After Gears of War 3 it was safe to say that the book had been closed on Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago. Some of the game’s other colorful side characters, however, could have used a bit more fleshing out.

And so Epic Games and Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly have created Gears of War: Judgment, a prequel to the original Gears of War trilogy, which features Baird as its star. It might seem strange that Damon Baird, the blonde haired sidekick from the first three games, is taking on a starring role, but from Epic’s perspective the choice was easy.

According to an interview with That Xbox Show and Gears of War: Judgment Lead Level Designer Jim Brown, the development team reached out to fans to find out what they wanted to see. Fan response was overwhelming, with many claiming the wanted to see more of Damon Baird. And so, Epic found their protagonist.

However, there is a contingency of gamers who don’t see Baird the way others do. In fact, some see him as a little bit of an a**hole. But Brown liked that about Baird, that he is “divisive.”

“He was an interesting character. He’s actually kind of divisive. Most players really, really like him, but there were a couple that were like, ‘Man that’s guy’s just an asshole’. But to me that means he’s interesting. That means that there’s a real story there to tell.”

At the same time, the developers felt like, for continuity’s sake, Baird was the only character left with a story to tell. One could have made that argument about Cole prior to Gears of War 3, but “Cole Train” certainly had his shining moment in that game.

Judgment‘s story turns back the clocks to shortly after Emergence Day, with Baird and Cole standing trial for presumed treason. Are they guilty? Probably, not.

Do you think that Baird was a good choice for Gears of War: Judgment? Are there any other characters you would like to see in a future game?

Gears of War: Judgment releases March 19, 2013 for the Xbox 360.

Source: That Xbox Show (via VG 24/7)