- "I swear I thought the place was a museum when I walked in. I mean, it was huge, full of books and old paintings. And deserted, you know? That kind of dead silence that says just shut your mouth and feel the awe of history. And then Marcus's mom came through the door like she hadn't seen us, reading some papers she had in her hand, and she says, 'Hi sweetheart, you brought some friends home? I'll catch up with you later.' Then she was gone. I saw the look on Marcus's face, and knew right then that the guy needed a brother a whole lot more than he needed a library."
- —Carlos Santiago, describing his first visit to Haldane Hall
Private Carlos Benedicto Santiago ES was a Gear soldier and Dominic Santiago's older brother, as well as a close friend of Marcus Fenix. He inspired both Marcus and Dom to join the Coalition of Ordered Governments army. Since he was a child, he was Marcus' closest friend, and later became his squadmate in the army. Carlos would fight in Dushin, on the Sarfuth border, and at Aspho Fields, where he was killed in action.
Meeting Marcus Fenix
- "You backed me up. That's what real friends do."
- —Carlos, to Marcus after he stopped the Curzon's attack on him
Carlos was born to Eduardo and Eva Santiago in Tyrus during the 58th year of the Pendulum Wars and lived in the city of Ephyra, with his brother Dominic being born a year later. When he was eleven years old, Carlos went to school at Olafson Intermediate School, where he met Marcus Fenix. On Marcus' first day of school, Carlos felt sorry for him, since he was new and rich, and would likely be the target of several bullies. He ate lunch with Marcus, in order to make sure he did not feel lonely or get picked on. They talked for a bit, about Marcus' father, the famous scientist Adam Fenix, and about how their families had a lot of Gears in them. After lunch, the Curzon brothers, Joshua and his older brother Roland, stopped him, and Joshua asked Carlos if he thought he was too good for the other students, and called him an ass-kissing snob. Carlos told him that Marcus' was okay and that Joshua was a moron, and shoved past the two of them. During the Thrashball game, Carlos saw Joshua hitting Marcus harder than he needed to, so Carlos brought his boot down on his instep next chance he got, causing Joshua to howl in pain. After the game, Carlos and Marcus were the last ones in the locker room, and Marcus told him that he did not keep having to try to protect him, but Carlos told him that it was not a big deal. As Carlos left the school, he was ambushed by the Curzon's and one of their friends, and Joshua punched him in the face. They began trading blows, but Marcus arrived and slammed Joshua's head into the ground, and then punched Roland so hard he fell backwards. Carlos and the others were stunned, and Marcus told them to run away, and never bother him or Carlos again. As the three attackers ran, Marcus helped Carlos up, and he thanked Marcus for his help. They talked a bit more, and Carlos told him that he had done what any good friend would do. From that day on, Carlos and Marcus were best friends, and no one ever gave them any trouble.
Tragedy for Marcus
- "Then we'll take care of him. That's what friends do. That's what brothers do."
- —Carlos, after Dom asked him what they were going to do if Marcus' mom was never found
Three years later, Carlos was working with Marcus and his dad on an old car engine while his mom and Dom prepared dinner. During dinner, Eduardo talked about being a Gear, and how they were the best years of his life. Carlos said he planned on enlisting when he was eighteen, or maybe even when he was sixteen. However, Eva told him that he was not going to drop out of school early to enlist, and that he might get drafted anyway. Carlos did not want to be drafted, and preferred being able to sign up himself. The dinner ended early when Adam called the house, and sent a car to pick up Marcus. Carlos and Dom learned from their mom that Marcus' mother had gone missing. Carlos wondered if she had been kidnapped or murdered, but Eduardo and Eva told them that they had no idea what had happened, and that people went missing for all kinds of reasons. Marcus' did not show up to school the next day, but came back after that, however his mom never showed up. While sitting on the steps of the school one day, Marcus told Carlos and Dom that he did not think that his mom was coming back, and that his dad would not tell him anything about what she was supposed to be doing when she disappeared. Carlos and Dom did their best to support Marcus', who felt that his dad was lying to him, and he began spending much more time at the Santiago household, becoming an honorary member of the family.
