Todd Gurley lives the 'surreal' L.A. life at 'Gears of War 4' event

Todd Gurley shrieked and leaned back, wincing. Game over.

The loosely organized crowd surrounding the 22-year-old Los Angeles Rams running back laughed. Gurley didn't react. His video game death proved extremely short-lived, and he was too already too wrapped up into playing *Gears of War 4 *once again to respond to the people around him.

His hands fidgeted wildly as he attempted to evade the game's zombie-like creatures. A few feet away, Tyga, the famed rapper and Kylie Jenner's boyfriend, sat equally enthralled by the action.

The Gears of War 4 exclusive VIP launch event was hosted in the unassuming Microsoft Lounge in Venice, California. The video game, set 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3 -- where players confront a monstrous new threat aiming to annihilate humanity -- was unquestionably the centerpiece of the event. The small room of concrete floors and wooden ceilings was luminated only by deep red lights, beaming from lamps shaped as the video game's logo, a skull. There were 10 flat screen televisions, each set up with an Xbox and a copy of the soon-to-be-released video game ready to play. But the release seemed more like a who's who of hip-hop artists.

Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz stood in a corner conversing. The blaring music from their own songs drowned out their words. French Montana strolled casually around the room, as Nas posed for photos with fans. Camera flashes complimented the game's lightning strikes flashing off the jewelry worn by the rappers.

"Just the opportunity to be able to go from St. Louis to LA, it's still surreal," Gurley said. "It's exciting. It's a blessing.You don't get to do this every day or people don't get to come to these events, so you just kind of take it all in."

Celebrity-laden video game launch events didn't typically happen in Missouri, but it's part of a high-profile lifestyle that has become the norm for Gurley.

"Shoot, LeBron (James) was at the game ... That was cool," Gurley said. "I got a chance to meet LeBron, Kobe (Bryant) in L.A., so it's been some cool moments here, honestly."

Since arriving in L.A., Gurley has appeared in a collection of commercials, received a surprise visit at training camp on his birthday from hip-hop artists Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q, before posing for photos with some of the recording industry's biggest stars at the Gears of War 4 launch.

Many of Gurley's teammates have experienced the cool moments alongside him. A couple of them tagged along to the Gears of War event, some hoping to take home a free Xbox.

Rams defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat sat amidst the glitz and glamour like a big grade-school kid. His eyes were transfixed on the screen, totally immersed in the game. He wore basketball shorts, a t-shirt and sneakers.

Trinca-Pasat said he didn't realize he was playing video games alongside some of the most popular artists in music.

"I do listen to some of their music here and there but to be honest, I wouldn't recognize them unless you pointed them out," he said.

Rams rookie tight end Bryce Williams stood against a wall, chatting with running backs Malcolm Brown and Aaron Green. Williams wasn't aware he was in the same room with hip-hop artist Ty Dolla Sign. 

"Ty ... Dollar Sign ... Is that a name?"

Brown and Green laughed. Brown tried to sing lyrics from a popular Ty Dolla Sign song to jog his memory. Williams stood perplexed. He was born in North Carolina and went to school at East Carolina. The whole scene appeared as foreign to him as the cars parked out front. We decided his rapper name would be "Country Boi".

"Being surrounded by celebrities and going to these kinds of events is probably the biggest difference," Trinca-Pasat said of the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles. "L.A. is great. There are new things to do around here all the time."

Still, the players in attendance and Gurley seemed unperturbed by it all. The Los Angeles Todd Gurley is still the same as St. Louis Todd Gurley, who is also the Maryland Todd Gurley. The game is the same, the city is just different.

"I'm in LA," he said flatly. "It's cool."

Gears of War 4 will be released on Xbox One on October 11th at midnight.

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