Unlike previous games, Gears 5 won't feature any scenes of smoking when it releases on Xbox One and PC this September, and that's because developer The Coalition is teaming up with a youth anti-tobacco organization. More specifically, the decision to make the upcoming third-person cover-shooter a smoke-free game came after not-for-profit anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative approached Turner, whose Eleague esports division currently owns the broadcasting rights to the title about making the game smoke-free. From here, Turner linked up with Microsoft, who linked up with its Xbox division, who then linked up The Coalition.
“I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking," said boss of The Coalition, Rod Fergusson. "It’s always been important for me to not use smoking as a narrative device, which is why we made the conscious choice to avoid highlighting or glorifying smoking in Gears 5 and throughout the Gears of War Universe moving forward.”
According to Seth Ladetsky, senior VP, Turner Sports Sales and head of Turner Sports Digital and Eleague sales strategy and revenue, the removal of all tobacco from the game was a multiple month long process.
“This took a lot of time and a lot of good thinking,” said Ladetsky. “It’s the right image for ELeague — and the game itself — to project.”
As mentioned above, in past entries there have been scenes featuring characters smoking, but it's hardly ever been a big part of the game's characters. That said, it's a nice, positive tweak.
“In the midst of the pervasive reemergence of glamorized smoking imagery in pop culture, we commend Xbox for taking smoking out of Gears 5 and ELeague for featuring this tobacco-free game during this weekend’s competition,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “We are hopeful that this decision will encourage other game developers and streaming tournaments to follow this lead and level up the gaming experience by going tobacco-free.”
Gears 5 will be available on Xbox One and PC (via Windows 10 Store and Steam) on September 10, at the price point of $60. For more news, media, and information on the upcoming shooter, be sure to peep all of our previous coverage of the game by clicking right here.