Joining the Army
- "Sir, all I can tell you is that I'll make sure Marcus comes back in one piece."
- —Carlos, to Adam about Marcus joining the army
Five years later, Carlos joined the army, and went with Marcus when he went to tell his father, that he was joining the army as an enlisted soldier, not an officer. Carlos was intimidated walking up the Fenix Estate, but did his best to not look nervous and back Marcus up. Adam was upset with the decision, and asked if Carlos could do anything to talk Marcus out of it. Carlos promised him that he would do his best to make sure Marcus got back in one piece. Adam looked defeated at this, and Carlos felt bad for being there and watching this happen. Marcus and Adam tried to arrange to meet up for some quality time, but were unable to work anything out. After he and Marcus left the Estate, they went out to eat at a restaurant. Carlos told Marcus that Dom and his girlfriend, Maria Flores, were getting married and that she was pregnant. Marcus was stunned, and asked how his parents were taking it. Carlos told him they were taking it pretty well, and invited Marcus to the wedding. Carlos then asked him if he was joining the army because he had, and Marcus told him that he was doing it because he thought it might be the only thing that would make him feel alive. Carlos went with him to the recruiting office, and overheard several officers talking about how that was Adam's son, and that they were impressed he was becoming a regular Gear instead of an officer. They attended the wedding a few months later in their dress uniforms, and after the wedding Dom told Carlos that he too was joining the army because he needed the money. However, Carlos suspected it was because he did not want to be left behind by Carlos and Marcus.
Arriving at the Acastu Imulsion Fields
- "Oh, Anya. Have you seen her. Wow."
- —Carlos, after Marcus mentioned Anya had joined the army
After finishing basic training, Carlos and Marcus were assigned to C Company of the 26th Royal Tyran infantry, and deployed to the Acastu Imulsion Fields in Dushin. They and the rest of the company flew there on two Corvas, with Carlos and Marcus flying in CC-4005. Carlos saw Marcus reading a letter, and was pleased that Adam had remembered to write to Marcus before deployment. Major Helena Stroud talked with Marcus about Adam, and told him to tell his dad to stop working so hard and take a day off from his lab. After she walked away, Carlos sarcastically remarked that it was not like Helena was a workaholic either. Marcus said that he had heard her daughter had joined the army as a cadet officer. Carlos was excited by that, and asked Marcus if he had seen how hot Anya was. Marcus told him he had noticed. As CC-4005 prepared to land, Helena spoke to Carlos and the rest of the company, warning them that they would now be fighting in the real war, not just exercises, and to be careful because she did not want to have to write to anyone's parents. After disembarking from the Corva, Carlos and Marcus and the rest of their squad, Cpl.Maxon and Pvt.Quinn, listened to Helena as she told them that Imulsion was the real reason the war was being fought. They then began patrolling around the facility, and Carlos asked Marcus what his dad had said in the letter. Marcus told him he had talked about Marcus coming back from the tour after a year and going to university, and Carlos remarked that Adam never gave up. Maxon then told them that a report had come in that a Union of Independent Republics Khimera was inbound, and they looked up to see it fly high over the Imulsion fields, doing a recon.
Night Patrol and First Contact
- "Where the fuck is everyone else? Are we fighting this on our own or what?"
- —Carlos, as he, Marcus, Maxon, and Quinn try to fight a large number of Indie troops
Two days later, Carlos and the rest of the squad were sent on patrol during the night. Carlos told Marcus that he wished someone would shoot at him to get it over with, and Marcus told him to be patient, and someone would try to kill him eventually. Carlos told him that it was not going to be like their exercises, and nobody had shot at him and meant it before, making him worried that he would freeze up. Marcus reassured him that drill would kick in and he would return fire, but Carlos thought he was more likely to shit himself than shoot back. Maxon then contacted them and asked them and Quinn to meet him at the north gate, because a driller had reported hearing a bike near there. After meeting with them, they scouted around for a while, until they saw a motorbike shoot out from underneath a pipeline. They opened fire, but a squad of Indies also appeared and began firing at them. They took cover behind some pipelines, and Carlos wondered where the rest of the company was, and why they had not responded. Maxon was hit, and Marcus ordered Quinn to see to him, and for Carlos to cover him. Carlos told him he was crazy, but Marcus jumped over the pipe and told him to just do it. Marcus killed two Indies, and Carlos contacted him and told him to get down because reinforcements had arrived. Sgt.Bernadette Mataki and Sgt.Daniel Kennen took out the rest of the Indies with a Packhorse, and Carlos joined Quinn in helping Maxon, applying pressure to the wound on his throat to try and stop the bleeding. He reassured Maxon that he would make it until the Packhorse reached them, and he and Marcus carried Maxon it and put him inside. Carlos told Bernie to hurry because Maxon had lost a lot of blood. Marcus asked Carlos not to tell his father about what he had done, and Carlos reassured him he would not hear it from him. Maxon died from his wounds, and the Indies had managed to blow up some of the Imulsion wells in the fields. Carlos and the others finished their patrol with Bernie leading them.
