In what will surely be a candidate for most hypocritical virtue signal of 2019, Gears of War 5 will not feature any tobacco use, with developer The Coalition aiming to avoid glamorizing smoking.
The issue was first raised ahead of the Gears 5 Summer Series event this past weekend. Variety reports that broadcaster Turner was approached by the Truth Initiative to discuss smoking in the game.
Following the meeting, references to smoking were purportedly removed. In a statement after the Summer Series, Truth Initiative President and CEO Robin Koval said:
“In the midst of the pervasive reemergence of glamorized smoking imagery in pop culture, we commend [The Coalition] for taking smoking out of ‘Gears 5’ and ELeague for featuring this tobacco-free game during this weekend’s competition.”
Tobacco Ban in Gears of War 5
In a Twitter thread, The Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson clapped back at that narrative, protesting that he’s fought to avoid the use of tobacco throughout the Gears of War franchise.
With Gears of War 5, he claims that censorship wasn’t a problem; something can’t be removed if it isn’t there in the first place. This is something that has played a large part in Fergusson’s role in the franchise’s development since its early days.
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. https://t.co/KahohpMH3A
— Rod Fergusson (@GearsViking) July 12, 2019
He notes that Gears of War 2 character Dizzy was designed to be a smoker;