So today I am going to take a look at the “Locust” from “Gears of War” perhaps one of the most convoluted alien species of all time. They shouldnt be a convoluted species, they should be a simple alien species with a simple history, but poor writing decisions have made the Locust and the whole Gears of War series baffling.
During the first game the player is thrust into this war between the Locust and the Humans on the planet “Sera” there is no context given for where the locust came from aside from the fact they are subterranean and invaded the surface of the planet roughly 15 years before the game. Why humans are on this planet is unexplained, but it is known that this war occurs roughly 100 years after humanity started using a natural resource called “imulsion” as fuel.
In the second game there are more details revealed about the Locust culture, and it is revealed that the reason the Locust are invading the surface is because Imulsion fumes have released a parasitic organism into the atmosphere that is creating zombie-like mutants that are driving them out of their subterranean home. The player gets to see their cities and structures, absolutely ancient buildings, with highly intricate stonework, they stretch for miles and miles under the surface of this world in a honeycombed network called “the hollows” which are absolutely filled with life.
You learn about the locust language, the locust society, what they eat, who their leaders are. You even learn about their religion that they have where they worship a trinity of ancient several mile long worms that have long been dormant, ancient worms that are millions of years old that are said to have carved out the very hollows themselves.
All these facts seem to paint a very clear picture of the story of the series right? That humans came across this planet and colonized the surface, completely unaware of the sapient civilization below, and because the two never interacted there was peace of a sort between the two species. Until about 100 years before the first game started humans started using Imulsion, and the atmospheric toxins inevitably penetrated the hollows, forcing the Locust to attack humanity in a desperate attempt to survive by colonizing the surface.
It is a tragic story in which humans learn that they are the invading species too this world and not the other way around. But not according too the writers, according to the writers that is all wrong, the backstory the writers give in the books and other media and a bit in Gears of War 3 all completely contradicts this.
Instead the origin of the Locust is now that 100 years before the start of the game, when humans first started using imulsion, that it mutated some of the human imulsion miners and turned them into “sires” which then gave birth to more refined mutants that we know of as the locust, which the government then hid underground for some reason that is never explained. And that they jhave a low birth rate and have to survive by turning people on the surface into Locust (somehow).
The number of problems with this origin that they have written is baffling, it is hardly supported at all by anything in-game, and the writers seem hesitant to even confirm this origin story for whatever reason. It would only make sense if behind the scenes there was a constant argument for what the locust should actually be.
Here is a short list of the problems with this
- How do they know about the rift worms they worship
- How did they get such great numbers in less than 100 years as to swarm the surface in such great numbers that they were dubbed “the locust”
- how did they build a civilization that looks ancient too the point that it has crumbling ruins
- how did they domesticate about a dozen different subterranean species in such a short amount of time
- how were they able to turn new people into locust
- how do they have their own language both written and spoken
- why set the game on an alien planet? what purpose does setting this on “Sera” serve too the story? could have easily been earth if they are mutants.
- why in the 100 years since imulsion started being used, has there not been a major mutation epidemic among humans, despite all vehicles and technology using it. Why did the imulsion decide to stop effecting humans after mutating a few dozen oil rig workers into zombie monkeys?
I could probably keep going with that list, but there is one huge problem with this that cannot be ignored. It reduces the enemies to essentially being space zombies, and they then go ahead and introduce new space zombies in the form of the “lambant” later.
And the vector that causes the mutation that turns people into locust, and locust and people into lambant, is the same darn chemical. Imulsion somehow turns people into locust, but only when it is convenient for the story, and it will turn people into exploding zombies, and it will also turn the zombie people turned into locust into exploding zombies.
The space zombies turned into zombies by gasoline, turn into space zombies again when exposed to gasoline, and sometimes normal humans turn into either exploding zombies, regular locust zombies, or crazy monster monkey zombies. There is no way to make sense of it, just explaining it in text makes me feel like an insane person for writing it.
The bad writing here on the origins of the Locust is so baffling and pathetic, the fact that the companies in charge of these games haven’t retconned it away is just sad. And there isn’t much to definitively prove this origin within the stories themselves anyways, so it wouldn’t be hard to rewrite it.
Ultimately it was this poor origin in my opinion that led too the franchise falling out of favor and losing its popularity.