Dealing With Casualties
- "One week. His first goddamn week. Not even in an honest firefight. Picked off from... shit, maybe a kilometer away."
- —Carlos, horrified by Quinn getting shot by a sniper
One week later, Carlos drove a Packhorse on patrol around the base with Marcus and Quinn as passengers. As they drove around the Acastu Imulsion Fields, Quinn told Marcus that his dad should try to make an alternative fuel to Imulsion, so that they would not have to fight the war. Carlos told him that Imulsion had been the alternative to the previous fuels, which wars had been fought over as well. Carlos then asked Quinn what was all over his face, and Quinn told him he was going to grow a beard just like him. Carlos said that he had seen more hair on bacon, and control contacted them to report that Indie aircraft had been detected near the border, and to keep an eye out. Quinn told Carlos to pull over so they could try to spot or hear the Khimerias, and he parked in between several pipelines. They could not spot them, and when Quinn climbed up onto a pipeline to get a better view of the skyline, he was shot in the head by an Indie sniper. Carlos was shocked and angered by this, and knelt down with Marcus next to their friends body. Carlos lamented that Quinn had barely lasted more than a week, and was just picked off with no warning, and not even in an actual firefight. Marcus told him he knew exactly what he meant.
Sarfuth-Maranday Border Incident
- "Well, his blowing-shit-up days are over."
- —Carlos, after killing an Indie saboteur
A year later, Carlos and Marcus were stationed on the Sarfuth-Maranday border along with the rest of C Company, and were assigned to defend a Imulsion pipeline form sabotage. Marcus had been promoted to Corporal, and they were assigned to squad Alpha-Five. As they headed toward the border in an APC, Marcus told Carlos about Captain Harrie's death during an attack on a gun position, which surprised Carlos. He asked if her son was still in Logistics, and Marcus said he was. Carlos realized that talking about dead mothers likely was not a good idea with Marcus, so he quickly switched the topic. After reaching their position along the pipeline, they worked with sniper team Three-Zero to protect the nearby pipeline. When Pvt.Padrick Salton noticed a person approaching the pipeline on a Ski-Bike and digging a hole, Carlos and Marcus attempted to intercept the person, who attempted to flee over the border back into Maranday. Carlos shot the ski-bike up, but the person managed to run across the border. However, Carlos continued to give chase, tackling the man, but was forced to stab and kill him when he reached inside his jacket. Marcus quickly joined him, and they carried the body back over the border, and while Marcus checked the hole, Carlos searched the body, concerned that he had killed a civilian. He found a pistol and several personal effects, and he then looked at the guys face, and wished he looked more like an enemy. Marcus then returned and showed him explosives from the hole, and Carlos was relieved that he had made the right call. They returned to the APC and joined the sniper team in returning to base, taking the body and explosives back with them, which they handed over to an intelligence officer. Carlos and Marcus then returned to patrolling the border, while listening to an Eagles game on the radio and discussing the incident.
Preparing for Operation Leveler
- "We need a psycho. A psycho who wins."
