The curtains around Gears of War 4 are finally being pulled back. The Xbox One exclusive shooter, which is still not announced for PC yet, graces the April cover of Game Informer, and the first details were revealed Tuesday. Questions on who the new characters introduced at the E3 reveal last year have finally been answered along with confirmation of co-op play.
The Gears of War 4 main protagonist has a very direct tie to the original trilogy’s hero. His name is J.D. Fenix, and he is Marcus Fenix’ son. Presumably, the “D” in his name stands for Dominic, but there is some question about who his mother might be. Marcus and Anya appeared set to spend their lives together at the end of Gears of War 3, but her backstory is that she is infertile. Whether that is ignored or explained around remains to be seen.
Playing as J.D. Fenix obviously means a jump forward in time for the Gears of War universe. Developer The Coalition settled for 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3. This gives the studio the opportunity to play with a new cast of characters and different social structures while still set in the same universe. It’s essentially a fresh start to the series while keeping some degree of familiarity.
In this case, both humans and the planet Sera are still dealing with the after-effects of the weapon that killed all of the Locust. Only a few hundred thousand humans are still alive, and the planet is wracked by vicious storms. To make matters worse, the surviving humans are learning to live with alternate sources of energy since the Immulsion that powered civilization was wiped out.
The Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) is back and is trying to keep humanity alive behind walled city-states. Naturally, there’s a contingent who wish to live free. These are The Outsiders, who have formed their own communities in the wilds of Sera. Executive Producer Rod Fergusson likens them to 1970s motorcycle gangs who begin raiding COG settlements for resources.
This gives rise to the Gears of War 4 story as J.D. Fenix follows the footsteps of his old man by running away from home and joining the COG militia. However, he’s gone AWOL at the start of the game, along with his best friend, Del, following a classified incident that will be revealed in the game.
The two seek sanctuary in an Outsider community and meet Kait Diaz, a young survivalist with no military training who provides the entry level view into the Gears of War 4 world. Things quickly go south, though, as the entire camp is attacked. J.D., Del, and Kait now face a wild 24 hours to rescue the survivors of the attack and uncover a new threat, called The Swarm, that might just be tied to the messy ending of the original trilogy.
One other large question surrounding Gears of War 4 was if it would continue to support co-operative play. That staple of the series has been confirmed to return as two-player co-op support for both online and split-screen local play.
This is great news for those who love co-op, especially local co-op, with so many games now eschewing the model. J.D. will always be the character that player one will control, while player two will switch between Kait and Del depending on the part of the campaign.
Gears of War 4 is the Xbox One’s big exclusive for the holiday 2016 shopping season. What do you think of the direction of skipping forward into the future and playing Marcus Fenix’ son? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via The Coalition]