Gears of War: E-Day

The Coalition on Making Gears of War: E-Day “The Best F****** Gears Game”

This weekend, Vancouver-based studio The Coalition unveiled Gears of War: E-Day. The announcement surprised many as we learned it would be a prequel to the original game featuring Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago. Utilizing Unreal Engine 5, Gears of War: E-Day aims to expose a relatively untouched moment in the franchise’s lore and timeline.

Nicole Fawcette Matt Searcy

During the Xbox Games Showcase, The Coalition revealed Gears of War: E-Day through a heart-pounding trailer, showing Marcus going head-to-head with a member of the Locus horde. We’re shown a younger, less battle-hardened Marcus, who barely escapes with his life. Helped by dear compatriot Dom, the two look out on a collapsing warzone. A slow reprise of Tears For Fears’ Mad World plays in the background, harkening back to the original.

Gears of War Returns

Following the conclusion of Gears 5, which offered the first player-made choice in the franchise, The Coalition is going backwards on the timeline. Putting a pin on the contemporary story featuring an older, gruff Marcus and Kait Diaz, players will soon explore a pivotal moment in Gears of War lore. For the uninitiated, E-Day is set 14 years before 2006’s Gears of War. The Coalition explains it’ll cover Emergence Day, the event in which the Locus Horde launched its full-scale assault on the planet of Sera.

I sat with The Coalition’s Creative Director, Matt Searcy, and Nicole Fawcette, the studio’s Brand Director. During a roundtable discussion, I asked the duo why the studio approached making a prequel now. It’s a bit of an unprecedented decision. Gears 5 served as The Empire Strikes Back of the current trilogy. Players have been left waiting on bated breath to see our characters get out from the lowest point in the story thus far. Also, we’re all still left wondering which story choice will become canon.

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Making games is really hard,” Searcy says. “There’s a lot of investment that you do. And when you find the idea that lit us up at this moment, even if you’re talking about your strategies and games and trilogies and what you could do or not do. You grab that lightning in a bottle. That’s the game everybody is hyped about. We’re gonna make that game. Because it’s gonna be the best fucking Gears game everybody’s ever played, if we make that one. We had this technology that we were working on. This is the story that’s gonna showcase it the best. I think it’s really, at the end of the day, it’s about, again, it’s not Nicole and I making this call. There’s a whole studio of people that are invested in this idea. And you go, “Hell yeah, let’s do that then.

Naturally, fans of the franchise were incredibly pleased to see Marcus and Dom back together. While featuring younger versions of the two, Gears of War: E-Day sets out to show a new corner of their relationship. Searcy and Fawcette explain that the game is set after the Pendulum Wars, in which Dom loses his older brother Carlos. Marcus and Carlos are best friends through childhood until Carlos’ ultimate death. Gears of War: E-Day will explore some tension between Marcus and Dom as they struggle with loss and grief. “They really haven’t quite yet formed the friendship that everybody kind of knows and expects from the original game, Fawcette explains. “So for us, I was really excited to be able to tell you a core story of the world, but also of Marcus and Don’s characters.”

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The two-and-a-half-minute trailer itself is stunning. Leveraging the power of Unreal Engine 5, The Coalition used it to set the tone, atmosphere, and setting of Gears of War: E-Day. As a long-time franchise fan, I found it refreshing to see the series use horror as a sticking point in this trailer. The Locus soldier was haunting and menacing. However, deep within the impressive in-engine footage, The Coalition placed a few interesting easter eggs. Some were slightly more obvious, like the COGs in the “Welcome Home” banner. However, something kept sticking out to me. A small figure is shown numerous times during Marcus’ bout with the Locus. Fawcette reveals that it is indeed Thrashball Cole. A Carmine figure can also be seen in the trailer as well.

Gears of War: E-Day is still in active development. The Coalition has not indicated when the game may launch. However, the Gears of War franchise is steadily approaching its 20th anniversary in 2026. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by experiencing Emergence Day and seeing the friendship between Marcus and Dom flourish.