The Coalition has shared details on Gears of War 4‘s story and how it diverges, as well as builds on, the first Gears of War games.
The Coalition themselves are the first to admit that the first Gears of War games did not have a particularly deep story, and they don’t really aim for that. They cite the changes in expectations for games as the reason why they took Gears‘ story in a new direction. The first Gears games were set fourteen years into war with the Locusts. It stood to reason that the relationships and tone of these games were similar to military shows and movies like Band of Brothers. Gears of War 3 also provided a definitive end to the Locusts arc, so any way you look at it a change in direction was inevitable.
In Gears of War 4, JD is not a grizzled, broken veteran like his father, but a literal rebellious teen. He, Del, and Kait are members of the Outsiders, a splinter group that have grown to distrust the COG and see them as adversaries. The game starts in the afternoon, when the trio discovers that Kait’s mother has disappeared after unknown monsters attack their town. They spend the rest of the day and evening, all the way until morning, investigating the monsters and where the mother could have gone. Along the way, JD lives the old adage that the more you run away from your fate, the closer you go towards it.
This time, there are clear differences in character dynamics. All three are younger characters, with relationships closer to what civilians than soldiers have. Whereas Marcus and his soldiers were gung-ho and extremely loyal to each other, JD, Del, and Kait are more like normal people in how they act and relate to each other. The Coalition’s developers hint on these relationships evolving, but perhaps in ways that are more relatable than their forerunners had.
Gears of War 4 will be released on Xbox One this holiday 2016. Microsoft has repeatedly hinted at a PC port, but have yet to officially confirm it. You can read the initial reveal for JD Fenix and his friends here, and details on the multiplayer beta here.