The new Gears of War game won't let you light one up. A report from Variety says that Gears 5 developer The Coalition has chosen to remove all smoking references from the game.
According to Variety, the anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative approached Turner, who has the broadcast rights to Gears 5 for its esports programming ELeague. Turner collaborated with Microsoft and The Coalition, and the developer removed all smoking from the game.
"I've seen firsthand the devastating impact of smoking," says studio head Rod Fergusson in a statement to Variety. "It's always been important for me to not use smoking as a narrative device, which is why we made the conscious choice to avoid highlighting or glorifying smoking in 'Gears 5' and throughout the Gears of War Universe moving forward."
While Gears 5 will likely feature plenty of chainsaw-bayonet, flesh-tearing, and other bloody effects, smoking will not make an appearance, though it wasn't exactly a hallmark of the series to start. It's a little different than, say, Mortal Kombat taking away Jax's cigars or Yakuza ditching the smokes.
CEO of Truth Initiative Robin Koval told Variety that they commend Xbox for taking the smoking out. "We are hopeful that this decision will encourage other game developers and streaming tournaments to follow this lead and level up the gaming experience by going tobacco-free," says Koval.
It would be nice if this had an affect on underage smoking, regardless of Gears 5 likely obtaining an M for Mature rating if past games are any indication. In the meantime, if you still want to enjoy smoking in a game, maybe check out the excellent Judgment, where smoking is an actual gameplay mechanic and useful for obtaining info.