Maria along with her group were taken across the lake to the prison camps on the Locust Highway. There she was put to labor and deprived of valuable resources, ultimately being put in a machine that cuts in the tear duct of the left eye (explaining the crescent scar under her left eye) and began to scrape at brain matter. This began the process of her lobotomy, making her a mindless slave to the Locust Horde.
- "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, Maria... I love you, so much."
- — Dom's last words to Maria before she is euthanized
In the events of Operation: Hollow Storm, Dom and Marcus went on a detour searching for Maria after they received a helpful lead from Chaps who was a witness to her capture by the Locust, and told them that Maria had been imprisoned near the Locust Highway. Desperate to save his wife, Dom convinced Marcus to go off-mission to rescue Maria. Dom and Marcus fought through to her prison near the highway. Arriving at the prison, Dom and Marcus find the first real proof of Maria's location by accessing her files in the Locust terminals.
After searching through the prison and fighting off the Locust guards, JACK found Maria's cell. Dom had finally found Maria, but after a brief moment of confusion, Dom found Maria in the current state she was in: emaciated, tortured, and broken in every way. Marcus allowed Dom to do the "right" thing, and left them alone so Dom could have a few minutes left with his wife. After apologizing for not finding her in time, Dom reached for his pistol and was forced to euthanize her, due to her suffering and lost sanity. He shot Maria in the head to end her pain, and took the necklace he gave her when their son was born. Dom continued with Marcus to Nexus to continue Operation: Hollow Storm.
- "Maria... baby I'm sorry I couldn't bring you home! But you're with the kids now, that's home, yeah? I'll see you all again some day. Look, Marcus is busy saving the world again so, I gotta be there for him. Sleep tight, sweetheart."
- — Dom in Mercy speaking the Flores Family Grave
Maria's death was an emotional toll on Dom - causing him to lose his optimistic personality, growing a more cold, pessimistic outlook on life. Dom's friends gave their condalscences and assured him that euthanizing her was the right thing to do, but Dom blamed himself for not finding her in time and believed that she could have been saved, that euthanizing her might have been a mistake.
However, Dr. Isabel Hayman had theories and believed that Maria had ataxia, dystonia, nystagmus, bradykinesia, ocular toxin deposition and said none of those diseases were curable and that Maria was slowly dying, as well as being in a permanent vegetative state due to the lobotomy the Locust put her through. Dr. Hayman assured Dom that euthanizing her was the right thing to do and that nothing else could have been done.
As time went on, Dom came to accept Maria's death and hoped she was happy and loved when she lived with the Stranded before she was captured. Two years after her death, Dom still grieved over her death and the actions he took. Dom let himself grow a beard and took up tomato farming in order to care for something. To honor and remember Maria, he had fellow Gear Samantha Byrne modify his heart tattoo into an angelic Maria cradling the heart with her wings. During this, Samantha grew a romantic attachment to Dominic, but he was unable to reciprocate the same feelings.
During the Lambent Invasion, Dom lived on the CNV Sovereign and tried to go on with his life. The Lambent began to attack the ship when Sovereign was entering Lambent waters near Hanover Coast. Dom was reluctant to leaving his crops and radishes as if they were his family. As the Lambent boarded the Sovereign deck, he was concerned for the well being of his tomatoes and crops. When Sovereign crashed, they ventured to Anvil Gate to decode the late Prescott’s disk that would lead them to Adam Fenix so that he could end the Lambent pandemic.
After being tasked to get a submarine from Endeavour Naval Shipyard to Azura, Dom suggested they get fuel from Mercy or Char. Sam was concerned about Dom suggesting going to Maria’s hometown in Mercy. Though emotionally broken, Dom assured her he could handle it and they needed the fuel. When they arrived to Mercy, Dom began to remember Maria. Dom visited the Flores family grave and prayed to Maria that he was sorry for not saving her, but promised he would be with them soon - offering his COG tags and Maria's necklace to the grave.
When Delta finally got the fuel, they were cornered by Locust and Lambent. Due to his emptiness without Maria and love for Marcus, he drove a truck into the fuel tanks to kill all of the Lambent and Locust in the area, right after Dom prayed to Maria that he would have never thought it would end like this. Dom managed to save Marcus and Delta Squad, who were then able to reach Adam Fenix and end the Locust and Lambent War. Maria's legacy encouraged Dom to save the world.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Maria, typical of most parents, loved her children and husband. Maria, however, was independent. When Dom was in the army, she wanted to take care of Benedicto and Sylvia by herself without her mother's help. When her children were killed on Emergence Day, she entered into a phase of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder. She was later prescribed anti-depressants and showed some revealing side effects. She would cry every day while she still cleans the kids bedrooms and goes on walks believing she will still find them. She would go days without food or water and finally giving in to her loss, left the only safe place on Sera to live among the Stranded.
- "Now, Marcus and Anya... I know it looks like a good idea to you, but those two will never last beyond tonight. Don't try to fix it for them. And she's an officer, he's enlisted. They'll end up on a charge."
- — Maria pointing out why Anya and Marcus could never be together .
- "I need to find them. Bennie and Sylvie. I know I saw them. Just once, but they're out there, and they'll be so scared. I have to find them."
- — Maria stating why she needs to go out for a walk after her kids died.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Maria Santiago was voiced by Courtney Ford.
- Maria's death was Cliff Bleszinski's personal statement on Terri Schaivo and his belief in "right to death".
- Maria was indirectly mentioned in Gears of War with Dom mentioning he was "looking for someone", and Franklin's reply "No news on the lady, man." Her first appearances were in Gears of War 2 with a photograph, flashback and the Sourcebook in the Day One story.
- Maria and Dom can be seen in a photograph in the multiplayer map Mercy in Gears of War 3 after a bell rings somewhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. After the bell rings, the photograph can be found on the altar in the Sanctuary. If shot by a player when it appears, you can hear Dom weeping in the background.
- Along with Queen Myrrah, Maria is the only Gears game character model to not be represented in real-time gameplay.
- In Gears of War 3, Act 1, Chapter 2, after you retrieve Dom from his room, if you look towards his bed there is a cubby-like indent, like a shelf, where Dom apparently keeps some things. On the wall of the cubby is taped Dom's picture of Maria and him, marking that he did not get rid of it. Though since he left the room with Marcus, the picture was likely lost or destroyed along with the CNV Sovereign.
- The Slab (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War (First mentioned)
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (Mentioned only)
- Aspho Fields (First appearance)(Appears in flashback(s))
- Hollow (Mentioned only)
- One Day (Appears in flashback(s))
- Gears of War 2
- Jacinto's Remnant (Appears in flashback(s))
- Gears of War: Anvil Gate (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War: Coalition's End (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War 3 (Photo only) (Mentioned only)