Our list of top lore theories on the Gears 5 story campaign and where it's headed

Gears 5 is almost here, and ahead of its release, I've been replaying the main series of games. I'm a massive fan of the lore and the story in the series, which is honestly deeper and more harrowing than many seem to realize. As I've gone through, I'm also going through my list of theories and have decided to compile a list of things that the Gears 5 campaign could likely tackle. Some are relatively simple, some are a bit of stretch, but hey, that's the fun of it, right? Throughout the entirety of the series, there have been tons of interesting questions raised, but very few of said questions have been answered. If even a handful of these are addressed, there's plenty of story potential. Please note that due to the nature of this piece, there will obviously be spoilers for the four previous mainline games, as well as the Gears of War: Ascendance novel written by Jason M. Hough. All good? Then proceed!

Gears 5 will open with a massive invasion of the Swarm hives...that ends in disaster

From Gears of War: Ascendance, we know that Baird is increasing the production of the DeeBees while improving their combat proficiency. That's even a part of the Gears 5 Bootcamp mode, as Del is running through the basics of combat as Baird integrates those patterns as plays for the DeeBees to use against the Swarm. After all, there were only two burial sites visited in Gears of War 4. There are many, many others, and as they pop open, the near-endless Horde is going to overrun the COG unless an army can be raised quickly.

Unfortunately, something is being missed. At the end of Gears of War 4, a DeeBee was "hacked" by the Swarm, corrupted by a Pouncer's barbs and attempting to strangle JD. Utilizing these advances, I believe the prologue to Gears 5 will have us pushing in, invading the Swarm hives...at which point, despite some initial success, the Swarm will push back, hacking into or infecting the majority of the DeeBee forces. Overwhelmed, this will lead to JD being gruesomely injured, gaining several scars and a gnarly infection in his arm.

There's a couple of reasons I think this will happen. For starters, the official website for Gears 5 contains this description of the campaign:

The world is crumbling. The Swarm has corrupted the Coalition's robot army and is descending upon human cities. With danger closing in, Kait Diaz breaks away to uncover her connection to the enemy and discovers the true threat to Sera – herself.

On top of that, every trailer shown so far has included infected, tentacled DeeBees that seem to be aiming for a more horror-esque atmosphere. They appear to be acting as sentries, lying dormant until alerted by noise. With the COG's DeeBee forced turned against them as everyone retreats to the city of New Ephyra, the tension and stakes will be high.

Following this invasion, there will be a harrowing time skip

In the "Meet Fahz" trailer that was released during E3 2019, JD, Kait, and Oscar still look (for the most part) like they did in Gears 5. It's a far cry from what we see in the E3 2018 cinematic trailer, where JD is scarred, has cut his hair and appears to be suffering from an infected arm injury, which he's treating with a special armor suit. He's even grown a beard. Clearly, some time has to have passed and given how the camera seems to shift into gameplay during the "Meet Fahz" cinematic, we'll probably be playing as JD in the prologue.

At an absolute minimum, there has to be a time skip of a few months, perhaps even a full year. This is an excellent opportunity to show the harrowing toll the war is taking on humanity, as well as the continued nightmares and distrust of herself that Kait is undergoing.

Niles Samson is still alive, and the purpose of the Locust will be revealed

It's my firm belief that Niles Samson is actually still alive and is currently helping to guide the Swarm. If you don't remember that name, Niles Samson was the director of the New Hope facility, which Delta Squad visited in Gears of War 2. They found the facility abandoned and entirely off the books, managed by a non-entirely stable AI that was modeled after Niles' personality.

As director of the facility, Niles oversaw the Sires, eventually leaving with several specimens on a trip to Mount Kadar when Prescott and the rest of the COG's top brass pulled his funding. The tunnels underneath Mount Kadar are part of the former Locust stronghold, and the connection between the Sires to the Locust (and now the Swarm) is something that would be great to explore, especially if it turns out Niles is still alive, against all the odds. We know that the Sires are returning, as seen in the E3 2019 Escape trailer:

It seems an absolute no-brainer that the Sires are the progenitors of the Locust, so why weren't they crystallized and cocooned like the rest of the Locust? Maybe they are still different enough? These are questions that need answering, and I think we will be getting answers. In the E3 2018 trailer, we see that Kait and Del's journey will take them back to the New Hope facility, as well as the icy northern territory surrounding Mount Kadar.

