Xbox surprise reveal of landmark game's return leaves fans confused – and I'm torn

E-Day looks great, but what happened to the ongoing Gears story?

Gears of War: E-Day
(Image credit: Xbox)

It's already being widely agreed that Xbox launched itself right back into the spotlight with a really successful showcase of its many upcoming games at the Xbox Games Showcase – with a whole heap of long-awaited titles shown off in more detail than was expected.

One of the biggest surprises of the show was the return of the Gears of War franchise – one that we knew was broadly on the way, but wasn't rumoured to be appearing so soon. Gears of War: E-Day is the new game, with no release information yet attached to the title.

Crucially, it's a prequel, set as the title suggests on the day that the Locust threat invaded Earth – Emergence Day. It'll star series mascot Marcus Fenix again, alongside his pal Dom Santiago, revived thanks to that backward time skip. 

Gears of War: E-Day | Official Announce Trailer (In-Engine) - Xbox Games Showcase 2024 - YouTube Gears of War: E-Day | Official Announce Trailer (In-Engine) - Xbox Games Showcase 2024 - YouTube
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The trailer has the all-important boast that it's entirely created using in-engine footage, so it should hopefully be fairly representative of how the game might look when it does come out. 

That's not hopelessly optimistic, either, given that Gears 5 still looks pretty ravishing to this day – and that's nearly five years old now.

However, there's no disguising that this is an interesting approach from developer The Coalition – it is making quite a big play by returning to the start of the Gears timeline, and I'm not the only fan to have raised an eyebrow at the decision.

The principal thing to remember is that Gears was (and is) very much in the middle of a story when the fifth game and its DLC ended – it's not as if we reached a major conclusion and can now jump backwards to explore another part of the timeline. 

Gears 5 ended with a major choice that could take the story in two directions, and it would have felt safe to assume we'd get to see which one of these was the official canonical ending, or even to get the option of playing with either choice's consequences in a sequel. That day may still come (and the developers say they're not done with the story of Kait and crew), but it won't be for some time.

There were plenty of players expressing a little surprise at this on social media in the Showcase's wake, like one user who wrote on X: "Gears of War retreating to Emergence Day and not finishing the JD/Kait trilogy was a HUGE shock for me". 

Many of these have been tempered nonetheless with optimism for the game, though, so it's not like the overall sentiment is negative overall or anything like that. 

I can't wait to get my hands on some more chunky, bloody third-person action, speaking for myself, but there's no doubt that I'm torn over the way an ongoing story has been placed on what might be a really, really long pause to enable this slightly indulgent return to the series' roots.

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.