Matter Of Perspective: Gears Of War

There are many reasons why people run. Some do it for exercise, some for charity and some for fun. Then there are those who run not because they want to but because they have to. They run to survive.

The Gears Of War games are about a people who have run to survive but are forced to face extinction on two fronts when they can’t evade their situation any more. Those people are the Locust.

But wait! The Locust emerged from their lairs and laid waste to the humans. “They’re nothing but monsters,” you may think to yourself.


However, did you ever ask why the Locust emerged in the first place? It wouldn’t have been a decision they would have taken lightly. Their society, though young, had grown rapidly below the surface of Sera and was expanding. We do know that Queen Myrrah eventually wanted to lead the Locust to the surface but was forced to do so out of necessity.

[drop]Gears Of War shows terror rising from below and while the humans had to face the terror of the Locust Horde, the Locust had to face Sera itself. The natural resource of Imulsion spread what can only be described as a disease through Locust society which eventually mutated and created the Lambent. This pretty much destroyed Locust society and they had to run from their homes. The only way to go was up, they had no choice.

Okay, but why go up armed and start a war? The reason here would be the Pendulum War, which ended only a few weeks prior to Emergence Day.

The Locust would have had scout reports that the humans were fighting and killing each other on a mass scale with powerful weapons. The Hammer Of Dawn was designed during the Pendulum War with the sole purpose to end it by inflicting heavy casualties.

Those scouts would have reported back their findings to Myrrah and the Commander In Chief. If the humans are fighting each other, what would you assume their reaction would be to a new intelligent species revealing itself?

The Locust would have to know that they’d be seen as a threat. Even beyond the simple acts of aggression they would have observed, human literary and cinematic works almost always paint the Other as dangerous. If the Locust emerged looking weak humanity would have tried to control them in some way.

The crisis came to a head as the Imulsion spread, and Myrrah ran out of time to negotiate or to emerge slowly. Their situation had become an all or nothing one. They could either take the surface of Sera quickly or watch the entire race die.

It’s not like Myrrah had just up and decided to invade the surface. After all, she had been in contact with Adam Fenix who said he would find a way to cure Lambency in the Locust as well as humans, meaning the Locust could carry on living in the Hollow.

If Adam had succeeded in time then a Locust invasion on the surface probably wouldn’t have happened. Instead the Locust would have known that a human risked a lot to save them from extinction. Suddenly humans can’t be painted as an enemy with no redeeming features. Instead this may have led to a peaceful coexistence between the two races, but it wasn’t to be.

Myrrah took her people to the surface because Adam failed and the Lambent had all but overrun the Locust. The Locust emerged fighting because that’s all they could do in this situation. They were entering into a two front war, humanity in front of them and the Lambent pandemic behind them.

[drop2]The sad thing is, the Locust never really stood a chance, despite major victories and events in their favour. The Lambent grew stronger and followed the Locust to the surface, while the humans proved a tough enemy. After all humans have become pretty efficient at war. Even with an early upper hand the Locust were fighting in enemy territory while losing numbers to both enemy bullets and disease. They just didn’t want to believe they were doomed.

Which makes their final hours tragic. A cure for Lambency had been found, but it was only effective on human biology. The same treatment would kill any Locust exposed to it. The one thing they relied on humans for became everything they feared. The Locust feared extinction, losing their identity and their home. Most of all, they feared death.

At the end of Gears 3 the Locust War ends. There is no surrender or peace treaty signing. There is only genocide. Humanity decided to use the unfinished cure against the Locust and Lambent. On that day a war ended and an entire intelligent race was wiped from the universe. They didn’t leave silently but screaming, trying to cling on to life.

The Locust weren’t the monsters they are portrayed as. Yes, they committed atrocities in war but, unfortunately, that happens in all war. They had art, religion and science. Just look at the Locust Palace in Gears 2. No matter where you come from that was an architectural masterpiece with artistic depictions of Locust life. The Rift Worm was their deity, and science allowed them to engineer their own weapons.

No, the Locust weren’t monsters. They were just running scared.



  1. You do know that the Locust are fictional right?

    • The point of the Matter Of Perspective series is to look at games and characters in a different way. An analysis of them if you will, just like literary and film analysis. They’re fictional as well but it doesn’t stop people examining them. I’ve just applied the same thing to gaming.

      • Just kidding around. It was and interesting and well written piece, and I meant no offence.

      • No offence taken. Just explaining the aim of the series.

  2. Great read. I’ve never looked at it in that way before. Poor locust.

  3. Yah, interestung read but I still thing the gears storyline as a whole was bit pants after Gears 1.

    • the story itself isn’t all that bad, the games just do a pretty terrible job at telling it at times :)

      • I love Gears (2 & 3, I never played the first) but I agree that the decent story isn’t really told as prominently as it could be. It’s kind of like they have it but they just wanted it to be in the background of the games, rather than a focal point.

    • Whoa I wasn’t drunk when I typed that so I don’t know where those spelling errors came from.

      I found the ending a little too “convenient” really but I did enjoy them, was really hoping for a little more from the potential though.

  4. That was an excellent article, so much so i felt like a p**** for laying waste to many a locust horde in Gears 1, never got to play 2 or 3. Its humanities greatest tragedy to destroy anything we don’t understand.

    I really like these matter of perspective of articles, hope there is more to come.

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