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After 15 years of failed attempts, there will finally be a Gears of War movie

A still from 2019's <em>Gears 5</em>.
Enlarge / A still from 2019’s Gears 5.

Gears of War, one of the video games that helped make both Epic Games and Xbox what they are today, will become a movie after a decade and a half of false starts, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The franchise will be picked up by Netflix, which plans both a live-action feature film and an animated TV series. If those are well-received by viewers, it could be just the beginning for the franchise on Netflix.

The first Gears of War game was released 16 years ago this Monday—on November 7, 2006. Since then, it has received four direct sequels up through 2019’s Gears 5, as well as a handful of spinoffs like 2020’s Gears Tactics.

Efforts to turn it into a movie date back to 2007, when New Line Cinema tried to produce it. It was later explored by Universal Pictures, but nothing ever came together, as so often happens in the studio system.

Funnily enough, Netflix’s current head of original films, Scott Stuber, was involved as a producer for Universal’s failed attempt at a Gears of War film. That said, no actors, directors, or writers have been announced for the project yet, and the film’s release is likely at least a couple years or more away.

The quest to turn Gears of War into a feature film has been going on for so long, the ownership of the video game series has changed since its inception. The game franchise was originally developed by Epic Games of Unreal and Fortnite fame as a tentpole game for the Xbox 360 console. Microsoft acquired the rights to the franchise in 2014, and Canadian game studio The Coalition—which borrows its name from within the Gears of War universe—has stewarded the franchise from 2016’s Gears of War 4 and onward.

Gears of War is a science-fiction war story that takes place on the fictional planet of Sera. An army of alien-like foes called the Locust Horde emerged from beneath the ground and decimated human civilization; the games follow soldiers like Marcus Fenix as they battle the Locusts and try to save what’s left of humanity.

Helmed by Unreal developer Cliff Bleszinski, the original games heavily emphasized action and were credited with popularizing the third-person, cover-shooter method of gameplay that dominated so many Western action games in the mid-to-late 2000s.

Gears of War‘s design influence has been felt since in several other popular game franchises, including Mass Effect, Uncharted, The Last of Us, and basically anything that has the player shooting at enemies from a third-person perspective while taking cover behind conspicuously ubiquitous chest-high walls. That said, Gears of War‘s story, characters, and visuals arguably haven’t left as strong a legacy as its design.

Below: The story of Gears of War’s development from a previous video published by Ars Technica.

Produced by Adam Davis-McGee, directed by James Herron, and edited by Patrick Biesemans and JC Scruggs. Click here for the transcript.

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