Going back to Niles Samson, the clincher for this theory is that Niles was the voice announcer for the Swarm faction in the Versus Tech Test. Is that a coincidence? Unlikely.

The Locust Queen's mind remains in the Swarm and she's trying to influence Kait

Moving back to the Swarm, there's a big question that needs to be asked: why is the Locust Queen featured in the key art for Gears 5? She's dead, right? After bringing down her Tempest mount in the exciting climactic boss battle of Gears of War 3, Marcus stabbed her in the stomach with a knife. There's no way she should still be around, unless her mind continued on, as the voice of the Locust, forever guiding the Swarm. If that's the case, it makes sense that her mind is trying to influence Kait through nightmares and visions. Just like she might have done to Kait's mom Reyna when Reyna was connected to the hive and asked Kait to be let loose from her suffering.

If the mind of the Queen has lingered on, we could get some fascinating dynamics, as Kait isn't just fighting voices in her head. We might also finally get some answers on how a human (by all appearances) ended up as the revered Queen of the Locust Horde, not to mention how that bond has endured and evolved through her children.

There's another Riftworm

In Gears of War 2, the death of the Riftworm was a massive blow to the Locust cause, who (through the Kantus Skorge) had been guiding the creature to sink the remaining COG cities, punching holes around Jacincto. But who says it was the only one? If we take some of the collectibles literally, the Locust religion was based around the worship of the Riftworms - plural. There could be more, lying dormant.

Buried deep, deep into the core of Sera, any remaining Riftworms might have been shielded from the effects of Adam Fenix's Imulsion countermeasure. Even if they weren't, other Locust beasts like the Brumak's underwent similar cocooning to the Locust themselves, so a Swarm Riftworm is entirely possible. So, I'm going to make the call that Gears 5 will end with the Swarm awakening a new Riftworm. I sincerely doubt this creature will be defeated by the time the game ends (though it would make one heck of a final boss), positioning it as a significant threat to the city of New Ephyra and the last bastion of humanity.

While I recognize this is probably the most significant stretch in this list, the idea of the Swarm Riftworm is frankly just incredibly cool and what better way to instill a sense of looming terror than to end on that note?

Baird will bring the Hammer of Dawn back online...and perhaps something else

Barely functional even back in Gears of War 3, the Hammer of Dawn was completely offline by Gears of War 4. Per Gears of War: Ascendance, Baird is petitioning Jinn for resources to try and figure out how to bring the Hammer back online. Jinn refuses, so Baird secretly begins looking over any relevant data by himself. He's also reviewing the information recorded by Adam Fenix on Azura. Azura was packed to the brim with robust technology, including a generator that cloaked the island in a massive artificial storm and riptides, keeping unwanted visitors away. If the COG has any hope of defeating the Swarm, it will no doubt lie in what Baird finds.

Kait will not betray the COG

The marketing so far has made it clear that Kait is suffering. Her mind is torn between the love and loyalty she holds to her friends and a mysterious pull, connecting her to the Swarm, like her mother and grandmother before her. Despite everything, however, I believe Kait will stay true to the COG. There's no real proof of this one way or another; I think she's being positioned as an icon and a hero, against all the odds.

We haven't seen much of the campaign, only small snippets, and brief cinematic clips. That could potentially pay off if The Coalition dives into some of the interesting material they have to play with. These are exciting times, and I can't wait to dive into this campaign.

Gears 5 is currently set to release on September 10, 2019 for Xbox One and PC (September 6 for the Ultimate Edition). Like all titles published by Xbox Game Studios, Gears 5 included with Xbox Game Pass and the Ultimate Edition is included with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Related: Gears 5 'Versus' multiplayer test shows piles of potential

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.