Just yesterday GameInformer revealed that the cover of their July issue would feature the next installment in the Gears of War franchise, rumoured to be the first in a prequel being developed by People Can Fly. GameInformer showed off their cover which featured a COG soldier shrouded in shadow by led away from a burning scene in chains. Speculation was, of course, rife about what it could be.
As you can read in the news piece regarding this, I was personally betting on a prequel which followed Marcus Fenix as he joined the COG, fought in the Pendulum Wars and was eventually court martialed for abandoning his post to save his father. This theory seemed to make sense based on the cover showing a character in chains, as it would have been Marcus being led away from the Fenix mansion before being thrown in prison, which is where we first encounter him in Gears of War.
However, Gameinformer have stamped all over that theory by revealing that the mysterious shrouded COG is actually Damon Baird, while the star of their second cover is the Cole Train himself, August Cole. They also revealed that the name of this new Gears of War title is Gears of War: Judgement.
Of course this still leaves room for plenty of speculation. Both Baird and Cole were members of Alpha squad before they joined up with Marcus and Dom. So the most likely scenario would seem to be that the game will follow the story Baird and Cole while they were members of Alpha squad. This would allow the developers to throw in some brand new characters as well. The game would presumably end by showing us exactly how Baird and Cole survived while the rest of Alpha Squad were wiped out. This would, of course, then allow them to link the games together by showing Baird and Cole joining up with Delta as the credits start to roll. Thought if the rumours that this game will be the first in a trilogy then obviously we won’t be seeing that until the final game.
If this is correct then that would make Judgement a prequel to the first Gears of War game, which links in nicely with this next piece of news. Rumours have been circulating for a while now that a Gears of War prequel was in the works and that it was being developed by People Can Fly, responsible for Bulletstorm, with which Epic had a heavy helping hand. These rumours have seemingly been confirmed today via Twitter when Epic’s president Mike Capps tweeted, “Do I detect People Can Fly involvement? YES YES YES!” in response to a question aimed at Adrian Chmielarz, Bulletstorm’s creative director. Adrian replied by saying, “I detect Epic PR team’s heart attack,”. Adrian’s response has since been deleted. Interesting stuff, no?
Of course, there’s also the fact that both Cole and Damon disapeared for a large chunk of Gears of War 3, leaving plenty of space for a side-story involving them. However, in this instance the armor they’re wearing in the picture doesn’t match what they’re wearing in Gears of War 3, although I’m sure that the developers could explain that in numerous ways.
And in another piece of random news, GameInformer might have pissed Microsoft off a little as Gears of War: Judgement wasn’t supposed to be revealed until Monday at E3 by Microsoft. GameInformer themselves initially said, “This time we’re saving the full unveiling of the game’s title until Monday during Microsoft’s E3 press conference,” before saying today, “The new installment in Epic’s billion-dollar franchise is Gears of War: Judgment”. Uh, fail? Did Microsoft agree to this early reveal, or are they going to be a little mad at GameInformer?