E3 2016: Is Gears of War 4 for New Cogs or Old Cogs?

Almost one year ago to the day we got our first look at The Coalition’s new take on Epic Game’s Gears of War franchise, now owned outright by Microsoft Game Studios. Everything you remember and came to know about Gears of War seemed to have returned intact. Big, brutish heroes covered in even bigger armor, a dark and foreboding atmosphere and the franchise's trademark blood-soaked carnage.

The Coalition is no stranger to Gears of War. Many of the team have worked on the original Xbox 360 games but also went through and remastered the 10-year old classic that started it all. Today the world got to see a 7-minute glimpse of what the team has been hard at work on over the last year aside from an additional emo trailer and a multiplayer beta.

While we were told that the new game would take advantage of the also ‘officially’ announced Xbox One S’s new graphical capabilities, I came away with a combination of excitement and a bit of wonder. Here’s what I mean; This is not the Gears of War franchise I’ve come to know and love. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Marcus Fenix and his best pals from Delta Squad. C’mon, you remember them, don’t you? Dom Santiago, Augustus Cole (Cole Train) and Damon Baird. You got to know and grew to like these guys, and watched them all fight and suffer (and even die) to save each other and their loved ones from the Locust Horde.

In this latest installment of Gears, we’re joining the ranks of a new squad led by the son of Marcus Fenix, JD. What we got to see all seemed very familiar; a sandstorm chock full of monsters, witty one-liners (think Dom’s classic "Sup, bitches!") and there was even a surprise reveal at the end of today’s trailer. Sure, it was pretty and looked like it plays almost identical to the originals.

What I want to know is, am I going to feel the same connection to young JD as I did to his father. Am I going to like his friends? Is their continued struggle against a new enemy going to be enough to make me want to go down a familiar and similar road again?

Gears of War 4 is The Coalition’s first true attempt at a from-the-ground-up Gears of War. While I know this is their first, I get the distinct feeling that the franchise will keep going (assuming this installment is met with positive accolades). Today’s gameplay reveal shows that the team is very hard at work and will do their best to make the next Gears of War a worthy successor.

Gears of War 4 is set to release for the Xbox One on October 11, 2016.