Gears of War - Lancer Continuity

One of the key aspects of Gears of War is how horrific the Locust Horde is. The Locust are monstrous, in every sense of the word. They're bigger and stronger than the average human, and can take as much punishment as a human in full body armor. They've got claws and scales and two hearts and they live underground, it's all deliciously horrific.

 There's a reason they're referred to as a "horde" of "Locusts" - they're numerous and horrificly monsterous. 

There's a reason they're referred to as a "horde" of "Locusts" - they're numerous and horrificly monsterous. 

Humanity's fight against the Locust is one of desperation, where humanity is constantly selling parts of its soul just to survive. The enemy is that tough, and brutal, that humanity has to match them just to make it through the day. And that's one of the darkest aspects of the Locust - it's not what they do to humanity, it's what they make humanity do to themselves. 

The humans in Gears of War have breeding camps, just so they can have enough soldiers to continue to fight the war. If a woman can have healthy children, she's lured into the breeding camps with the promise of extra rations. If it turns out she can't have kids, she's booted out and made to join the military. This process, while arguably necessary for survival, left a mark on humanity to the point where they had to generate a lie about the Locust reproducing via rape. Never mind that no human had ever seen where the Locust lived by this point, oh no, we may have breeding farms but the Locust rape so at least we're not *that* bad.  

 There's also the fact that the Locust are clearly genetically linked to humans... but that's a story for another day. 

There's also the fact that the Locust are clearly genetically linked to humans... but that's a story for another day. 

Humanity sold a part of it's soul to survive, and generated a lie about the enemy to live with the guilt. It changed who they were as well, because even in Gears of War 4, 25 years after the Locust War has ended, they're still at it. They telling women to have babies and using gene therapy to help design those babies to better aid in repopulating the planet. Humanity sold its soul in a time of desperation and they've been paying the price ever since. 

Along with this, the planet of Gears of War, Sera, was actually destroyed by humans themselves. Just like in the Matrix, humanity was faced with an enemy so powerful that they destroyed their own world in an attempt to halt their advance. It failed, obviously, but the planet was still ruined. This time, it was done with orbital lasers. To deprive the Locust of any motivation for coming to the surface, humanity used orbital lasers to destroy their own land and resources. To ensure the plan went off without a hitch, the humans only announced the attack three days before it was launched. 

 The Locust didn't do this... humans did.

The Locust didn't do this... humans did.

All of humanity had just three days to reach the safety of the one city that would be spared, obviously in a time of war it's hard to get anywhere in three days so billions of humans were killed in this attack that didn't even stop the Locust. Humanity literally killed billions of their own species, and destroyed their planet, in a failed attempt to stop the Locust from invading. There's selling your soul in a Faustian bargain and then there's tossing your soul at the shop clerk like it's little more than loose change. But this is all to show just how desperate humans were, the lengths that they were willing to go to in order to survive.

 hahahaha I can't believe someone had already made this meme... 

hahahaha I can't believe someone had already made this meme... 

This brings me to the Lancer, the iconic "chainsaw gun" of the Gears of War Franchise. Before the Locust showed up, the Mark 1 Lancer was a beefy weapon that had a simple, but large, bayonet at it's end. It was used to fight other humans and it did it's job with stabby abandon.  

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But when the Locust showed up, their thick hides often caused the bayonets to either be deflected or snap on contact. This was a problem for the soldiers trying to fight the Locust, on account of them not wanting to die. In one such Locust attack, Tai Kaliso managed to kill one of the Locust Drones with a circular saw. He commented on the fact that it would make for a reliable method of killing the Locust... and the higher ups actually listened to him!

 This is the Mk-1 "Retro" Lancer...

This is the Mk-1 "Retro" Lancer...

That's how desperate things were. Not only did the high-ups listen to someone down on the ground, which is absurd enough already, they also thought it was a good idea to attach a chainsaw to a gun. They got their scientists to work on the idea and they actually made it happen - thus was born the Mark 2 Lancer. 

 ...and this is the MK-2 Lancer!

...and this is the MK-2 Lancer!

It's an absurd idea, a chainsaw on a gun is just ridiculous. But when taken with all the other elements of the Gears of War story, it speaks to just how dire the situation is and how desperate those who remain are. "Desperate times call for desperate measures," and all that. It was a great addition to the series because it actually helped build it up instead of feeling as though it was simply tacked on to look cool.

But then we come to Gears of War Judgment, and the actual reason behind this whole post. Judgment was a prequel game, made between Gears 3 and 4, and it was set before the canon invention of the Mark 2 Lancer. But for some reason, all the characters in Judgment have the Mark 2 Lancer... despite it not being invented yet!

 Why?!

Why?!

The writers said that it was present because Judgment focused on Special Forces and they access to better tech than the other soldiers. But this totally undercuts the importance of the weapon's point of inception, an act of savage desperation. I get the real reason why it's there though, the writers figured that they couldn't have a Gears of War game without the damn chainsaw gun... 

A long time ago, the Mark 2 Lancer was compared to the Lightsaber - it's an iconic weapon now. But the Lightsaber obviously had a point of creation within the Star Wars canon, a point where it was initially thought of and the first one was created as a prototype. Can you imagine the outrage that would ensue if someone wrote an official Star Wars novel, movie or game that was set before this point but it still somehow had Lightsabers in it? The nerdrage would destroy our planet!

 Is it really a Gears of War game if it doesn't have the chainsaw gun? Yes... yes it is. 

Is it really a Gears of War game if it doesn't have the chainsaw gun? Yes... yes it is. 

I love Gears of War, and even Judgment was more good than bad, but this was just one decision that I cannot get behind. Having to fight the Locust in the early days of the war with inferior technology would have ramped up the intensity to an insane degree. That was the point of the game, having it set in a period where the Locust were a new and unknown entity made them all the more terrifying.

The Locust were the reason for the Mark 2 Lancers invention, and the writers fucked it all up by having the effect appear before the cause had a chance to instigate it in the first place! First and foremost, a story has to be true to the world it's set in. Forget what might or might not appeal to the audience; if you absolutely have to include an element then set the story at a point in time where the element exists. The suspension of disbelief required for us to enjoy stories demands that worlds be consistent, and that means doing your homework and not taking shortcuts simply to appeal to the lowest common denominator.