E3 is looming closer. With Gears of War 5 being a headliner to add to the ongoing saga, we have quite an entree to look forward to. Something many didn’t expect though was for the mantle of lead protagonist to shift to someone outside of the Fenix family.
It’s no secret that the previous Gears of War time-jumped after the defeat of the Locust Horde in Gears 3. Marcus hung up his bandanna, and his son JD continued the struggle against the monsters of the cavernous deep.
It wasn’t great though. JD Fenix had pretty big shoes to fill, and many fans just didn’t connect with the blonde roughneck. Surprisingly to gamers was the glimmer of someone more promising within JD’s circle of trust. Kait Diaz, the secondary character and one of the lead’s best friends (also voiced by the talented Laura Bailey), gave a lot of heart and soul throughout the adventure. Many, myself included, hoped for her to take the reins in the future.
A New Protagonist is Here
Luckily those hopes have been answered, and Kait is pushing to face the curse of her own family’s past as our female lead.
Previous Gears of War games have always suffered from a little disconnect between protagonist and villain. In the original trilogy, Marcus Fenix conclusively discovered that he was tying up his own father’s loose ends. Queen Myrrah, the always looming antagonist gave off an aura that there was more to her shadow. And Kait looks like she is the one standing in it.
It actually feels incredibly refreshing that Gears of War 5 is bringing in the personal stakes. Not only is this Kait’s story, but we get to hold her hand through it instead of being an outsider looking in.
Personal Narrative to the Rescue
Gears of War hasn’t always had the most fantastic narrative. For a long time we have followed a group of gun toting meat heads as they chainsawed their way through lizards of equally meat-headed proportions. Kait, with her personal mission, isn’t about some greater good. The fight for that has long passed.
What Kait allows us to see is a backstory that has never been explained about the enemies players have long fought. But also, that we can become the seed of new beginnings. The latest trailer shows us a now infected JD, and also Kait fighting a curse she has always been destined to face. Will she overcome it, or be consumed by it? Are we seeing the tale of a soldier becoming the hero she never asked to be, or that she’ll live long enough to become our new villain?
It’s pretty cool being excited about a Gears of War game. Gears of War has never goaded us to ask questions, but its damn exciting to finally have a gave that wants us to find answers!
No Longer the Same
Gears of War: Judgement, for example, was rather ‘by the books’ just to remind fans it was still pumping blood. Gears of War 3—the strongest installment in the series—did a pretty good job of applying a larger scale to a war that always felt entombed and claustrophobic. Sadly, the only emotional thread was through the loss of franchise favorite Dom Santiago, but that still wasn’t a consistent driving force for us to see the hero’s journey to the end.
We never really cared for the war between COG and Locust. It was always going to be one note and walking a predetermined adversarial line. To finally have a protagonist that has a goal akin to that of Master Chief in his quest to save Cortana, or Lara Croft’s progressive yearning to unveil the reasons behind the loss of her father. Xbox gets a staple heroine who, like many Playstation all-stars, can provide us with a journey that isn’t just about saving the world. This is about beating the demons that might have been in us all along and now want to get out.
The Xbox E3 gala is just around the corner on June 9 2019, and with it we are sure to see more about the upcoming adventure of Kait Diaz in Gears of War 5.
What are the things you are hoping for in this next installment? Is this the protagonist you have long waited for, or will you miss watching a Fenix on the frontlines? Let us know in the comments below.
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Josh has been all across the industry as a writer, interviewer, video editor and game artist. You can usually find this fellow sat in front of his laptop with a coffee in one hand and a pet hedgehog being petted with the other. The guy has too many favorite games to count, so don’t ask him unless you came prepared with a packed lunch.