Gears 5 Boss Clarifies The Game's Stance On Smoking And Tobacco

Gears 5 will not feature any depictions of smoking as part of a move to avoid glamorizing the addictive and deadly habit. Rod Fergusson, the head of developer The Coalition, said in a series of tweets that he has been against depictions of smoking in Gears "from the beginning."

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aconnellan829d ago

Some quotes from the article (and Twitter) to clear up any points of discussion from the other article:

“Some stories have suggested that Gears 5 at one point featured depictions of smoking and were later removed, but this isn't true, Fergusson said. He said there is "no censorship" because Gears 5 never had smoking to begin with; you can't remove what was never there.”

And another:

"I didn't want to glamorize something that is addictive and kill you," he said. "Wasn't trying to me any moral police, just reflecting my beliefs after losing friends to lung cancer. If you had the ability to create a world, what would you change?"

People need to stop being so quick to cry ‘censorship’ at the drop of a hat, because when we start criticising developers for their creative decisions then that itself is censorship.

UltraNova829d ago

I'd like to quickly point out that the guy who is making the game and worries about smoking and how it can kill you is the same guy that is making a game known for chainsaw massacre killing and cutting edge looking gore.

aconnellan829d ago

Completely valid, but I don’t think the guy who made the game has lost friends to chainsaw killing, yet he has lost friends to lung cancer, hence his apprehension towards including it

UltraNova829d ago

Never questioned his personal reasons but "irony" does not differentiate nor plays favorites.

Ausbo829d ago

Yeah but you could argue that aliens called locusts and chainsaw guns are so over the top and unrealistic.

Whereas tobacco is a real thing and problem in today’s society

CorndogBurglar829d ago

This is not the same thing at all lol

UltraNova829d ago


Fair enough but still if a dev wants to delve into social issues and drag their game into this black hole then all is fair game at that point.

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Juusterey829d ago

i'd say that looked pretty damn glamourizing

spicelicka829d ago

I'd like to point out that chainsaws don't kill hundreds of people and his friend didn't die of a chainsaw addition. It's his artistic discretion, stop losing your pants over it. If I was the creative director of a game I would do whatever tf I wanted, and so would you.

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Shiken829d ago

Most of the people who cry censorship over this are just Sony fans bitter about the ACTUAL censorship that they have. Almost as if to say, "see, MS is doing it too!"

Thats the problem with the media, everything gets twisted and sheep follow it without question. Fact is that had he not mentioned anything about smoking not being present, no one would have noticed. I think this was just him doing something alomg the lines of awareness, and it just blew up in his face over people making a deal out of nothing.

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rainslacker828d ago

Most Sony fans aren't defending Sonys censorship policies. The ones that are seem more intent on trolling others for being pedophiles than trying to defend sony

gamer7804829d ago

In this case i don't have a big problem with it , it's not really censorship if it was never there and the dev isn't being forced or coerced into it. Let the devs be free to create, this is totally different than what Sony has been doing with their jaoanese titles.

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bluefox755829d ago (Edited 829d ago )

We're not criticizing the creative decisions, we're criticizing the motivation behind them. It's not done for "creative" reasons. Also they got paid to do it. Furthermore, the game is rated mature.

aconnellan828d ago

Paid to do what? Not include smoking? I’m not sure I understand your response

DaDrunkenJester829d ago

Apparently he has been ridding smoking from Gears since Gears 2. Dizzy originally had a cigar, but in game it was a piece of straw.

If it's the creative directors choice and he wasn't forced by an outside organization then I dont see a problem with it. The original story made it seem like the anti smoking organization got involved and they had to go back and remove all smoking. But like Rod said, you cant remove or censor something that was never in the game in the first place.

Smokehouse829d ago

If it wasn’t a story the no one would care. Who would have been screaming “no smoking, no buy!”? Absolutely no one. It’s just more shit click bait journalism from the worst media in any medium. This is the kind of game news we get now, “truth commercials”.

DaDrunkenJester828d ago

No one would have even noticed haha just like Gears 4. Was there a single person who asked why none of the characters in that game weren't smoking? No. It's just something stupid to foster fake outrage about something. I was at first against this because the original story made it seem like the anti smoking org was forcing The Coalition to remove all smoking, but now his clarification and reasonings makes sense and not a big deal at all.

rainslacker828d ago

I still dont think not having smoking in the game is relevant in any way. But the dev is the one that made it a topic by posting something that was based on his moral belief, whereas, it was in no way a topic of discussion for any gears game ever that I recall.

