Last week Variety published a report in which they claim that Gears 5 had all smoking removed from it after anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative talked to Turner about the issue, with Turner broadcasting last weekend's Eleague tournament for Gears of War 4 as well as a reveal of Gears of War 5's multiplayer, and now The Coalition's studio head Rod Fergusson has clarified things a little.
"To be fair, this isn't entirely accurate. I've been against smoking from the beginning and have worked hard to not make it a part of our franchise. Ever notice that the Dizzy concept art for Gears 2 has a cigarette but the actual character in the game doesn't? I stopped it," he wrote on Twitter.
When one user questioned the decision to remove smoking in a mature-rated game filled with violence, Fergusson responded:
"Simply because I didn't want to glamorize something that is addictive and kill you. Wasn't trying to me any moral police, just reflecting my beliefs after losing friends to lung cancer. If you had the ability to create a world, what would you change?"
Another user also labelled this as censorship, but Fergusson again disagrees. "Again, no censorship. There was no smoking so nothing was censored," he writes, adding in another tweet how personal this matter is for him, as his father smoked and passed away at the age of 38.
This news comes just after Netflix vowed to remove uses of smoking and e-cigarettes unless it's for "reasons of historical or factual accuracy" or "unless it's essential to the creative vision of the artist or because it's character-defining (historically or culturally important)".
This came after Truth Initiative found depictions of tobacco use in shows among young people had increased by around four times in the last year, with Season 2 of Stranger Things being one of the worst offenders in this area.
"Netflix strongly supports artistic expression," a Netflix representative said in a statement to Variety. "We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people."
Do you mind smoking being removed from games and shows?