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The Gears 5 Ending Explained

"Gears 5" is the latest entry in Microsoft's massive third-person shooter series, and it made a ton of changes. It was the first game to feature open-world style sections in the campaign. It was also the first main-line entry to feature a main playable character whose last name isn't Fenix and the first to have a female playable character in Kait Diaz. The story follows Kait as she tries to not only uncover the truth behind the Swarm but also the truth behind her own lineage, since at the end of "Gears of War 4," it was revealed that Kait's grandmother was the Locust Queen. Also during the campaign, the COG works to restore the Hammer of Dawn satellites so they can use the space laser against the enemy.

The final mission of the game involves trying to get the Hammer of Dawn fully online to take down the Leviathan, a massive monster. During the run-up to the end, Kait, Del, and JD run into Kait's mother Reyna, who has transformed completely into the Swarm Queen, which is where "Gears 5" presents another first, narrative choice.

Saving Del

Reyna grabs Del and JD, holding both by their necks, and Kait must choose to save one of them. If you choose to save Del, Reyna snaps JD's neck, killing him instantly. The ground begins collapsing, and JD's corpse falls into a chasm. Del and Kait share an emotional moment together over the death of their friend, and after a short sequence, they meet back up with Marcus Fenix and company. Marcus immediately asks where his son is and is distraught over his death. Fahz shows up with a vehicle to take Delta squad to the next location and starts to crack a joke but quickly realizes what has happened and stays in stunned silence. The game ends with everyone who survived reuniting, and Kait vows to find Reyna.

This ending makes the most sense between the two, as JD's death serves as a completion of the redemption arc his character goes through during the game. At the end of Act One, JD makes the choice the fire the Hammer of Dawn without proper targeting, causing a ton of collateral damage and estranging him from Kait and Del for the middle chunk of the game. It is also revealed here that he ordered troops to fire on a group of protestors. He comes to Del and Kait's aid in the desert, and they eventually find a way to move forward as friends. His death completes the arc, since it both spares Del and lets JD die knowing he patched up his relationships with Kait and Del.

Saving JD

The alternative option is to save JD, resulting in Del's death. JD is equally distraught at the death of his friend as Del was. This path plays out pretty similarly to saving Del, except that Marcus gets to comfort his son at the loss of a friend instead of losing his only remaining family. This time, when Fahz arrives, he begins to poke fun at Del before realizing what has happened. The ending ultimately plays out exactly the same, with JD in place of Del.

Del's death feels more tragic than JD's, due to Del being Kait (and the player's) companion for the entire game. Del also helps Kait find out about her past and is a good friend to her the entire time. Kait loses one of the people closest to her, and JD loses his lifelong friend that he had only recently reunited with.

While the differences between the two endings are very significant in "Gears 5," it does make for some interesting story choices moving forward. The Coalition has not said which ending is canon, or even if they are going to pick a canon ending. While it would take an extreme amount of work to make a sequel with two different sets of cutscenes and animations based on who lived, it is possible.

Jack's sacrifice

The other character to die during the ending sequence is Jack, the third playable character and lovable robot, who has been around since the start of the series. After blasting the Leviathan with a railgun a few times, Baird says that he is unable to target it with the Hammer of Dawn because he can't get a lock on it. Jack overrides the controls for the Hammer of Dawn, focuses the targeting coordinates on himself, and flies into the mouth of the Leviathan. Baird is distraught at this, since Jack is not only his creation but a friend of multiple decades.

This heroic sacrifice is what delivers the killing blow to the Leviathan, ultimately saving the day. Jack most likely won't be returning in the next "Gears" title, but considering that Jack was the second robot to join Delta squad during "Gears 5," it seems likely that another robot buddy will join the team.

Kait and Gears moving forward

With Kait vowing to find and destroy her mother, the Swarm Queen, the plot of the next "Gears" title seems pretty obvious. Earlier in the game, Kait and Del learn that the Locust were created by a team of scientists, who were attempting to make controllable super soldiers. This is also the point where Kait learns that not only is she the granddaughter of the original Locust Queen, but she herself has some capability in controlling the horde. Kait chooses to sever her connection to the horde, destroying the risk of her becoming the Swarm Queen if her mother Reyna dies.

Kait being able to reject the "gifts" of being the next Swarm Queen points to the possibility of the next "Gears" title being the final entry. While the Swarm was able to return without a queen at first, they don't start giving humanity too much trouble until Reyna starts leading them in "Gears 5." As the scene explaining the origin of the Locust states, they are not intelligent creatures and need proper leadership to be unstoppable killing machines.

While during the events of "Gears 5," it seems as though Kait was successful in severing her connection, it's possible in the next game it may come back as she attempts to kill Reyna. While we don't know for sure what is next, we do know that Kait will be at the center of that game's plot.