It’s hard to believe today that Gears of War 4 once had a rival. Indeed, back in 2006, two different IP launched on opposing platforms that drew a lot of comparisons. One of those was, of course, Gears of War. The other was Resistance: Fall of Man. Developed by Insomniac Games exclusively for the PlayStation 3, Resistance: Fall of Man featured a pocket of humanity fighting an unknown entity known as the Chimera. Both games launched November 2006, their sequels in November 2008 and their trilogy-ending titles in September 2011.
Alongside their similar releases, both franchises feature enemies with a few shared similarities. The Chimera and Locust both featured enemy types that towered over the humans, had gray and scaly skin, and managed to exterminate all life. Both even have bases beneath the ground. It’s not entirely clear how the Locust reproduce, but popular theories believe that they “process” humans to create new drones, and the Chimera use a similar process to infect and change humans. Both had their differences, but a casual observer back in 2006 could have easily mistaken one for the other.
Though similar in a few ways, both games were very different from one another. Resistance was a first-person shooter, and Gears of War was a third-person shooter. Gears of War focused on building relationships with a squad, but Resistance focused more on the lone-wolf super soldier given extraordinary gifts after being infected with the Chimeran virus. Most importantly, however, is that while Gears of War became an important franchise to Microsoft and the Xbox brand, Resistance became less important to Sony and PlayStation. Following the stunning Killzone 2, it became clear that Killzone was replacing Resistance as Sony’s main first-person shooter franchise.
Both franchises are fantastic and are among some of the best new IP to come out of last-gen, which makes Sony and Insomniac’s decision not to continue the Resistance franchise very sad. It’s a good thing that Gears of War 4 at least kind of feels like how a Resistance 4 should have gone. SPOILER Alert, we’ll be discussing plot points from Gears of War 4, and previously released Resistance games.
A key point to home in on is the Chimera reproduction cycle, which has evolved as humans found different ways to combat it. There have been numerous ways to infect a human throughout the Resistance games, but no matter the way, the conversion process always involves placing the humans in a cocoon to speed up the conversion. Fast-forward to Gears of War 4, and it’s discovered that The Swarm are using a very similar tactic.
Snatchers use internal tentacles to capture humans, infecting them, and then wrapping them in cocoons to undergo a conversion process. The Juvies that pop out of the cocoons are very reminiscent of the Grims from Resistance 2 and 3, mindless creatures whose only goal in life is to maul unsuspecting humans. Though not specifically confirmed in-game, a short cutscene during Act III hints that to make more advanced Swarm, multiple bodies have to be used. In Resistance, the more advanced strains of Chimera require multiple bodies.
There’s also an interesting sequence at the end of the game. The players find Reyna attached to The Swarm’s hive undergoing some type of conversion. Later, it is heavily hinted that Reyna might be Myrrah’s, who was the human queen of the Locust, daughter. This attempt to create a human-Swarm hybrid to rule over the Swarm is reminiscent of what the Chimera did to Raine Bouchard and Jordan Shepherd in Resistance: Retribution and Resistance 2, respectively. Bouchard was infected and would later transform into the Chrysalis, though she managed to retain her memories as a human. She would quickly be put down by James Grayson. Shepherd on the other hand became Daedalus and successfully took command of all the Chimera forces. It’ll be interesting to see if The Swarm end up going after Kait in the same way they went for Reyna. If Reyna is similar to Bouchard, who were both put down before the transformation was complete, then Kait could end up similar to Daedalus, if The Swarm goes down that path.
The buzzkill, which fires heated saws that can ricochet off walls, is also a little familiar. That’s because a similar weapon, the V7 Splicermade a brief appearance in Resistance 2. That does not say there haven’t been buzzsaw weapons in other franchises, but the similarities stick out a little here. Interestingly, the Splicer did not return in Resistance: Retribution, Resistance 3, or Resistance: Burning Skies.
Finally, we have the future of Gears of War to think about, specifically when looking at what’s going to happen to Marcus Fenix. He was clearly in that pod long enough for it to have some effect on him. Much like Nathan Hale after being infected, Marcus got a brief vision into the hive-mind network of The Swarm. A subtle cough later on in the story raises the question; is Marcus infected? Will we see Marcus go down a similar path as Nathan Hale’? Remember, in Resistance 2, Hale succumbed to the virus and had to be put down. Will we see Marcus succumb and have to be put down by his own son? It’ll be very interesting to see how these events unfold, especially for Resistance fans who know what happens when someone infected goes too long without treatment.
Sony really should bring back the Resistance franchise. Seeing as Guerrilla Games is moving on from the Killzone franchise, the publisher now has no major first-person shooter franchise. It would be great to see a Resistance 4, but that seems unlikely. Whether intentionally or not, these parts of Gears of War 4 are strongly reminiscent of the Resistance franchise. In many ways, Gears of War 4 goes exactly where one would imagine a Resistance 4 would go. Set in the future, humanity discovers that they are not entirely rid of their enemy and find they’ve been reproducing behind-the-scenes for a while now. While not a perfect match, Gears of War 4 is the closest we’re ever going to get to a Resistance 4.