Pre-order Gears of War: The Card Game now for the April release! The fate of Sera is in your hands, soldier.
Welcome to Gears of War: a heroic history!
As a lifelong fan of the franchise, I’m taking a walk down memory lane (or – more appropriately – perhaps Blood Drive) and all the different Gears adventures over the years, culminating in our upcoming release of Gears of War: The Card Game!
I’ll also give you some exclusive details about our new card game, including its mechanics and more!
Anyway, that’s 17 years of Gears history to get our teeth into… So, we better get cracking!
The Original Trilogy: Gears of War (2006), Gears of War 2 (2008), Gears of War 3
What a way to kick things off!
Gears of War’s opening trilogy follows the OGs of Delta Squad – Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago, Damon Baird, and Augustus “Cole Train” Cole – as they face down the Locust threat against all odds.
It introduced pretty much everything we know and love about the Gears franchise: the chainsaw-wielding Lancer rifle, the gritty, sepia-stained landscape, the freakishly muscular, taciturn heroes, and the rest.
The original Gears of War was a flagship game for the hugely popular Xbox 360, and released to a rapturous reception in November 2006. With its top-of-the-line graphics, tight, cover-based gameplay, and consummate polish, it helped usher in a new era of console gaming.
It also had pretty memorable advertising!
In fact, when I originally interviewed for Steamforged Games a couple of years ago, I was asked: “If you could have written one marketing campaign, what would it be?”
The answer was obvious (well, to me, anyway): Gears of War.
I can remember the television ad they ran like it was yesterday!
In an age of prosaic, on-the-nose adverts for shooters, you might’ve expected Gears of War – with its gritty setting and gruff, muscle-bound heroes – to follow suit.
But what they actually put out would change video game advertising forever:
Ok, there’s still footage of Marcus spraying bullets at a Corpser, but the overall tone is melancholic, reflective, and weirdly moving thanks to Joseph Kosinski’s direction and Gary Jules’ ‘Mad World’ cover playing behind it.
Honestly, watching it now takes me straight back to the years of being an angsty teen with a video game addiction…
Over the next few years, Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3 developed on the sterling work of the debut, with a lush campaign taking us far below ground into the heart of the Locust capital in the second instalment, and the introduction of the crazed, explosive lambent in Gears of War 3.
These iterations really pushed the envelope of online gaming with stellar maps and tense, frenetic gameplay.
The third game also brought us one of the saddest moments in gaming history, of course. You know the one I mean…
*Wipes tear from eye*
I asked colleagues from Steamforged Games about their recollection of the original trilogy, and I got a number of glowing, nostalgia-drenched responses:
Fraser McFetridge, Game Designer
"The original Gears of War was my first experience of a next gen game, and it completely blew me away. Pulling all nighters with 3 mates, fueled by cheap energy juice and determination, passing the controllers between us trying to beat RAAM on insane difficulty is still one of the memories that define my secondary school years."
Mike Appleton, Customer Support
“I literally didn't go to college for a week when Gears of War was released.”
Russ Charles, Lead Sculptor
“Gears of War was my first Xbox game and the one my brother in law and I played incessantly together while he was away in Korea.”
Jamie Perkins, Product Owner
"There was nothing out there like Gears of War. The tactical game play fascinated me, and still does!"
So many happy memories!
The Second Coming: Gears of War 4 (2016), Gears 5 (2019)
These excellent games signalled several departures for the series.
Firstly, a departure from our favourite Delta Squad foursome. Although most of them do still feature in these games, the focus is on Marcus’s son, JD, and his friends Del and Kait.
And the gang aren’t fighting Locust anymore. After humanity’s victory at the end of Gears of War 3, the Coalition of Ordered Governments (usually just called COG) have installed a totalitarian government to control and repress the remaining population.
JD, Del, and Kait battle the COG’s robotic DeeBee soldiers in their attempts to undermine this new, authoritarian regime.
