- "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 Dom. She was a childhood friend of the Santiagos and Marcus Fenix, and she would later date and marry Dominic 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 and eventually having sex. 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, naming their son after the middle name of Dom's brother, Carlos. 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. 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 Syliva, only to be called back early from leave. He promised Maria to be home when Syliva was born. However, Maria went into premature birth, so Dom missed Sylvia's birth. Maria had decided to name Sylvia's middle name after Carlos, in the form of Sylvia Carla Santiago.
Aspho Fields and AftermathEdit
- "She's right, you are one in a million."
- — Telling Dom what Anya said about him
Sylvia was born in the wake of the Battle of Aspho Fields. In that event Maria and Dom lost Carlos. Due to the heroic actions of Maria's husband, Dom received the Embry Star and attended the ceremony. Maria attended a formal dinner at a hotel with Dom, Marcus, Anya Stroud, Eva, Eduardo Santiago, and Adam Fenix. After Dom's parents left, the entire dinner still remained silent and uncomfortable. Realizing this, Maria and Dom chose to rather be home with the kids. Maria also 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. Two years later, Maria and Dom decided to move out of their crowded apartment in Jacinto and into a house in the suburb of Ephyra. The Ephyra residence was a beautiful two-story Villa-style house, and Maria and Dom would live here with the kids, hoping for the best of an average Tyran Family, until Emergence Day.
- "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
Before E-Day occurred, Maria and Dom have just rented their first house. Six weeks after the end of the Pendulum Wars, Maria and the kids were reunited with Dom on permanent leave. On the following morning, 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 mother's.
Unfortunately, this day was Emergence Day. After the Emergence across Sera, Maria and Dom soon 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. Later on, Maria had her parents be buried at 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, her eyes were red and puffy from crying every day. While Dom was in grief, Maria was prescribed anti-depressants. Maria developed the routine of cleaning their children bedroom's, nap, and then followed by a walk. She would go for weeks without speaking or eating. She spent years blaming herself for sending the kids to her parents’ house that day, thinking she let the Locust Horde get them.
After the anniversary of her kids and family's death, Maria was called out of the bedroom by Dom. Dom had cooked dinner for Maria, Marcus, and himself while she ran the daily routines. Before dinner was ready, Maria was happy to have Marcus' company, but fell asleep. After Dom had showed Marcus the bedrooms she had made, she woke up and had dinner with Marcus and Dom. 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.
After the announcement of the Hammer Protocol, she was transported to Fenix Estate where Adam Fenix took care of her. Dom eventually got her to admit that she goes on walks because she believes that the kids are still alive and that she sees them every day on her walks. She also blocks out the truth that her kids are dead and does not listen to Dom. She actually 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 and receiving leads from people. Eventually, Dom 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 to her prison near the highway after finding the entrance. Reaching the prison, Dom and Marcus find the first real proof of Maria's location when they found her mug shot in a Locust terminal. Searching through the prison and after fighting off a Locust patrol, Dom and Marcus locate Maria's prison canister and hold off a massive Locust attack as they prepare to open it.
After the firefight, Dom orders JACK to open the cell where Maria is. Once JACK opens the pod, Dom wanted to see Maria healthy and beautiful like before the E-Day assaults. Dom went into disbelief, until Marcus shakes Dom from his hallucination. Dom wakes and finds her 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 a few minutes apologizing that he failed her, Dom reached for his pistol and was forced to euthanize her, due to her suffering and lost sanity. His last moments were him apologizing to her. 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 the Nexus.
- "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 a toll on Dom and even the emotionally-cold Marcus. The final moments of her life turned the charismatic Dom into a cold machine, sending him on a killing frenzy in the Nexus. Dom's love for her caused him to temporarily abandon the mission. During the aftermath of the sinking of Jacinto, Dom tells Augustus Cole (and Damon Baird by proximity) that he had to kill her. Later, Marcus tells Bernadette Mataki, who is shocked and tries to tell everyone, including Anya and Col.Victor Hoffman not to talk about her. Many people had been looking for her, and were saddened and shocked by her death. Dom kept blaming himself for not finding her in time, and thought he had made a mistake killing her instead of taking her to a hospital. He loved her so much that he took her necklace and tied it around his COG tag. One day, Dominic sits on the beach and thinks about Maria. He thinks about the new life she started and that someone had found her and loved her, he feared someone might have married her. But he still misses her. He begins seeing people as Maria as she saw Bennie and Sylvia; he saw a woman outside a bar that resembled her but turns out to be nothing like her. He was curious about what had happened to Maria and why she was like the way he found her. Dr.Isabel Hayman had theories that Maria may have had ataxia, dystonia, nystagmus, bradykinesia, ocular toxin deposition and she said none of those diseases were curable and that Maria was slowly dying. Dom had also questioned himself the scars on her scalp, but no one had any idea what it was. From research, apparently Maria was lobotomized - the Locust removed her scalp and revealed her brain. The Locust probably used this as a torture technique as well as to subdue the masses into tame slaves. Now, Dom has nothing left but singing her favorite songs, wear her necklace, look at pictures and just remembering her.
Still, nearly two years after her death, Dom still grieves over the death of his wife, leaving him traumatized as Maria was when she lost the children. Dom has let himself go, growing a beard and no longer caring about himself. He now grows attachments to his friends and meaningless objects like growing plants. To honor and remember her death, Dom had fellow Gear Sam Byrne modify his tattoo of Maria, which she reworks into an image of Maria as an angel, staring up to the sky.
During the Lambent Invasion, Dom had only memories, photos, and regret. Dom had almost accepted death as a gift. Due to his thought of inability to care for family and Maria, he grew attached to mending vegetation and farming as if they were Maria and the kids. By the time he was evacuated to CNV Sovereign, he had a cabin all to himself and used it as a vegetable garden.
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 and Prescott died, they ventured to Anvil Gate to decode Prescott’s disk. 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 declared he could handle it and they need the fuel.
When they arrived to Mercy, Dom began remembering Maria again, how she grew up in Mercy and her parents being buried in the Flores’ family grave. He became depressed and silent when he ventured through Mercy with Delta. And as they reached the Flores grave, Dom kneeled to an angelic statue and “spoke” to Maria how sorry he was for not finding her alive, but found solitude that she was with Benedicto and Sylvia. And he finally said he would see her again one day, but by being there for Marcus first, and told Maria to sleep tight. And then he placed his COG tag with Maria’s necklace attached to the angelic statue. 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 said to Maria that she would never thought it would end like that.
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.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant
- ↑ Beneath the Surface
- ↑ Gears of War: Aspho Fields
- ↑ Gears of War: Sourcebook
- ↑ Gears of War 2
- ↑ Gears of War 2 - instead of following the Highway Marcus and Dom enter the dam and find human slaves
- ↑ https://twitter.com/therealcliffyb/status/635974096392716288