The second stand-alone was Harper's Story. In Gears of War 2 there are collectibles which describe the end of Sgt. Jonathan Harper, a Gears Veteran. He was captured by the Locust during the events of the Hollow. He managed not only to survive the vile deeds of the Locust Horde but also to escape. He helped a family reach safety, taking the bullets into his own body before falling to the ground.
"We really like working in what we call negative space, where you leave gaps. If there's something that isn't locked down in our universe, then we don't try to artificially lock it down," he says. "We leave negative space so that when we work with a new collaborator like Kurtis [Weibe, writer of recent Gears of War comics, there's some life to find, a hook to go and create new parts of the world, which is exciting. It's really beneficial to have this sort of open minded perspective about where the franchise can go."
Recent development of gaming governance requires all video games (including online games) to hold a rating label. The voluntary rating system was established by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). A scale can range from "E" (stands for Everyone) inferring games that are suitable for both children and adults, to "M" (stands for Mature) recommending games that are restricted to age above 17. Some explicit online game can be rated "AO" (stands for Adult Only), identifying games that have content suitable for only adults over the age of 18. Furthermore, online games must also carry an ESRB notice that warns that any "online interactions are not rated by the ESRB".
Much like Halo 5's Requisition Packs, Gears of War 4's Gear Packs are digital bundles of in-game goodies that you can both buy with real money and unlock through gameplay. Gear Packs get you things such as character and weapons skins, as well as "bounty" cards that give you an experience point boost for completing certain objectives. Don't worry about Gears becoming pay-to-win, though -- Gear Pack items are mostly cosmetic and don't give you a special advantage for competitive multiplayer.
A series of novels based on the fictional universe has been created, all written by Karen Traviss. The books expand on the games and detail events which occur in between installments. Gears of War: Aspho Fields was the first in an expected trilogy, although the total numbers of books has since grown to five. It focused on the history of the characters and the battle at Aspho Fields, but also took place during the events between Gears of War and Gears of War 2. The second novel, Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant, continued where Gears of War 2 left off, with Jacinto's survivors fleeing the ruins of the city and searching for a new safe haven. Later they enter into a new conflict against the Stranded who have begun a guerilla war against the remnants of the COG. The book also detailed events 1 year after E-Day, when the new COG Chairman authorized the Hammer of Dawn counterattack. Gears of War: Anvil Gate is the third novel, released on August 31, 2010. The novel details the COG attempting to establish themselves on the island of Vectes, while trying to contain a Stranded insurgency and the resurgent Lambent. A flashback story details a young Hoffman during the Siege of Anvil Gate. Gears of War: Coalition's End, released in August 2011, is the fourth novel in the series, taking place immediately after the events of Anvil Gate; 18 months after the end of the second game. The novel details the COG's struggle with the Lambent attacks on the island of Vectes, and leads directly into Gears of War 3. Gears of War: The Slab is the fifth and final book in the series released in May 2012. The novel focuses on Marcus Fenix's time in Jacinto Maximum Security Prison prior to Gears of War, and reveals more backstory on him, Victor Hoffman, and Adam Fenix.
JD, Kat, and Del reach out to Marcus, now a disgruntled COG expatriate, who reluctantly agrees to help them. The COG, led by First Minister Jinn, pursue the group after erroneously believing they are behind a string of mass-kidnappings. The four reach a Locust mass-burial site, where they uncover evidence suggestion that Adam Fenix’s lightmass weapon caused the Locust Horde to enter a cocooned metamorphosis state. Their fears are confirmed when various Locust Horde soldiers attack them in conjunction with the Swarm. The group receives assistance from Damon Baird, now a successful industrialist, along with Augustus Cole, and Samantha Byrne. They battle their way to the Swarm’s hive and defeat multiple Swarm and Locust monstrosities. However, they reach the hive to learn that Swarm’s hive-mind has forcefully integrated with Reyna. Kait frees her mother, knowing she will die but will no longer suffer. Reyna gives Kait a parting gift that belonged to her mother – a necklace bearing the insignia of the Locust Queen Myrrah.
One of the first franchises to enjoy the renewed focus will be Gears of War, which is set to return with not one, but three new games. There's a twist though: while the star of the trio will be Gears 5 on Xbox One, the others will be Gears Tactics, a PC-first release targeting strategy players, and Gears Pop! for smartphones, which features a crossover with Funko Pops. Yes, the bobble-headed vinyl toys.
Merely six weeks after the COG and UIR agreed to an armistice, the Locust Horde unexpectedly emerge from Sera’s depths and begin assaulting all human cities. The Locust Horde easily overwhelms the already battleworn COG forces during this surprise attack, referred to as 'Emergence Day'. The COG retreats to the Jacinto Plateau, their last bastion, and reluctantly bombard their own cities with the Hammer of Dawn to halt the Locust Horde’s offensive. The ensuing scorched earth tactic destroys much of Sera’s cities and human population. The COG continues to operate out of Jacinto, while the surviving humans, known as Stranded, are left to wander through Sera’s charred ruins. During the chaos of Emergence Day, Marcus led an unauthorized and failed rescue mission to save his father, Adam, from the Locust assault. The COG's leadership court martials Marcus and sentences him to life imprisonment.