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Gears 5 Smoking Ban Lets Lobbyists Win Over Art [Opinion]

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Gears 5

The developers of Gears 5 will remove all imagery relating to smoking amid pressure from anti-tobacco lobby groups.


Lobby groups thrive in the current politically correct culture, as it only takes a little push for them to achieve their goals.

Truth Initiative, an anti-tobacco lobby group seated in Washington, DC, successfully managed to remove all imagery of smoking in the latest installment of the Gears of War video game franchise.

Keep in mind that Gears of War is nestled inside a brutal post-apocalypse universe, where the after-effects of smoking might be slightly lower on the priority list than simply ensuring one’s survival on a daily basis. Furthermore, the game will almost certainly be rated M for Mature, so smoking might not be as objectionable to many as, say, chainsawing somebody in half.

Gears 5

Image courtesy of IGDB/Gears 5 press kit.

Of course, the imagery of smoking in movies and games as we know it was entirely malignant. Literally. The tobacco industry historically used various symbols of masculinity in order to sell a poisonous product. Nonetheless, the successful banning of smoking in Gears 5 portends of things to come — the exclusion and inclusion of what is deemed to be socially acceptable, irrelevant to inner workings of a game’s universe.

The successful banning of smoking in Gears 5 portends of things to come — the exclusion and inclusion of what is deemed to be socially acceptable, irrelevant to inner workings of a game's universe. Click To Tweet

Truth Initiative CEO Robin Koval claimed that smoking is still glamorized in today’s popular culture and thanks Gears 5 developers The Coalition for removing it from the game. Koval also hopes that other video game developers will “level up the gaming experience” by also removing smoking or references to tobacco from their games.

Something tells us Rockstar Games has no plans to implement a patch removing tobacco products from Red Dead Redemption 2.

What do you think of The Coalition’s decision to remove smoking from Gears 5? Do you think game developers should be allowed to create art — which is rated by the ESRB, nonetheless — without receiving pressure from lobby groups? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Xbox Wire Media Library, Twitter/@GIBiz, IGDB/Gears 5 press kit.

[Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Joystickr or its staff.]

Freelance writer, VR and cryptocurrency enthusiast. Against totalitarian social control, be it in the form of governments or corporate oligarchs.