But a new threat emerges. As well as robot combatants, the heroes must contend with the Swarm – a horde of terrifying creatures formed from metamorphosed Locust bodies.
Big changes were also made behind the scenes. The series parted ways with Epic Games and the direction of Cliff Bleszinski, instead being developed by The Coalition and published by Xbox Game Studios.
But – as well as significant differences to the original trilogy – these sequels also signalled a rousing return to the form for the franchise. The advancement of the story with new characters was a particular highlight.
And who expected that final twist?
The Spin-offs: Gears of War: Judgment (2013), Gears Tactics (2020)
Both very solid games in their own right, these games took a sidestep from the events of the main story.
Gears of War: Judgment came out after the original trilogy wrapped up. But rather than coming after the events of the Locust War, Judgment is a prequel of sorts. It tells the story of wise-cracking, sarcastic Baird and the inimitable Cole Train’s experience at Emergence Day, when the Locust first burst from the earth’s crust to terrorise humanity. It brought more of what fans loved in terms of tight, cover-based gameplay, as well as fleshing out the stories and personalities of these much-loved characters.
Unlike Judgment, Gears Tactics departed from the tried-and-true third person shooter formula in favour of a top-down, turn-based tactics game where players control a squad of human soldiers in their efforts to defeat the Locust and complete various strategic objectives.
Similarly to Judgment, it’s set before the events of the original trilogy, telling the story of Alpha Squad and a hardy civilian militia. A few familiar faces – like Chairman Prescott – come along for the ride, too.
Both games enjoyed a positive reception and developed the Gears backstory to great effect.
Gears of War: The Card Game (2023)
So, now it’s the bit you’ve been waiting for…
Let’s find out some more about Gears of War: The Card Game!
Let’s set the scene:
The world teeters on the brink of utter annihilation. Subterranean hordes have devastated cities and consumed entire nations. In the fifteen years since Emergence Day, when the vicious Locust revealed themselves, humanity’s war has been a losing one. What’s left of mankind fights for survival against overwhelming odds.
The Fate of Sera in the Palm of Your Hand
First of all, we’re beyond excited to finally be bringing you the game after COVID-related delays. In the end, it just wasn’t possible to get it out any sooner than early 2023.
But, as they say, good things come to those who wait!
Gears of War: The Card Game centres on the events of Gears of War – that is to say, the first game.
So, if you’re hoping to catch sight of your favourite members of Delta Squad – and iconic villains like General RAAM – you’re in luck!
Now let’s take a look at the mechanics.
As avid fans ourselves, we were dedicated to bringing the classic Gears experience to our card game. And it’s fair to say we’ve succeeded, with tense battles focused around cover and suppressing fire.
Gears of War: The Card Game sees two players go head-to-head – with one taking control of the COG forces and the other representing the Locust – to fight for the fate of Sera.
Marshal your battle-hardened veterans and take the fight to the enemy as the COG. Your numbers are few, but those that remain are your most capable soldiers. Close emergence holes with a barrage of frag grenades and dominate the battlefield with Raven gunships and when all else fails, unleash the Hammer of Dawn.
Take control of the Locust Horde and snuff out the last pockets of humanity. Your forces are ferociously aggressive and seemingly limitless. Throw wave after wave of Wretches and Drones to weaken the enemy before you press your advantage with Boomers and Theron Guards. How can you lose?
Managing the cards in your hand is the key to success. Each card can only be played when you have a specific number of cards in your hand. Holding too many or too few could spell disaster! Fill the table with units and dominate the battlefield. Deal damage to the enemy player to force them to draw (or discard) cards from their deck. Once their deck is empty you win the game!
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s journey through Gears of War’s decorated 17-year history! I guess there’s just one thing left to ask…
Who wants toast?
Don’t forget, Gears of War: The Card Game is coming out on 10th April 2023, so get your pre-orders in now. Bring it on, sucker!