- —Carlos, after Marcus said Helena Stroud was a psycho
A few months later, Carlos joined the rest of C Company in training for amphibious landings at Merrenat Naval Base for an unknown operation. During one training exercise, he judged the depth of the water incorrectly and fell, slipping underwater. Marcus pulled him out, but they were chewed out by Major Helena Stroud for stopping on the beach. Carlos was extremely angry with his mistake, and tried to continue with the exercise. However, Marcus made Carlos go to company doctor to prevent secondary drowning when he kept coughing up water, which angered him. After spending two hours in a medical tent, the doctor pronounced him "not dead" and allowed him to return to the unit. The exercise was over by this time, and Carlos rejoined Marcus and the rest of the company in the woods to eat breakfast. Marcus said he was sorry for sending him out of the exercise, but it would not be worth it for Carlos to die in training and that they needed him on the real operation. Sgt.Bernadette Mataki tried to make him feel better by telling him how much she hated the water, and that they do airborne drops rather than amphibious landings. Carlos found this strange since she came from the South Islands, but she told him she came from the dry bits inland. The unit was then debriefed by Helena, and Marcus asked what their mission was beyond establishing a beachhead. She told them she did not even know what it was, which worried Carlos. He and Marcus then watched Helena lecture two cadets, one of whom was her daughter, Anya, on the benefits of seeing what it was like for Gears on the frontline and getting out of the CIC. Marcus mentioned that Helena was a psycho, but Carlos told him that that was what they needed to win the war. Carlos was interested in Anya, but was disappointed when he saw that she was paying a lot more attention to Marcus. He decided it was probably for the best that she was not interested in him because of potentially having to deal with Helena's wrath if they dated.
Before the Operation
- "You said you didn’t tell your dad where or when. But he found you. He tries, Marcus."
- —Carlos, trying to convince Marcus to improve relations with his dad
Two days before the Operation began, Carlos boarded the CNV Kalona at Fesor Naval Base. As they left the harbor, Carlos waved to his parents and Maria, who were among a crowd of Gear families seeing them off. Carlos was surprised to see Adam with them, and was pleased that Marcus and Adam waved at each other. Two hours later, Helena briefed the company on their mission to provide support to a commando team, Carlos realized that this was what Dom had been training for, and was worried about his safety. After the briefing, he helped load supplies onto the landing craft, and told Sgt.Bernadette Mataki about how Marcus was upset that his father did not tell him he was part of the operation. A few hours before the Operation began, Carlos received word that his niece had been born. After being congratulated by Marcus and the other Gears, they headed down to the hanger deck and prepared to board the landing craft. As they launched, Carlos and Marcus watched the diversionary attack on Berephus begin.
Battle of Aspho Fields
- "Confirmed, she's tango-four. But so is the fucking Asp. She did it."
- —Carlos, reporting Helena Stroud's death
After they landed, Carlos manned a machine gun position with Marcus, and kept a watch on the path south to Aspho Point. He was worried about Dom's safety, but Marcus told him not to be and that this was what Dom had been training for. Carlos and Marcus then spotted several Indie soldiers out in the marsh, and Kennen spotted several vehicles. Helena ordered the company to engage the enemy. As Carlos and the rest of the company were fighting, he heard a group of enemy Asps approaching, and informed Helena. They realized they were getting into a position to attack Aspho Point, and Carlos continued to worry about Dom's safety. When Sgt.Daniel Kennen was killed, Carlos was devastated. Helena ordered Carlos and platoon unit to flank the enemy armor to hit them with Longspear missiles. As a group of Petrels flew overhead on the way to take out Peraspha Military Base, Carlos saw them get shot down by the Asps. He helped Marcus line up a Longspear to take out one of the Asps, but it missed. They fired their last Longspear, but an APC cut in front of it before it hit the Asp. The rest of the company had already fired their missiles, leaving them without any way of taking out the Asps. After Helena broke radio procedure to tell her daughter she was proud of her, Carlos knew she was going to try a suicide run. He and Marcus tried to talk her out of it, but she ordered them to lay down fire for her as she ran. She succeeded in taking out the Asp with grenades thrown inside the hull, but her armor's webbing got caught on the Asp and she was killed in the explosion. Carlos was able to spot her body, and confirmed with Bernie that she was dead, but was unwilling to say over the comm system that her body had been blown to pieces.
- "You dumb bastard. You're the best. Can’t let you make a dead asshole out of yourself."
