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Gears Of War 5 is in Quite the Interesting Situation

The Coalition announced that Gears 5 would not include smoking of any kind. The developers behind the popular Microsoft exclusive have partnered up with Truth Initiative, which are an anti-smoking organization, to ensure no game coming forward from the studio features smoking of any kind.

Studio head of The Coalition, Rod Fergusson, was very open about how the effects of smoking affect his life, losing his dad at four when he was only 38, and plans on keeping his games from depicting smoking as long as he is with the company. Fans have been ensured that this wasn’t censorship of any kind because the game never included it to begin with.

Yet with Gears 5 about to launch in September, I can’t help but feel there are more pressing matters that should be addressed with the game.

Gears Of War has always had a dedicated multiplayer community, but the series is known for its single-player story and the fact you can play it with friends. However, with Gears 5 we have yet to see much of anything about the single-player campaign and have heard very little about it. Gears 5 had an intriguing campaign trailer at E3 2018 which showed a massive change in direction for the series, a new lead character introduced in Gears Of War 4, and an indication that exploration and melee combat will be featured more.

Since its reveal, however, the studio has gone quiet about the campaign but has, each chance it’s gotten, shown off the various multiplayer offerings the game will have. Many feel, myself included, that they should discuss the campaign instead of this anti smoking stance that had seemingly come out of nowhere. It’s a great cause and I commend them for it, but with the game being so close to releasing, they should be mentioning campaign length, showing off a never-before-seen mechanic, and/or revealing a new area in the campaign.

Out of all the games out there, Gears Of War doesn’t come to mind when discussing smoking. What does come to mind are giant automatic weapons with chainsaws attached.

I cannot lie, when I first heard about this stance and them promoting it, I could not for the life of me remember when or if a character ever smoked in the series. That sort of takes away from this announcement, it kind of lessens its potential Impact. Had it been the next Metal Gear Solid game, where smoking is heavily present and even used as a gameplay mechanic in prior entries, the announcement of no smoking would have had a lot more weight about it.

Not that it’s a bad thing, it just comes across as taking credit for something of little importance in the grand scheme of things for the Gears series. Especially when an M-rated game has a lot more in it that probably should be addressed. Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter. If they would have never mentioned this, no one would have noticed.

Personally, I like that The Coalition is taking a stance in raising awareness about one of the most deadly products out there.

More developers could raise awareness about other things they feel passionate against, but then, maybe, they shouldn’t be making an M-rated game. This sort of announcement could have been made after the game was released. It could have been revealed after the game’s modes were fully unveiled to gamers who are worried about other aspects of Gears 5.

The games that do have smoking, I’ve never interpreted it as glorifying. I’ve never smoked in my life and some of my favorite games include it. When I played Metal Gear Solid V and used the cigar to pass the time, I never felt any desire to run out to smoke.

The same with drinking. I’ve never drank but the characters do in Red Dead Redemption 2; this didn’t cause me a sudden desire to drink. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has been influenced by any medium to begin smoking and drinking, if they played it at the appropriate age. With that being said, if you’re influenced by these games then you probably shouldn’t be playing them.

I’m curious on what everyone else thinks about this decision by The Coalition. I honestly don’t care and am not affected by it either way. I have no problems with a developer being against something and taking a stance, I just wish they discussed it after all of their fans were satisfied with the information surrounding their game. It’s a little odd that an M-rated game would take a stance against something that has never been in the series, as far as I can tell, but the decision around it seems genuine. Game developers have the opportunities in their work to make a genuine difference in the world, they just need to be careful on how they approach it.


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  1. John Gould on August 16, 2019 at 9:22 am said

    “one of the most deadly products out there”? Hardly. It’s sad that he lost his dad when he was only 4, but I guarantee that was 99% genetics. If you’re not already genetically predisposed to lung cancer, heart disease, etc., smoking barely has any effect on life expectancy. If companies want to virtue-signal consistently, they should not depict drinking, driving a car or motorcycle, or stepping foot out of your house. All activities far more life-threatening than smoking. I’d much rather they concentrate on making the game fun to play rather than spending any time & effort on this sort of anti-life-enjoyment propaganda. It may seem like a small thing, just not having the characters smoke, but it’s these sorts of baby steps that have led to having a woman with a bionic arm on the front lines in Battlefield 5. Never compromise on art – never give them an inch.

    • Andrew Moss on August 17, 2019 at 8:13 am said

      Smoking has a very great effect on life expectancy. For someone to die of smoking related malignancy or cardiovascular complications at 38 is particularly young, and perhaps suggests some genetic predisposition to the effects of exposure, but this would have likely accelerated the mutagenic effects of the carcinogen. This is particularly true for conditions such as lung cancer, whose genetic basis is much less significant than environmental aetiology. There are some conditions where genetic predisposition is of almost singular importance, but these are rare. Essentially, smoking buggers up everything (even wound healing). Having said that, I certainly agree that this censorship of activities that may be harmful is nonsense, being essentially oppressive

  2. Little to no mention of the campaign, virtue signaling, and an emphasis on multiplayer when the previous installments were known for their story. It’s nothing more than a hollow cash grab. Expect microtransaction, with a weak story tacked on as an after thought.

    • Anthony Mileti on August 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm said

      Glad I picked up game pass on PC for $5.00 for 3 months. It will be worth that price. Not $60.00+ tho…what have they done to gears??….smhType text here…

  3. Next they’ll be pushing Phil Censor’s new anti-toxic language measures for the multiplayer aspect. Gears has become so milquetoast.

