Plans for Gears of War 4 were being drawn up at Epic Games before the company decided to go in a different direction. Fortunately, the spirit of that sequel will live on.
After Microsoft purchased the rights to the entirety of the Gears of War franchise, many longtime fans were initially concerned by the acquisition. Yes, former IP holder Epic Games had a less-then-stellar entry in the form of the prequel Gears of War: Judgment, but a change as massive as selling the property surely meant there would be some serious alterations to the beloved cover-based shooter series. Despite reports that Epic had firm plans to leave the franchise on the shelf for several years, it turns out that Gears of War 4 was at least in the planning stages at one point.
Speaking with Game Informer, The Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson revealed that there are a few major narrative elements of Epic’s original vision that have inspired Gears of War 4. The famed Gears overseers revealed this much, stating that “when I was at Epic, we had started some Gears 4 planning.”
“When I got here [to The Coalition], we realized really fast that with all these new perspectives on the series it was going to take a long time to do preproduction on the game, so I said, ‘Why don’t we tap into some of the work I was doing at Epic when I was working on Gears 4 there?’ We went back in and looked at what the team had done after I left, and it was not really in a place that I was happy with, so we actually rewound it to a point before I left.”
Once Gears of War had been obtained by Microsoft (becoming a first-party franchise in the process) the hardware manufacturer was granted every single asset that Epic Games had archived or created – including story and art concepts for its scrapped Gears 4. So, what did end up sticking in the final game? Well, the setting/25 year time lapse and the main protagonist being Marcus Fenix’s son. Heck, even the the hero’s name ‘JD’ was in the initial concept.
Furthermore, the newly surfaced Swarm threat was mentioned in some of the documents, although Fergusson admits that the name alone is what stuck for the new squad of baddies. After securing a title for the villains, The Coalition went about scrapping the original concepts and completely reinventing this newfound faction featured in Gears of War 4.
While it’s unknown at this time if this route will have paid off, there’s little denying that the title is one of the most hotly anticipated on any platform – let alone Xbox One. With Gears 4 also being teased for a PC release by Fergusson, it looks like a whole flock of gamers may end up seeing if Epic’s revamped vision for the game has panned out later this year.
Gears of War 4 will arrive exclusively for Xbox One in Fall 2016.