The Gears of War series might have a muscly exterior and be filled to the brim with testosterone, but delve deeper, and the titular wars themselves are steeped in shadowy backdoor politics, alongside a few twisted obsessions to force the next step for the human race.
Though this has been heavily hinted at - a lot of the lore is relegated to collectables or those super slow talks Marcus loves to have between battles, alongside comics and novels - this wider mythology really makes the Gears universe pop.
The franchise's mainstream reputation - the part only concerned with shooting monsters until there are no more, then chainsawing the remains - helped propel Gears to video game legend.
However, Epic and developers The Coalition always sewed far more seeds into the background of the series, and while it'll be quite some time before we get a conclusion to the current trilogy of parts four, five and six, now is a better time than ever to brush up on everything so far.
Why is Sera always consumed by conflict? Why was Marcus in prison at the very beginning? How does Kait play into all of this, and just what are those "cogtags" really all about?