- —Carlos's final words to Marcus before he managed to pull the pin on his grenade and kill himself
This left one Asp on the battlefield, and Carlos went with Marcus, Pvt.Byran Jakovs, Pvt.Steven Hurnan, and Pvt.James Marasin to attempt to take it out with a Stomper and several Gut-Punchers. The Asp survived, and Carlos sprang up to try and get another angle on it, with Jakovs and Hurnan following him, when he realized that he had just made a mistake. Jakovs and Hurnan were hit over and over again by machine gun fire. Carlos was hit and fell off the side of the bridge, and heard Marcus hijack the Asp. He did not think he had been hit that badly, until he looked down and saw that his innards were hanging out. He was unable to reach his medical supplies, and did not report his wound, instead only coming over Bernie to tell her he was going to cover Marcus. However, after Marcus finished taking out the last of the enemy armor, he headed out to get Carlos. Bernie also began heading toward him, and he finally told them he was wounded. He tried to convince them not to come rescue him, knowing that he was too badly wounded to survive. He was hit by more fire in the shoulder, and began begging for Marcus to shoot him. He pulled out a grenade, but could not pull out the pin. As Bernie prepared to fire and Marcus kept getting closer, he said goodbye to Marcus and managed to pull the pin, saving Bernie from having to shoot him and blowing up the bridge, cutting off UIR reinforcements. Marcus retrieved what he could of Carlos's body, and he and Bernie covered up the circumstances of his death. Carlos was awarded the Embry Star for sacrificing his life to blow up the bridge, which was given to his parents by Dom.
- "Your brother did something every last one of us does at least once in our lives. He screwed up. But he died to save Marcus, and Marcus almost got killed trying to save him, and both of them would have given their lives for you in a heartbeat. There's not many human beings who can love like that. Gears, mainly. It's why we know what it really means to be human. It's more than family. It's civilization. What's best in humanity. Even Baird, the inbred little shit. Funny, that, for a bunch of bastards who'll carve another living creature with a chainsaw."
- —Bernie, telling Dom about his brother, Carlos
Carlos' death was the event that pushed Marcus over the edge and turned him even more emotionally distant from others. Dom mourned the death of his brother, but didn't learn how Carlos really died until Bernie told him fourteen years after Emergence Day. Bernie had made a deal with Marcus not to tell Dom about Carlos or his death, but Bernie could not say no to Dom after he question her several times about it. Dom was saddened by the true circumstance of Carlos' death, but was glad to gain closure, and realize that there was nothing he could have done to save him, and that Carlos had indeed been acting heroically. Dom's memories of Carlos changed from thinking about his death to more of the good times they had together with Marcus and their family.
Personality and Traits
Since his childhood, Carlos was a big brother figure to Marcus Fenix and defended him at school. Carlos seemed to be the only student in Marcus' class to have a heart. He saw how lonely Marcus was and approached him to become his friend. Carlos was ridiculed by his classmates as a kiss up and a pig because they all thought he befriended Marcus for his money. In retaliation, Carlos strongly defended his friendship with Marcus, and protected him. The Santiago family welcomed Marcus in, and this made Marcus a brother to Carlos in their eyes. Marcus also began to accept the Santiago’s as his own family, and was taught by them to be strong and independent. Carlos showed Marcus their way, and this is what partially made him into the man he is.
Carlos was a man who had a heart filled with courage, respect, and love. Carlos still attended to his real brother, Dom, when he had his two children and got married. Carlos soon enlisted into the COG which inspired Marcus to join along with Dom so he could provide for his family. Carlos and Marcus became closer than ever before when both enlisted in the Coalition. At the moment before Carlos died, he asked Marcus to take care of his brother and then sacrificed himself by detonating a grenade in his hands, thus destroying the bridge that would have allowed UIR reinforcements a route to the commando unit being led by Hoffman. Carlos' death was heroic and impacted everyone around him.
Behind the scenes
- Carlos can be seen on the cover of the novel Gears of War: Aspho Fields.
- A Pendulum Wars Story
- Gears of War: Judgment (Mentioned only)
- Aspho Fields (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Jacinto's Remnant (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War 4 (Mentioned only)
- Gears 5 (Mentioned only)