The Gears of War series is one of the most important franchises in Microsoft's stable. For example, Gears of War 4 was a huge success and was a big reason why many people picked up an Xbox One. So it made sense for the series to be featured heavily during the Microsoft E3 2018 press conference. Not only did the company announce main series entry, Gears of War 5, but Microsoft also revealed an unexpected spin-off game as well.
At E3 2018, Microsoft revealed the Gears of War is getting a mobile spin-off game based on the line of popular Pop figurines. Called Gears Pop, this mobile game is being made in collaboration with the makers of the Funko Pop figures. The game will be released in 2019 for Android and iOS devices.
Details about the game are scant at the moment, which isn't unexpected given that the release date is so far away. But as the promotional image for the game features the Funko Pop versions of Marcus Fenix, Kait Diaz, a Locust Drone, Clayton Carmine, and JD Fenix, it seems safe to assume that these characters will all feature.
There are actually 16 existing Funko Pops based on Gears of War, including the aforementioned as well as Augustus Cole, Damon Baird, Dominic Santiago, Brumac, Oscar Diaz, and Del Walker. There is even a Funko Pop of the older version of Marcus Fenix, so he may feature in the game too.
The announcement trailer for Gears Pop appears to put the characters into teams of three characters - and it's not based on lore allegiances either, hence why humans and locusts are matched up. After blasting through walls, the two teams face each other from either side of the map, smashing the building to pieces before sending a hail of bullets cascading across the other side. The trailer closes out with Marcus' team launching a grenade at the enemy team and the comical "uh-oh" as it's about to land seems to set the tone for the game. Again, the trailer doesn't feature real gameplay but it seems to be shaping up to be a cutesy cover shooter.
Microsoft may see Gears Pop as a strong way to get the game in front of a brand new audience. Gears of War 4 reviewed incredibly well and is estimated to have sold more than three million copies but Microsoft is understandably keen to grow that and get even more people interested in the series.
Though the mobile spin-off may be a smart way to do that, it could prove controversial among existing Gears of War fans. The franchise is known for its gritty and brutal gameplay and a game based on a line of Funko Pops is anything but. But whether fans end up receiving the title well upon release is yet to be seen.
Gears Pop will be released on Android and iOS devices in 2019.