Gears of War 5 developer The Coalition has announced that it will not feature smoking or tobacco in any form ahead of this weekend’s ELeague Gears Summer Series International. The upcoming Gears of War sequel is the sixth game in its series, the third with The Coalition at the helm, and is being published by Xbox Game Studios, while also being part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program at launch.
The decision to eliminate all references to tobacco products in Gears 5 came after the not-for-profit organization Truth Initiative met with members of the ELeague’s parent company, Turner Broadcasting, and Turner subsequently reached out to members of The Coalition. This marks the second big victory for Truth this month, as they recently convinced Netflix to remove cigarettes from shows like Stranger Things that are aimed at younger audiences. As e-sports continue to become a more popular form of entertainment, Turner’s ELeague believes this is the right image to project moving forward and has begun openly promoting their partnership with the Truth Initiative.
Although previous games in the Gears of War series have featured characters smoking both cigarettes and cigars, studio head Rod Fergusson has been adamant that their exclusion moving forward is a step in the right direction. In a recent statement published by Variety, he revealed that he had personally been affected by the dangers of smoking and promised to “avoid highlighting or glorifying smoking in Gears 5 and throughout the Gears of War universe moving forward.”
Gears 5 will be showcased July 13th-14th at Turner Studios’ ELeague Arena. The tournament will feature eight pro Gears of War teams in a single-elimination bracket and firsthand looks at some of the game’s new content. Fans curious to see what professional Gears 5 multiplayer looks like can tune in live on Twitch through ELeague’s channel.
While the removal of tobacco products in media that may be accessible to children is understandable, it’s hard to ignore the double standard placed on the influence of tobacco versus the influence of violence. Whenever statements are put forth that deride video games for their inclusion of things like blood and death, the argument is quickly raised that there is no statistical correlation between actions portrayed on the screen and how a player goes about their daily life. Gears 5 is still M-rated, after all, and the alteration of what probably amounted to one or two cutscenes of someone holding a cigar seems rather small in comparison to the gallons of entrails and Locust bits the Fenix family has spilled over the years.
Next: You Can Now Turn StarCraft Entirely Into A Cartoon And It Looks Awesome