Gears 5 has come a long way from it's ultra-machismo first installment. While the story may be filled with plot holes, it now has a female protagonist, semi-open world areas and it was praised by The Last of Us 2's director. And it was apparently partly inspired by a Nintendo game.
According to a report by GamesIndustry.biz, the game they were inspired by was Super Mario Galaxy.
While speaking at the Montreal International Game Summit today, The Coalition’s studio head Rod Fergusson said that Gears 5's robot support character Jack was inspired by the Nintendo Wii classic. For those unfamiliar with Super Mario Galaxy, a second player can join in by using the Wii Remote to pick up star bits and fire them back at enemies, stunning them. In Gears 5, the support drone Jack is controlled by a second player who can stun and damage enemies from a distance as he floats around, as well as provide health to allies.
The main reason why The Coalition did this was to make their hardcore shooter appeal to a broader audience, and who knows that better than Nintendo? "So we purposely created this character whose abilities and movement were the exact opposite of what the main game is like, so that it would have a different way of playing," said Fergusson. Playing as Jack is much more different than playing as one of the main characters, and might arguably be easier for players who are unfamiliar with third-person shooters.
Though he's a character made for newbies, Jack is a very vital support character, especially when given the best upgrades. This has helped make veteran players embrace the little flying robot and those who play him. According to Fergusson, Jack has made Gears 5 players much more welcoming of newbies, calling the online community a "lot more friendly and welcoming ecosystem." Appealing to beginners was very important for The Coalition since Gears 5 was part of Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass from launch and was likely the introduction for many players new to the series.
Of course, Super Mario Galaxy isn't the only game The Coalition claims to have taken some cues from when making Gears 5. According to an interview with art director Aryan Hanbeck, The Coalition was so impressed by the new God of War's semi-open world design they decided to follow suit as opposed to the series' traditional focused and linear levels. Fergusson also said in another interview that the player-initiated combat in Gears 5 was inspired by his time working on BioShock Infinite, where he was impressed by the way it gave players the choice of how and when to engage enemies. The game even includes some light RPG elements, though this hasn't been attributed to any one single game.