Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski talks original plans for the Gears movie, says executives wanted a PG-13 film

Gears of War Movie
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Cliff Bleszinski, former designer on the Gears of War games, made a guest appearance on the Xbox Expansion Pass podcast.
  • Bleszinski discussed a wide range of topics, including his thoughts on being a CEO at Boss Key Productions before the studio closed, Gears of War as a series, and his comic, Scrapper. 
  • Bleszinski also touched on some of the reasons the original plans for the Gears of War movie never panned out, noting some film executives wanted the film to be PG-13 and avoid the series' classic gore. 

Ever wondered why Gears of War wasn't adapted into a movie years ago? If it had, it might've been rated PG-13.

That's per game designer Cliff Bleszinski, who is widely known for his work on a number of games, but primarily remembered by many for his work on the first three Gears of War games developed by Epic Games. 

Speaking on the Xbox Expansion Pass with host Luke Lohr, Bleszinski talked through a number of topics including some of his life's work, his role as CEO at now-defunct Boss Key Productions, and reasons why the original plans for the Gears of War movie never got off the ground.

New Line Cinema first purchased the rights to develop a Gears of War movie in 2007. Bleszinski points to the number of studio names attached at the time as being a problem and keeping pre-production bogged down, adding that "If it was just Legendary, we could've made it happen." 

"People wanted to see the chainsaw, they wanted to see Locusts getting cut in half, and that would make it rated R," he says. "[Executives] wanted to make a PG-13 version of it, and I'm like 'No, screw you guys.'"

Bleszinski goes on to talk about the success of The Last of Us HBO series, the Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Halo The Series as examples of how Hollywood has gotten better at adapting video game properties into movies and TV shows over time. You can watch the full episode of the Xbox Expansion Pass below: 

A Gears of War movie is still in the cards, alongside other Xbox properties

In 2022, Netflix confirmed that it would be working on a Gears of War movie and animated series in partnership with The Coalition. Neither the movie or series has a release window at the moment, and few details are known. 

Outside of Gears of War, there's other Xbox properties that have made the leap from games to TV shows, with the second season of Halo The Series set to premiere on Feb. 8, 2024 on Paramount+. Meanwhile, a Fallout show is coming to Amazon Prime Video on April 12. There's also a Minecraft movie inbound, with an expected release window of 2025.

Analysis: Dodged a bullet (and chainsaw)

Obviously there's myriad factors that go into making movies or TV shows, but I'm definitely glad we didn't get a watered-down version of Gears of War on the silver screen, even if that means we're still waiting to see it done right. 

Netflix is not without flaws, but the platform has demonstrated time and time against its not averse to extremely mature content (if you haven't watched Blue Eye Samurai yet, correct that mistake right now), so I sincerely doubt we need to worry about a lack of blood and gore whenever the movie and animated series arrive. 

As an aside, I highly recommend checking out the full episode of Xbox Expansion Pass, as Bleszinski gives a huge number of anecdotes from across his life. Luke always does a great job with his interviews, and his channel is definitely worth subscribing to. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.