The Gears 5 ending something offers a little new for the series - giving the player a decision they are forced to make that shapes the way the story unfolds.
People are of course torn on which choice to make in Gears 5's ending, so we're going to run through the differences between both choices, as well as some speculation explaining why we think one is more likely to be canon than the other.
The following article contains major spoilers for Gears 5, and should be read only once you've beaten the campaign.
Gears 5 ending choice explained: Who to choose between JD or Del?
At the tail-end of Act 4 chapter 1, you must fight off waves of Swarm forces with the Hammer of Dawn as you defend a beacon planted behind the church of the unknown.
After successfully keeping them at bay is the Queen of The Swarm, who emerges catching Kait, Del and JD off guard. Losing her Lancer and with the beacon destroyed, Kait watches as Del and JD fail a surprise attack on the queen, resulting in them both being strangled.
This is when the choice comes into play. With only her knife at her disposal, Kait must choose between severing the queen's grasp on either JD or Del. You're on the clock, so a decision has to be made within a few seconds.
After choosing to save one, the queen angrily declares that Kait will have to live with her decisions before breaking the neck of whoever you didn't save.
What are the differences between the two Gears 5 endings?
Depending on who you choose, the two Gears 5 endings play out differently. In short, whoever you decide to save, the other will die.
If you choose to cut the tentacle of JD, then Del is killed by the Swarm Queen. In the rubble of a fallen building, JD openly starts crying and lamenting the fact that his friend's dead, breaking past the tough team-leader persona he usually has. It takes Kait to console him and get them out of the building before it collapses.
If instead you decide that Del is the one worth saving, JD dies with his neck broken and you find yourself in the rubble of a fallen building. This time, Del is mourning over JD's death in a similar manner to the other ending, holding the COG tags of his friend. Again, Kait leads Del out of the fallen building.
The major difference in the endings comes with the meeting with Marcus Fenix. If you save JD, he looks sadly over the ruined cityscape in front of him, Marcus comes up to him and puts his hand on JD's shoulder, finally fulfilling the supportive dad role and concluding the father-son subplot that started in Gears 4.
If you save Del, he and Kait give Marcus his dead son's tags. Marcus, quietly and sadly mourns for his son and when approached by the pair pulls himself away. When Fahz and the truck arrives, he again walks up with a cocky line before realising what's happened and falling silent.
This version actually has an additional scene with Fahz and Marcus in the front seats of the vehicle, where Marcus can be seen quietly looking at his sons tags before telling Fahz to drive.
The rest of the final Act is largely the same as the alternate version, with the only difference coming in at the end where Marcus can be seen on his own looking out into the city. This time, Del walks up and attempts to console him with Marcus not pulling away like last time. Again the group huddles up, Kait is called over, and the ending remains the same.
Which Gears 5 ending is canon?
Developer The Coalition hasn't said which Gears 5 ending is the canonal option. There are good arguments for both, but overall we reckon it makes the most sense if JD survives at the end of Gears 5.
For one, all of Del's subplots are wrapped up neatly by the end of the game. His detachment from JD and Fahz after learning about their actions at Settlement 2 is the reason he distances himself from the two, but after JD and Fahz come back in Act 3 they seem to resolve their differences.
He supports Kait through her journey of self discovery, and ends the game with all outstanding issues with other characters sorted out. In his ending, he remains as a supporting friend to Marcus, but that's kind of all he's got going for him.
On the other hand, JD's ending does a lot for the character development of not only himself, but Marcus too. For the last two games the two characters have been butting heads, almost as if they're in some kind of grouchy, stubborn, muscle flexing contest.
With JD alive, you see this side of both characters crumble, setting up future games with both characters moving past bravado. I'd rather see a version of JD that doesn't stupidly leap into dangerous situations to try and show up his dad, and a version of Marcus who doesn't just need to be a grumpy old soldier.
The decision between which was canon lands on Marus Fenix's shoulders. One of the endings resolves his issues with his son and sets him up with room to grow as a character, while the other has him retreating back into the Marcus we already know.
While there's a special place in my heart for the old Marcus, it's clear that the developers at The Coalition want to move the series in a new direction, which is why we reckon JD survives.