This article is from VG247
The Gears of War series has historically squeezed just about every drop of mature content it can out of its M-rating, but in response to a recent anti-tobacco campaign, developer The Coalition has decided that smoking depictions will no longer be part of its vision for the series.
According to Variety, the decision to remove smoking depictions from Gears of War 5 and future Gears titles began when anti-smoking youth advocacy group Truth Initiative reached out to Turner, an esports division that holds broadcasting rights for Gears of War 5. Turner then collaborated with The Coalition to strip smoking depictions from the game.
Research has yet to link violence in video games to violence in real life, however, Truth Initiative’s push to remove smoking depictions from entertainment hinges on convincing data that youth are much more likely to smoke in real life when the act is depicted in the media they consume. Like The Coalition, Netflix responded to Truth Initiative’s campaign just last week, announcing that it will remove tobacco imagery from future original content.
Studio Head Rod Fergusson released a statement regarding the decision, saying, “I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking. It’s always been important for me to not use smoking as a narrative device, which is why we made the conscious choice to avoid highlighting or glorifying smoking in ‘Gears 5’ and throughout the Gears of War Universe moving forward.”
Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative applauded The Coalition’s decision, despite the studio being part of an entertainment landscape that glorifies smoking.
“We are hopeful that this decision will encourage other game developers and streaming tournaments to follow this lead and level up the gaming experience by going tobacco-free,” Koval said.
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