To celebrate the launch of Gears 5, the fifth installment in the Gears of War franchise, Xbox and The Coalition Studio held a special launch event at various locations around the world. The event, aptly titled Gears Ink, gave fans the opportunity to come together to share in the love for all things Gears of War, Xbox and gaming in general.
For the ANZ gaming fans, a pop up Gears Ink event was held in Melbourne, Australia. As a Kiwi living in New Zealand, I wasn’t intending on making the trip, given that it wasn’t financially viable for me to fly across the ditch for just one night.
The absolute legends at Xbox ANZ learnt of this and were incredibly gracious enough to fly me across and accommodate me, just so that I could enjoy the event that I had been so excited about. That’s just how generous, incredible and supportive Xbox is when it comes to their community. At least, that’s what I’ve felt from the team in the many years of being an Xbox fan girl.
Gears Ink in Melbourne was an absolute blast! Xbox ANZ went all out to put on a fantastic show and create such a welcoming space for not only the Gears of War fans, but industry professionals and media alike.
The activation was spectacular, with gaming stations set up for attendees to play Gears 5 ahead of launch, a massive cage area where legendary tattoo artists, Troy & Adam Slack, inked unique Gears inspired custom designs onto fans, barbers from Men’s Biz giving haircuts and beard trims to those wanting to show their devotion to the cult title, a custom t-shirt printing station for fans looking to take some Gears inspired merchandise home and more.
Right from the get go, I was impressed. The entire event was kitted out to the brim with Xbox gear and Gears 5 posters. Not only that, but there was a brilliantly made ice sculpture at the entrance, cosplayers dressed as Kait Diaz and J.D. Fenix welcoming guests in, and a mini gaming area where attendees could play split-screen co-op mode on a HUGE Samsung TV screen.
While the cosplayers were absolutely fantastic and gave the event a very Gears of War feel, it was the Xbox staff that truly made the event a memorable one for me. Each and every one of them gave attendees such a warm and welcoming feeling, engaging with us all and showing just as much excitement for Gears 5 as the fans did. It was incredible chatting with them about what they do, their thoughts on Gears 5, and just generally share the love of Xbox and gaming together.
I equally enjoyed the opportunity to see old friends, who I only ever get to see at gaming events, and make new ones. Being able to connect with new people through shared interests is one of the reasons why I love gaming so much and thoroughly enjoy events such as Gears Ink.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the gorgeous Gears 5 Xbox One X console and Kait Diaz controller on display. If you thought it looked breathtaking online, just wait till you see it up close and in person. The Gears Ink event also revealed the beautifully crafted Gears 5 themed, limited edition necklace and ring from Australian designer, Jason Moss, which was to be given away to a dedicated fan on Xbox ANZ’s social channels.
After making the rounds of speaking with as many people as I could (because I just love chatting with people), I spent a few minutes playing the Escape mode on Gears 5. Though initially I struggled with the controls, I soon found my footing and really started to enjoy myself, getting me even more hyped to play the game upon its release. The fact that you could play as the bad-ass, Sarah Connor, from Terminator: Dark Fate and kill Terminators, was just epic!
Having such fun throughout the night, my time at Gears Ink came to an end shortly after my interview with Colin Penty, the Technical Art Director from The Coalition Studio. The full interview can be read here. Colin was such a down to Earth and lovely man to speak with and showed such passion for his work, which was inspiring.
All in all, the Gears Ink event in Melbourne was a fantastic event and evidence that Xbox truly knows how to show its fans and community a good time. I’m beyond thrilled to have been surprised by Xbox ANZ’s generosity and am so grateful to the team for giving me the opportunity to experience Gears Ink for the first time.