  4. Before writing another article, please take some time out to do some research.. if you did, you’d know that The Coalition plans to do a small exposé on the campaign at the end of the month right before release.. (shocking, I know). The MP was shown first because it will be the most played feature in the game, best foot forward, etc.

    Btw, they did have characters who smoked in the series but the smoking itself never really defined the characters.. it’s simple, they decided to take a stand against smoking – whether for personal reasons or profit it simply does not matter.

  5. I’ve never played a Gears game, nor have I ever owned an Xbox, so I know my input isn’t really that valuable, but while I think that the gaming having some “anti-smoking” stance when/if the games never really featured smoking isn’t that big a deal, I also think that not standing against more virtue signaling even for something so benign won’t just give future developers an excuse to do the same.

    It’s like with microtransactions. In and of themselves, they’re inherently bad, but developers and publishers have shown they have zero restraint when it comes to abusing them, and the same goes triple for injecting their politics. At best, it should be subtle if present at all. For instance, in the Resident Evil series, due to having a lighter as a personal item, it could be assumed that Leon was a smoker (as the same was true for Chris…and his smoking was censored out in the American release), but in later games when asked if he had cigarettes on him, Leon would state he only had gum, implying he quit between games. Of course, now he seems to be developing a drinking problem, so I suppose it’s not the best example, but the point still stands.

  6. BrigandBoy on August 16, 2019 at 8:13 pm said

    Remember when Gears was about huge muscled badasses with huge guns that feature chainsaws for bayonettes, and it was all about murdering aliens by the scores in order to save humanity?

    Apparently, the devs have forgotten because now it’s all about “sending a positive message.” Bleh.

  7. Backen Yourhole Brig on August 17, 2019 at 4:12 am said

    Hey Brigandbaby

    Locusts aren’t aliens. There have been at least 3 (out of about 10 recurring characters) regular muscled bad ass women through out 3 games.

    Apparently you don’t remember most of the games, all for a little clout on an anonymous forum.

    A not fan, scrambling for some LoLs about a game they’re unfamiliar. Bleh

  8. This article seems pretty spot on. Smoking was never featured prominently in the previous games. Hell, even in MGS smoking tended to drain your health. I’m more concerned about their shift in tone for the game, focusing more on Kait’s “journey of discovery.” I enjoyed the adrenaline fueled yet somber tone of the original trilogy. But, I suppose this new generation of “Gears” games aren’t made for me.

  9. Suck Mehoff on August 17, 2019 at 8:47 pm said

    Actually they are aliens because they are from another planet, dipshit.

    • I’m sure in their head those particular locusts were just “interstellar refugees” now born on this planet so attributed the planetary status and rights as the rest of us have…

      Calling them alien is basically racist, you racist.

  10. So what we have here is failure to communicate within the community from the coalition Army that smoking seems to be a big problem that cannot be resolved as far as it being part of tradition of why personally I like Excuse Me Love my gears from beginning to when it’s going to end hopefully not this time and hopefully not in my lifetime because I want my daughter to enjoy what I had when I had my experience with gears because it is what it is meaning the gears community comes across issues such asthe current issues at hand as it could lead to kids trying something they see and act on and act as if they have to be some badass they saw on their favorite game meaning just because you see kait’s father-in-law chiefing on a cigar or Dom doing the same thing or you know something stupid deep simple that could change the way gears was intended to be like,so now they are going to have to start ALL over again and null a simple oversight that can be taken either way (smoking 🚬 in my mind is just at that time was a fad and it didn’t influence me to smoke as it was my own choice to) ie the gears franchise… unfortunately they are a big influence on the player that plays their favorite role model on the gears franchise with the exception of “M rating” being that… M rating is MATURE rating and thatkids are spoiled and get what they want and you can’t stop them from playing it behind the elders backs, cause you know that they will play and are going to play the eye appealing game(s) they do so that being said parents just don’t give a fuck about how their kids get involved with the appealing games or food or whatever the case may be
    it is what it is so put up or STFU n suck it up
    yes i do care what my daughter deals with in the gaming community and in real life but if she can’t deal then i got her back ten fold(💯x infinity)… i trust her judgment on how she deals with things in her life
    2 words people… COMMON fuckin SENSE

  11. apoliticalmyass on August 18, 2019 at 7:53 am said

    Oh yeah, this article isn’t political at all.

  12. LordLebaraReturns on August 18, 2019 at 7:04 pm said

    The more important question here is whether or not Marcus JR. Bleached Kait. Cause she looks a lot bigger in this and that’s either because she has a couple sugar cookies of her own running around or she’s got one in the oven.

    Also what’s the Patreon so I can throw some money around here?

  13. I have never had a desire to smoke but I have also never had an issue with smoking in any form unless its around me or children but the timing of this announcement seems to be more for causing controversy than an actual good deed.

  14. It’s smoking in a video game. Cop on.
    Oh but the person who is censoring this in Gears 5 wanted to censor this in all the Gears games including the first one. So it’s okay now lol.

    Smoking in games and movies can look cool when it’s the right character. Looking at fellow 13 year olds in school, nearly 30 years ago, choking over by the car park smoking……willingly …… was fucking hilarious and pathetic. Learn the difference.

  15. Virtue signalling should never come as a surprise. It’s the modern day equivalent of the peace symbol.

    The flags of the cult of virtue have also found their way into the game, along with other, very obvious changes to “direction”.

    Gameplay itself sounds good, visuals look great, it’s just a shame the gaming industry is currently so aligned to the cult of virtue right now.

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