Of course we all knew that was misdirection. It had to be his father right? The Gears trilogy had lingered long on the Fenix legacy. The story of that would be the big reveal come the publisher's Media Briefing.
As we know now, Microsoft - and new developer People Can Fly - took a different tack, and what, and who we got, was this:
Watch - Gears of War: Judgement E3 Reveal trailer
Not Marcus. Not even his father. But Fenix's squadmate Damon S. Baird, in a story set during the beginnings of Emergence Day, when the Locust first attacked humanity and almost exterminated the human race. Fourteen years before the original Gears of War, rumour was right about one thing: we're getting an origin story of sorts for the Xbox 360 series.
Damon S. Baird, the series' cocky engineering genius. In this game we get to explore both his and the series' past when Baird leads the unit Kilo Squad along with his best friend (and returning cast member) Augstus Cole. Like the disjointed time frames Epic played with in Gears of War 3, Judgement won't be a linear A to B tale; instead it'll weave the campaign through Baird's story as part of his testimony during the trial to decide his fate.
Development of Judgment has been passed to Painkiller and Bulletstorm studio People Can Fly; an excellent choice to take over from the original creators, as if there's something the developer can do, it's action.
In our E3 interview with Epic's Rod Fergusson, he explained how they wanted to recapture the ferocity and threat of the Locust in those early days, of a foe that was intimidating to fight even for even a seasoned soldier. Doing so must be a challenge, given that the series' millions of fans fought and ridiculed Locust in almost six full years. So how do they do this?
Through gameplay and storytelling changes it seems. In Judgement you'll have significantly less health than previous games, while the Locust will be significantly ramped up in the combat department. It likely won't nail the fear of tackling a new, unknown enemy, but it's Epic's hope that your nerves will be taught with tension come each encounter.
Overall, the campaign would otherwise be even more action-oriented as opposed to, for example Gears of War 3, which had a lot more chatter in-between battles. It's not going to be over-radio chatter, but the story will be broken down and digested during gameplay, letting interested parties to absorb some Gears history, while others can just get on with the chainsaw celebrations.
On paper, it seems Gears of War: Judgement is the equivalent of a "Straight to DVD" movie release; (relatively) unknown lead, different team producing. Just filler for fans. However, this is still being overseen by Epic, and People Can Fly's credentials on Bulletstorm prove this isn't some poor man's offshoot. And there's plenty of positives: a whole new campaign, a whole new load of multiplayer modes. Among these are also the brand new five on five special mode Overrun, best described as a mix between the Beast and Horde.
For the first time in the series there's now class-based roles as soldier, medic, scout and engineer. All with their own advantages and disadvantages. The Scout can get to places other classes can not reach. Engineers can repair systems and build towers. Medics can revive fallen comrades and heal those who are injured. Soldiers can...you get the picture.
The actual game mode Overrun is basically an attack / defend mode where, for the Locust team tries to destroy a generator, which is defended by COGS. They have a limited time before the two teams change ends. If the other team beat the previous time, they win.
We look forward to getting to know more about Gears of War: Judgment in the coming months. So far, we are excited, if not immediately sold. It'll be a fine addition to the series, but will be something of an interlude for the franchise. That different classes are finally coming to the series is welcome but will it be enough? In spring next year, we'll know the answer.
Watch: GRTV Interview with Head of Production Rod Fergusson.