His original comment seemed like it was removed, as opposed to just not being there. If he had said they didnt put it in because of his stance on the issue, it wouldn't have required clarification, and while some may fuss about it because it's an M rated game, it would have at least been a creative decision...even if done from a personal motivation.

Eulderink828d ago (Edited 828d ago )

you forgot the hypocritical part imo.

"He pointed out that the concept art for the character Dizzy from Gears 2 was shown with a cigarette. But in the final game, the character doesn't smoke. That's because Fergusson stepped in and "stopped it."

i mean this is censorship....
and yea if it was allready removed in Gears 2 no shit u won't see it the games after it xD
i get his personal crusade against smoking, and tbh i don't care that much if people smoke (or not) in-game or RL.

I got personal experience too with a lot of family members dieing cause of it atleast 6 people and we are a pretty small family. Still i see it as the freedom of human beings in the end. I mean as long as you know the negative effects of it, which are widely knows since the 60's 70's. hell even in WW2 the correlation was proven.

My point is: just say that you banned smoking from the game and you couldn't care less if people thinks it's censorship. cause you think it's harmfull and smoking should be banned forever.

i don't try to moral police... plz you did. just say it and don't bs with artistic freedom.

Hell you couldn't even make it that the character coughs all the time, makes constant comments that he needs to take a breather and dies in the end cause he couldn't run any longer cause of his f*cked up lungs.

aconnellan828d ago

He’s the Creative Director - somebody internal drafted a concept for the game, and it wasn’t included in the final version because it didn’t pass internal review.

Does that mean every cut level, character, and line of dialogue from any game ever is censorship?

rainslacker828d ago

The way he first said something made it seem like it was removed. He choose his words poorly. Sure, people should try to remain level headed, but doesn't mean that the full story was there from the start. Some of the clarifications didnt come in until after people commented, and many others never read past the headline.

There is still the nature of not showing smoking, but it's an M rated game....or his reason for even saying anything as it apparently didnt matter since no one who plays or hates gears ever talked about smoking in the game.

He says he wasn't trying to take a moral stand on it, but the fact he said anything to highlight his beliefs counters it, since hes the one that made it a topic in the first place, and that topic seems more now based on him stating his stance on the issue

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FallenAngel1984829d ago

“"I didn't want to glamorize something that is addictive and kill you,"

As opposed to featuring numerous weapons that can actually kill you

AspiringProGenji829d ago

**hides chainsaw under the bed

rainslacker828d ago

There are approximately 28k chainsaw injuries every year.

Oddly enough, a chainsaw is more likely to kick back and cause an injury against soft material like alien flesh, than it would against hard materials like wood.

***The more you know***

amazingmax7829d ago (Edited 829d ago )

By that logic, might as well just censor guns, brawls, blood etc, in short anything to do with violence (& gore) overall. :P

spicelicka829d ago

They didn't censor anything....

FanboyPolice829d ago

Smoking is a disgusting habit that can cause lung cancer and other complications and the Tobacco industry kills more than a million people every year. It's just free advertising for such an evil. The weapons are necessary for gameplay, a dude who smokes just doens't add anything to the story or gameplay.

meka2611829d ago

How about stop policing people and let them make their own decisions. So tired of bubble wrapping the world to protect idiots. If you want to smoke then go ahead and smoke, the government and people need to stay out of people's business with this kind of stuff.

OB1Biker829d ago

I respect personal reason s of one man but depicting the reality is what being mature is all about.
Theres also better chances to help showing nasty stuff rather than hiding them.
I hope that trend doesnt take off.

SamPao828d ago

A dude who smokes indicates that the character does put his addiction and possible satisfaction over his health. So it doed add a lot to a character. :)

DaDrunkenJester828d ago (Edited 828d ago )


Lol how ironic is your statement?

"How about stop policing people and let them make their own decisions."

Um, so should Rod go back through his game and add smoking to it? There was never smoking in the game, there was no censorship or removal. You're literally telling The Coalition that "their own decision" to make a game with no smoking is wrong. There was no government involved here. Calm down

rainslacker828d ago'd think the government would do something about that.

It's not the tobacco industry killing people. It's people making the choice to smoke. I smoked for well over 20 years. Even before I started I was well aware of the risks. I ended up not caring.

