Microsoft backs up Geoff Keighley after he ignited console warrior outrage over the Gears of War: E-Day trailer

Gears of War: E-Day screenshot
(Image credit: The Coalition)

Over the weekend, ubiquitous gaming event producer and host Geoff Keighley tweeted about the surprise reveal of Gears of War: E-day that closed out the Xbox Games Showcase. "The great Gears of War piece was a CG from Blur Studio," Keighley said, "using in-game assets from UE5." Now, you might read that tweet and think, as I did, that it was an innocuous attempt to provide additional context for a cool trailer. That's because you and I are reasonable people. Unfortunately for Keighley—for society in general, perhaps—he'd stepped on a console war landmine. 

As an exercise, I'll give you a moment to decide for yourself where Keighley was "downplaying the hard work of developers," as accused by the replies that had started to flood in over the ensuing hours. If you're stumped: It's because, while the trailer was labeled on-screen as "in-engine footage," Keighley had called it "CG."

You could argue that, by calling the trailer "CG," Keighley was attempting to minimize The Coalition's technical prowess by equating the in-engine footage with a pre-rendered trailer. You could, but I wouldn't—particularly because, despite the impression that a lot of those replies seemed to operate under, "in-engine footage" doesn't necessarily mean "rendered real-time and in-game."

Twitter users accuse Geoff Keighley of downplaying the Gears of War: E-Day trailer.

(Image credit: Twitter users @wileracer, @ACID360, @XboxJuan4K)

The conversation quickly went off the rails, and more information was sorely needed: Was it pre-rendered or not? Xbox marketing director Guy Welch replied with a clarification that didn't quite clarify enough: "Blur developed the trailer hand-in-hand with our team using Unreal Engine 5," Welch said. "The trailer is developed with in-game models, textures, environments, and props that players will see in the final game."

The E-day trailer, Welch said, was an homage to the original Gears of War trilogy trailers, "which were made in Unreal Engine with in-game assets." What he crucially left unsaid was that, while both the E-day trailer and the original Gears trailers were built in Unreal with game assets, they were pre-rendered. As a result, his reply was just vague enough to be read as a refutation to Keighley, leading to a pile-on of further replies that declare Keighley "cooked."

Between Twitter users jeering at Keighley, one expresses confusion about what's even being argued over.

(Image credit: Twitter users @RPGTatin, @DoAfLoSs)

Microsoft eventually issued an additional clarification, effectively interceding on Keighley's behalf. Speaking to GameSpot, a spokesperson from The Coalition said that the E-day trailer was captured in Unreal Engine 5, but it "was not captured in real time as some have suggested."

If the response to Keighley's tweet seemed intense to you, I agree. But then, I don't have a dog in the console war fight. To Xbox loyalists, however, Keighley is apparently seen as a PlayStation sympathizer and thus, fair game for a dogpile—I guess because he's buddies with Hideo Kojima, whose games have been Sony console exclusives? I don't know, man. Even in the age of multiplatform releases, I guess the console war will drag on as long as someone's convinced they're fighting it. I simply wouldn't. 

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.