This is the year for Gears of War, with the Gears 5 release date (so far) set firmly in 2019. The fact that it's out this year is as much detail as we have means there's no way of knowing exactly when the Gears 5 release is, although realistically expect Microsoft to aim one of its only big exclusives squarely at the holidays.
In the meantime expect some new info as the year gets underway to back up that 2019 Gears 5 release date. Chances are we'll be looking at seeing something big at this year's E3, likely a ton of gameplay, maybe even a surprise Gears 5 demo. Like I said, it's one of Microsoft's only big exclusives on Xbox and a core franchise for the console.
At this stage the latest info all comes from November 2018's XO18 show in Mexico where Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson promised "a bunch of innovations, a bunch of changes, a bunch of things that are really exciting and different but still feel like Gears of War."
Ferguson explained that after keeping Gears of War 4 true to the classic games so the studio could prove it could do "an authentic Gears of War experience", Gears 5 is would be all about "bringing The Coalition’s personality to the game".
To find out more about what that means, read on and see what else Ferguson had to say and what else we know about Gears 5 and its imminent return.
Gears 5 release date is some time in 2019
There's still little to reveal after the initial E3 reveal, other than the game will be released in 2019. It's a broad date admittedly but Microsoft are probably playing it safe with a 12 month window to aim for rather than announcing a month that moves around as it gets closer. Don't get your hopes up for much before Christmas though; it's likely to be one of Xbox One's biggest games of 2019 which almost certainly guarantees it'll be aiming for holiday shaped window.
Gears 5 gameplay will be a "dramatic contrast" to previous games and might have a new focus on speed
For a game famous for big heavy men trundling along like boulders with legs, Gears 5's E3 reveal was a revelation in terms of speed and more immediate hand to hand combat. Okay, no one's saying this is going to be Devil May Cry 5, but the addition of things like a Locust mace to smash things certainly improves the combat situation with some serious, weighty heft, and gloriously bloody blows.
Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson is promising "a bunch of innovations, a bunch of changes, a bunch of things that are really exciting and different but still feel like Gears of War". All talk that sounds like big changes are on the way for the usual Gears of War template.
Gears 5 trailer brings heavy emotion, a shaken-up dynamic, and stunning environments
I'm not going to spoil anything here, just watch it. It's bloody great.
Gears 5 story is all about Kait this time
"When we looked at the story for Gears 5, we were sort of delving into Kait’s past and her history, her family ties to the locusts, we felt like that’s a better story to not just witness but tell from her perspective," explains Coalition studio head Rod Ferguson.
In practice what we've seen so far suggests things seem to have moved on a fair bit from Gears 4. The team dynamic seems rather fractured, with JD becoming colder, having settled in to a militaristic leader role, while the team struggles to maintain its friendship under continued adversity.
Following a bereavement, Kait reveals that she's been having dreams guiding her, in some way related to the Locust necklace belonging to her grandmother. Marcus and Del want to help Kait, JD doesn't, and so the former three set off north, on an odyssey for answers leading them “back to where it all began”.
It's a continuation on from Gear of War 4's story which Ferguson a-likens to Mad Max: "when we went back and we looked at what the story of Gears of War 4 was, like with Mad Max Fury Road, that movie is really about Furiosa’s story and Mad Max is helping her complete her story, and Gears of War 4’s story is really Kait trying to save her mom and JD Fenix is helping her." As Gears 5 took shape Ferguson says "we realised Gears 5 is Kait’s story again, so let’s play it from her perspective."