At Microsoft's Xbox E3 Briefing in June, The Coalition, developers of Gears 5, announced a September 10 release date for the title. Then, last week, it was revealed that the Tech Test for the title would kick off on July 19. Ahead of the closely approaching date, as well as the game's first appearance tomorrow in Turner Sport's ELEAGUE, it has now been revealed by Variety that Gears 5 has been made smoke-free, following concerns raised by anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative.
Turner's ELEAGUE holds broadcasting rights to the title, and apparently, a few months ago, it was contacted by Truth Iniative, who were concerned about the game potentially promoting tobacco usage. Following this, Turner worked with The Coalition to remove all smoking references from the title. Seth Ladetsky, Senior VP at Turner Sports Sales, believes this will project the "right image" for the tournament, as well as the game.
According to an Xbox Game Studio representative, the decision was taken solely by The Coalition. Rod Fergusson, Studio Head for the Gears 5 developers, explained the thinking behind the move in the following manner:
"I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking. 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."
Previous games in the Gears series have included a few scenes featuring smoking, though nothing that's too much out of the ordinary, perhaps. Interestingly, Gears 5 will still presumably contain a ton of violence, blood, gore, and strong language, going by its M rating awarded by the ESRB.
What do you think about The Coalition's decision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.