‘Gears 5’ Won’t Feature Any Smoking To Avoid Glorifying The Habit
Gears of War might not be the first series that comes to mind when you think of smoking. To be honest, the only games that I can think of where it stands out is Metal Gear Solid, Judgment, and Mafia. But, the Gears' developer The Coalition has made "the conscious choice to avoid highlighting or glorifying smoking in Gears 5 and throughout the Gears of War Universe moving forward."
While Gears of War 1 - 3 weren't exactly wall-to-wall tobacco fumes, Barrick did seem to permanently have a cigar fixed to his lips. Gears of War 4 didn't feature any smoking and neither will the upcoming Gears 5. In part, this is due to a stance taken by The Coalition's studio head Rod Fergusson. "I've seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking," he told Variety. "It's always been important for me to not use smoking as a narrative device."
Later on Twitter, Fergusson expanded on what he told Variety, saying that his father had died of a heart attack at 38, when Fergusson was just four-years old. The heart attack was smoking-related.
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This decision has been backed up by the Truth Initiative, a group that aims to combat smoking in young adults. The group has also worked with the ELeague esports division to end the depiction of smoking in its broadcasts. It was Truth that recently released a report concerning the recent rise of smoking in television dramas. It pointed out that Stranger Things and Orange Is The New Black, two series that are aimed at younger viewers (which Truth defines as 18 - 34), both feature a lot of smoking. Netflix has since said that it will cut out smoking from its original programming, except for when it's maintaining "historical or factual accuracy".
Smoking in games certainly seems rare, though I don't know if there was ever a time when it was common. So, cutting unnecessary references to the habit makes sense, though I think if it narratively calls for someone to smoke then they should smoke.
Featured Image Credit: Microsoft