I'll be smoke free almost a year next month, and I'll take responsibility for my own choices and actions. Thanks, but I dont need you diverting blame for me

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AspiringProGenji829d ago (Edited 829d ago )

no Smoking in video games won't stop teens from trying it. Marijuana is legal now and you see tons of them smoking it, then there's the Vaping and Hooka Fads nowadays as well... It is inevitable.

Besides, even heavy smokers won't die or get diagnosed from lung cancer until their 80s when their lungs can't hold anymore. It won't kill anyone in their youth. While I understand what he said about not wanting to promote something that could kill people, it still means nothing.

So all devs should stop being afraid of portraying smoking in video games. Kojima does it and no Metal Gear fan is a smoker because Snake does it.

aconnellan829d ago

Completely agree that it won’t stop people, but that’s only a small part of the article.

He also said he lost friends to lung cancer and that plays a big part in why it’s not included, because of that personal connection. He’s not afraid to do it, it’s a very purposeful choice

AspiringProGenji829d ago

That’s okay but I was also talking in general.

meka2611829d ago

So what? That was their decision to start smoking just because he didn't like it doesn't mean they didn't. I smoked for about 18 years and then quit because I wanted to, not from pressure or anyone else. I get tired of everyone having to protect other people like they are kids and don't know what they are doing.

conanlifts829d ago

"even heavy smokers won't die or get diagnosed from lung cancer until their 80s when their lungs can't hold anymore"

Do you believe that? I treat smoking related illnesses and the diseases that kill people, like COPD, strokes, heart disease, lung cancer etc do not wait until people are in their 80's. Pancreatic cancer tends to surface from 70+ but smoking is often a cause. But most diseases like those mentioned tend to start surfacing when people reach their 50's. Sometimes much younger, other times later.

AspiringProGenji828d ago (Edited 828d ago )

I do!

On average it takes a long time for smokers to start having lung problems due to smoking. Anyone in their youth will rarely have any issues smoking (only if there any other common COPD issues like Asthma and Bronchitis). While Smoking can lead to stroke, heart, and other diseases, it still depends on the individual and it usually happens in the long term. For some people it might happen sooner, but like I said it depends

I am not a smoker or promoting smoking by any means, but like I said it still takes a long time for smoking to cause cancer on average, and smokers themselves don’t even care lol, so devs

I am a RRT and RPSGT by the way, tho right now I am working treating sleep disorders. So I now what I am saying

CorndogBurglar829d ago

"Besides, even heavy smokers won't die or get diagnosed from lung cancer until their 80s when their lungs can't hold anymore."

What the hell are you talking about? That is so far from being true its comical...

FanboyPolice829d ago (Edited 829d ago )

It makes a change. The fact that a teenager does not see his/her hero as a compulsive smoker is a good thing. He may try it anyways, but if his hero smokes, he is more likely to accept that habit as a cool thing heroes do.

Their 80s? Are you for real with that sentence?

meka2611829d ago

Yea cuz that's what got me smoking, seeing it in movies and games; oh wait no it wasn't. Most smokers do not start that way if anything it's their friends or family that usually get them into it.

coolbeans829d ago

"Besides, even heavy smokers won't die or get diagnosed from lung cancer until their 80s when their lungs can't hold anymore. It won't kill anyone in their youth."

In your attempt to make an overarching point about Ferguson's unnecessary stance you come off looking incredibly ignorant or uncritical in your language. I mean...those heavy smokers who make it are either the RARE exception who avoided lung cancer, had costly surgery, or made complete lifestyle changes to reach that age. You're looking at about 25 years cut off a lifespan on average if you start early. And it most certainly will can anyone in their youth, depending on the circumstance. An irresponsible parent exposing their kid to 2nd hand smoke can get him/her on the fast track to an early grave if he/she also takes up smoking, for instance.

rainslacker828d ago

There are usually other smoking related illnesses which get smokers than lung cancer.

Lung cancer is certainly a concern, and people who smoke are at a much higher risk than those that dont.

I dont wish to dissuade you from what you're trying to say, but you start off by calling him ignorant, then go on to say that those that make it are rare.

More smokers dont get lung cancer than do, but there are plenty of other potential health problems that do crop up, like emphysema, copd, high blood pressure, etc. If that's what you were trying to refer to, then I think stating those are important, because while cancer is scary, and gets people's attention, all those other things can be just as scary.

