The answer to an interesting question posed at the recent Xbox Fanfest event in Sydney, Australia suggests future Gears of War titles might not have to be shooters.
All the main games in the Gears of War series have, thus far, been third-person shooters. But that doesn't mean the series is pigeonholed. According to Xbox Box head Phil Spencer and The Coalition creative director Chuck Osieja, Gears of War could explore different gaming genres in the future.
At the Xbox Fanfest event in Sydney, Australia this week, both men were approached with the question, "If Gears of War could expand into any other gaming genre, what would it be?" Spencer was quick to request Osieja choose his words wisely, which some have suggested alludes that an alternative genre for Gears is already being entertained.
With Spencer's words in mind, Osieja proceeded with the standard industry answer for dancing around the topic saying, "At Microsoft, we evaluate all opportunities for our franchises. So, if the right opportunity presents itself, we'll explore that as something we can offer our fans."
After playfully booing Osieja's answer, even giving it a thumbs down – a sentiment likely shared by fans – Spencer stepped in to take the question saying, "Definitely when we got the team together and talked about the future of Gears of War, I think there's multiple ways that you can tell that story. Multiple gameplay genres. I think it's a really big IP and it's an IP that could exist in linear form, in books--we've seen that; in different gaming genres."
Noting the popularity of the franchise, Spencer added that there was a "lot of opportunity" in its future. He added, "You should understand that this franchise is important to use as a platform-holder as any franchise that we have and we wanted to be fully invested in where you want to go play the game."
The first three Gears of War titles were developed by Epic Games until Microsoft purchased the franchise a couple years ago. The upcoming Gear of War 4 will be the first new title developed by Microsoft's Coalition, formally Black Tusk Studios, so there are likely to be some big changes anyway. The game has recently gone gold, meaning it's ready to go for its October launch, and the game is already available for pre-loading for Xbox One users, with the PC version arriving later – and it's sporting a very generous file size.
Other popular franchises haven't been afraid to switch things up. God of War has already been noted as having a completely revamped combat system compared to the original trilogy, even incorporating a support character. The Final Fantasy series has been genre jumping since the 90s. If Gears of War intends to remain fresh and relevant, then testing the waters of a different gaming genre could prove fruitful. Given the responses from Spencer and Osieja, they appear to be thinking the same thing.