Gears Ink sign at the London Xbox event

How much do you like Gears 5? These super-fans got tattoos

Diehard Gears of War fans have been tattoed by some of London’s best artists to show how much they love the series.

With some gamers travelling to the UK capital from as far away as Spain, the event was a celebration to not only mark the launch of Gears 5 but also the history of the hugely popular franchise as a whole.

Tattooing has become a tradition among Gears gamers, allowing them to proudly show off their love for the series with ink of COG tags, Lancer guns and more.

Mark Searcy, campaign designer at The Coalition, said: “Gears has one of the most passionate fan bases out there. They’re so passionate about the world and what the game means to them. There’s almost no other franchise in the world that has this kind of connection to people. I think wrapping this event together with the launch of the game – with people wearing their ink loud and proud – is amazing.”

The tattoo artists for the event were Clara Sinclair, who is based at Mo Coppoletta’s tattoo shop, The Family Business, in London; and Matt Pettis and Emma Bundonis, who are both based at Through My Third Eye in London.

In addition to receiving tattoos, the event also gave fans a look at the main campaign, as well as the game’s Horde, Escape and Versus modes.

We spent some time talking with Searcy about the development of Gears 5, and his favourite parts of the game:

How did you balance the content in Gears 5 for both old and new fans?
We knew we’d have a bunch of people playing Gears for the first time, so we layered a tonne of stuff in there for new fans and old fans alike, starting with a recap, and pulling people into the characters and storytelling.

Old fans that are returning will find the best Gears experiences ever seen – in terms of gameplay, it’s the best version we’ve ever made. The world is dripping with lore and collectibles, so I think returning fans are going to find a super-rich Gears experience. New players who are jumping in for the first time are going to discover a really inviting storyline, in addition to enjoying the new, polished mechanics.

Gears is famous for its storytelling. What’s the process behind fleshing it out?
It starts with our character development. We build out the story in tandem with the campaign, and multiplayer teams, so that the characters are super rich. There are a lot of people involved in telling the story itself, all the way down to the collectibles. Ultimately though, it starts with initially mapping out the story, and then diving into both the writing and the mission processes so that they speak to each other.

Which character do you feel most attached to?
I feel most attached to Kait Diaz, because in Gears 5, we’re truly telling her story. For me, getting into Gears 5 and seeing how she’s connected to the world and how she builds the family around her, is what I’m attached to the most.

My favourite characters in the game, though, are probably Fahz and Jack. By the time you get to the end of the campaign, they’ve developed a special bond that was built over time, and you feel this sense of attachment to them.

Gears of War 5 screenshot

The ultimate goal is to make every character, every weapon and every mechanic sound totally unique

What new gameplay mechanics are there?
In addition to basically refining the core gameplay mechanics, there are two huge mechanics that we added. The first is Jack, who has returned from the old games. This time, we built a whole new bunch of abilities for him, so instead of it just being about what cover you go into and what weapons you use, Jack’s new abilities also expand your play style.

As well as Jack, we have some levels that are 50 times larger than any we have built before. We have a whole new vehicle that lets you go anywhere you want, so you get to set your own pace, and how you explore the world and find hidden items. Player choice was a huge part of the game for us – for the first time ever, you can start fighting on your terms. We kept it feeling like Gears, but it still feels like a whole new way to play it.

Sound plays a huge role in games. What was the process behind the sound design for Gears 5?
Our sound team on Gears are super passionate, and they play an important role, especially in a game like this, which has extremely competitive multiplayer, with unique sounds for each weapon. The team’s creation process for the sounds is amazing. They can record anything from seals making noises to squishing watermelons, to get just the right sounds they’re looking for, before layering them all together.

As always, the ultimate goal is to make every character, every weapon and every mechanic sound totally unique, so that even if you play with your eyes closed, you’ll still get a sense of what’s happening.

What happens when you finally ship a game? Do you all pop champagne and take some time off?
When a game like this is released, we have so many mixed feelings. We put so much into it, working over the past few years on the series, pouring our passion and time into it. It’s tiring, so we definitely go on holiday and pop Champagne corks.