“Gears of War 4” is set a quarter of a century following the events of “Gears of War 3.” However, that does not mean that long-time fans of the franchise will not find familiar faces, names and clues harking back to the predecessor.

For instance, in an exclusive with Game Informer, the developer revealed that war hero Marcus Fenix actually had a son, and he is the lead in “Gears of War 4.” JD Fenix was an idealist who had his own encounter with the COG militia that made him run go AWOL. Voice actor Liam McIntyre describes JD as a freedom fighter and a renegade, but one who still belongs to the league of heroes.

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Female protagonist Kait Diaz is the daughter of leaders of Outsiders. According to Kait’s voice actress Laura Bailey, who had voice roles in “Dragon Ball Z” and “Halo 5 Guardians,” players who are not familiar with “Gears of War” yet may enjoy the world from her perspective, as she is also a newcomer in the military setting.

Finally, Del Walker, played by Eugene Byrde, is JD’s loyal companion who was with him during the incident that sent both of them into AWOL territory. It seems that his and JD’s friendship has a strong foundation, because even if Del was involved in the incident and has to follow JD’s lead into the Outsiders’ territory, their friendship remains.

Tidbits of the full story and more details were posted online by neoGAF user shinobi602, also known for some insider industry leaks. The Coalition developed the story so that it will take place in a period of 24 hours. In the world of “Gears of War 4,” it appears that weather and the environment will play a pretty big role.

There are devastating wind storms, where humanity’s main protection were the walled cities. The game features four categories of this weather, ranging from heavy breeze to category three, where the windstorms can actually influence battle and combat. When a player encounters category 4 windstorms, the only goal is to survive and avoid lightning strikes.

“Gears of War 4” will introduce the use of weather in fighting. Using weapons when in category 3 weather can actually influence how they work. Players can also make use of the weather to propel themselves for projectile travel, and strategically use the weather against enemies, as they are not immune to its effects as well. However, since the wind is always tricky, players should also take care not to get into the crossfire, as some consequences like bullets being thrown back by the wind is highly possible.

The enemy in “Gears of War 4” are called The Swarm. Some enemies ae those that have been hatched from their own cocoons, emerging from them looking like humanoid monsters.

“Gears of War 4” will also feature two-player couch co-op though GameSpot added that the number has been scaled back from the previous four-player support. This goes for both the local and multiplayer aspect of the game. It appears that the combination of the two-player characters will always include JD Fenix in one of them, with the other player having the option to be either Kait or Del.

While there is no definite release date for “Gears of War 4” other than a time window later this year, a beta is expected sometime in spring. Mobipicker spotted a tweet from Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg, who assured fans that “Gears of War 4” is in good hands with The Coalition. He also hinted the hashtag “#BETAUPNEXT” which could mean that the game is shaping up nicely for beta.

"Gears of War 4" trailer (Credit: YouTube/GameNewsOfficial)