We Need To Talk About That Big ‘Gears 5’ Moment, You Know The One

I have just finished the campaign for Gears 5, and as of yesterday, I also learned for the first time that it’s officially just called “Gears 5” instead of “Gears of War 5” because I thought all the promotional material was just abbreviating it. But no, they’ve gone full Fast and Furious and the “of War” is just implied now. Who knew? (Everyone but me, it seems).

Technically the game just came out yesterday, but many people had it on Friday when it launched on the Xbox Games Pass. Like most people, I have been impressed with the Gears 5 campaign, though as I realized yesterday, it’s very gorgeous and engaging, but not very long, even padded out with side missions. I think I was done in 8-9 hours total, and that was doing as many extra objectives as I could manage.

I wanted to get into spoiler territory with those who are ready to talk about it, namely about a “big” moment in the campaign. So turn back now if you haven’t beaten Gears 5 yet, or at the very least, don’t care.

If you’re partway through the game, you may think I’m talking about the “reveal” where Kait learns about her Locust-based ancestry and that Queen Myrrah is her grandmother. This was…not actually all that surprising to me, given everything that led up to this including the fact that her “family heirloom” she wears is literally a Locust symbol. A cool connection, perhaps, but this isn’t what I’m talking about as the big moment.

Rather, that would be a surprise choice the game forces you to make at the end. Some are saying that even saying there’s a choice is a spoiler because this game…never makes you make choices, and I guess I was surprised by it. It’s a very Mass Effect moment, where you’re given the option to save either Del or JD from the clutches of Queen Reyna, your resurrected mother.

The whole situation is…a little contrived, I have to admit. I have no idea why Reyna bothers making you choose, standing there as you wait to throw a knife in a particular direction. Nor do I really understand why the correct answer wasn’t to throw the knife directly at her face, hopefully causing her to drop both of them.

It’s a harrowing moment, and one that affects the way the rest of the way the game plays out. And I wonder now how it will affect the rest of the series.

I am sure Gears fans will be debating who they chose, and while it was a tough call, I feel comfortable with my decision. I saved Del.

The game kind of sets you up to pick Del from the start as he accompanies you on literally every single mission in the game and is nothing but a total bro and good friend the entire time. It seemed logical to me that Kait would choose to save him given the option, especially given her more…uneven history with JD, who as a reminder, is Marcus Fenix’s son.

I really didn’t understand the JD arc in Gears 5, for all the other aspects of the game I liked. You start off playing him like you did in Gears 4, but you eventually learn he was the one to issue the order to open fire on anti-COG protestors. Then he does something reckless with the Hammer of Dawn that gets a lot of people killed. Then he’s in a coma and wakes up and becomes a total COG hardass.

But then…that just…ends? It’s very confusing. The Act 3, JD and Fahz just show up and are suddenly all nice and conciliatory and want to help you. There is no real explanation given for this sudden reversion in personality, and it’s so weird that I genuinely thought it was a trick, and they were spies for Jinn or something who would turn on Kait when she exhibited too much Locust power. But that never happened. They were just…nice the whole time.

In the end, that’s what made the choice even harder because JD was supposed to be redeemed at that point. Killing JD is also a big, big decision in Gears lore as well, because Kait clearly views Marcus as a sort of father figure in his own right, and she had the chance to save his son and didn’t (though I will note she doesn’t exactly spell that out to him).

Killing JD feels like it has huge ramifications for the series in a way that killing Del wouldn’t. JD was literally the lead of the last game and the only child of Marcus and Anya. His death should totally change Marcus and the entire storyline going forward, and I have to wonder how Gears 6 is going to handle the continuation of this story with such a major player choice in the bank now. Granted we may not know that for three years, but this feels like the kind of thing that really would alter the course of the series.

I am told that you will be made to feel equally bad if you choose to save JD instead of Del, as I expected would be the case in a “no good options:” situation like this. But in terms of story significance, JD’s death almost has to have a larger impact.

Who did you choose to save? And why?

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I write about video games, television, movies and the internet.