AspiringProGenji828d ago (Edited 828d ago )

On average it takes a long time to develop lung cancer due to smoking. Some get it earlier or later, it really depends... But on average it happens after the 60s. I might have exaggerated saying after their 80s instead, but many smoker do reach this age without being diagnosed Lung cancer

COPD is the most common disorder in smokers and even those also take a long time as well. Young people can get away because the lungs can recover themselves, but the problem is when they get addicted to it. Then Smoking becomes a long term risk

Whatever. I was just trying to say that censoring smoking in games won’t stop anyone from trying it, and certainly won’t kill anyone in the short term to be worrying about it so much,

coolbeans828d ago (Edited 828d ago )


Neither I insinuated that was the case nor, did I think Genji believed so either. It should be easy to understand lung cancer as a means of shorthand vs. HAVING to make a Wikipedia list for all related illnesses here.

Speaking as someone who's lost a family member from one of those others you've listed, I get that they exist too but, in the context of my response, I don't see the imperative to bring them up. And in regards to ignorance, between this and Genji's...knee-jerk response to counter my accusation of ignorance: you're both missing the forest for the trees.

Mixed in his argument of artistic intent is a surprising dismissal of the potential costs to smoking, ESPECIALLY when you're bringing up an age that not even the average American will live to see (currently). And--even more impressive--this casual dismissal is done in response to an creative director whose father died before reaching 40 b/c of smoking!

When taking a wide-eyed view to this one, I think you'll see how parts of both responses are grappling with omissions that are oftentimes permissible to omit for the greater point.


"I dont wish to dissuade you from what you're trying to say, but you start off by calling him ignorant, then go on to say that those that make it are rare. "

C'mon...I literally added two separate qualifiers right after that. The point being, once again, that a heavy smoker is statistically unlikely to reach age 80 on their own (so to speak).

rainslacker828d ago

I wouldn't generalize when one would get lung cancer as it can be at any age, and statistically speaking, more people dont get cancer than do. The risk is much higher for smokers though.

Emphazyma is usually a bigger concern for smokers, as it affects a much higher percentage of smokers, and can come sooner than ones 80s.

When one is younger and starts smoking, it will probably be a while before the negative effects start to show up, but within 10 years, some changes to ones health may be apparent...usually long capacity or possibly blood pressure issues.

After 10 years it can be really hard to quit. I did almost a year ago, after 20 years of smoking, and I feel better, but it was hell for a couple months, and I still get cravings.

That said, I dont think representations of smoking I media make people start smoking. Most people smoke because their parents do, or their peers do. I think one would be hard pressed to find someone who saw it in a game or TV show, then decided to go out and buy a pack of cigarettes. So, access to them is usually the dominate factor. Nowadays, smoking is rarely presented as something cool, or what the cool kids do, and the social stigma against smokers is against them more than ever before.

conanlifts828d ago (Edited 828d ago )

"I am a RRT and RPSGT" Not trying to be funny regarding your knowledge base but if you think people are not effected by smoking until their later life then you have huge gaps. Even more concerning given you work in sleep and respiratory. No idea what your cohort of patients are but in an acute setting you would see a huge number of people with COPD, particularly if you use NIV in your lab. You should look up statistics for COPD, which is caused by smoking in approximately 80% of cases. This is typically diagnosed in people over 40 but the average onset would be 50-60 years old. As for lung cancer this tends to effect older people as you say, but the average age is 70, not 80+.

By the way, not trying to sound harsh with my response. So if it comes across that way it's not my intention.

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PhoenixUp829d ago

Ferguson claims that his father smoked & died of a heart attack at 38, which was when Rod himself was 4 years old. This most likely reasonably contributed to his anti-smoking stance

However what about the people who lost their loved ones to gun violence? Should that mean that guns should be taken out of this game?

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Scar-829d ago

Exactly this is why I hate when people get up in arms about smoking but allow drinking, drugs and guns. Drunk drivers kill people everyday, on top of alcohol poisoning and kidney disease but no one seems bothered enough to remove alcohol from any media they even still have commercials all over the net and TV they just say drink responsible and its okay.

spicelicka829d ago

You know the answer to that question if you think about it. He is the creative director on the game, his personal perspective is going to show through it no matter what. Think about God of war, Cary Barlog's relationship with his son greatly affected how the game turned out, and he also didn't include graphic nudity/sex etc.

People who lost their love ones to guns can choose not to make games with guns if they're in charge of making a game, why should that affect what Rod is doing? He clearly stated he isn't trying to be moral police.

PhantomS42829d ago

Having a character smoke isn't glamorizing it. This game also shouldn't be played by the people you don't want to risk "glamorizing" smoking. It's an M rated video game is a ton of violence that is way worse than a small cigarette or cigar.