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Gears of War 3 Xbox 360
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Released on 20-Sep-2011
The Gears of Wars series reaches an explosive climax in this swan-song to one of the Xbox 360's most beloved, respected and blood-soaked franchises.
Beefcake Marcus Fenix and his battle-hungry squad of space marines are back in the final instalment of this acclaimed sci-fi third-person shooter, exclusive to the Xbox 360. As the enemy hordes of the Locust run riot above ground, a new threat, the Lambent, emerge from the bowels of the Earth, threatening to wipe out humanity once and for all. And yes, that's right, it's up to you to rip them a new one...
- Epic's Eye Candy – using game-company Epic's award-winning Unreal Engine 3 technology, the Xbox 360 is pushed to the limit with incredible graphics, animations and lighting that will bedazzle players as they fight to save Earth
- Multiplayer Mentalism – famed for its legendary online play, Gears Of War 3 lets you tool up and head out with other online gamers to bring down the enemy hordes, or team up with up to three other people and play the game in co-op mode. New maps and new game types mean hours of bug-hunting fun
- Be the Beast! – boot up the Beast mode in Gears of War 3 and become the hated Locust for the first time in this five-player co-op mode that lets you play as the bad guys, hellbent on ripping Marcus and his comrades into bite-sized pieces!
- Story Slayer – Gears of War 3's cinematic trilogy comes to a spectacular end with plot twists and turns aplenty, guaranteed to delight fans of the game's action-packed storyline!
You probably don need another reason to be excited about Gears of War 3, but Eurogamer got one for you anyway: the Achievements you earned in old Gears of War titles will unlock new things in the third game.
Things like the Gold Hammerburst or Lancer if youe unlocked them in Gears 2, youl have those weapon skins waiting for you in Gears 3.
You won be able to take your multiplayer level across, of course, it just based on Achievements.
"Generally whenever we do unlocks, we do it based on Achievements," said Gearsexecutive producer, when speaking to MTV recently. "That's why I've been trying to tell people about the level 100 thing. No, it's not about getting level 100, it's about Veteran Gear. Get that Achievement and that'll get you something."
That Veteran Gear Achievement isn particularly easy to get, by the way: you need to reach Level 100 and win one match on each of the four Gears 2 Snowblind maps.
You better get cracking, then: Gears of War 3 will be here this autumn exclusively for the Xbox 360. It promises to conclude the saga of Marcus Fenix, and we can wait to see how things play out.
Ten action-packed maps will be available to play in Versus Multiplayer, Beast and Horde mode, including improved versions of battle arenas featured in the recent beta trial, as well as remixed versions of old favourites.
Gears enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn that Gridlock, the fan-favourite map from the first two games, will be returning in a new and improved form, while other arenas include Old Town, Thrashball, Trenches, Checkout and Drydock.
Epic has also confirmed that Gears of War 3 will introduce a new Casual Versus Multiplayer setting, which allows rookie players to compete against each other to hone their skills.
The latest all-action episode in the popular trilogy will be released exclusively on Xbox 360 in September 2011 and has already broken pre-order sales records.
It will be released in three separate feature-packed editions and will also include support for stereoscopic 3D visuals.
Mike Capps, president of gaming giant Epic, has been bigging up Gears of War 3 in an interview with VG247, claiming its the biggest and best game the company has ever made.
"I really proud of it", he says, rather obviously. "It a much longer campaign than Gears of War 2. We had some extra time on the product that we weren planning for, so we got to put it through its paces and really polish it."
That extra time came about when the game was bumped from April this year to September, a move Capp explains was offered to them by Microsoft even though the game was already on schedule. The news made fans howl at the time, but it sounds like the additional development time will pay off as it gave the team time to come up with new ways to play such as the new Beast Mode. Described by Capp as "my very favourite way to play Gears right now", Beast Mode switches the game around and has you playing as the monsters, trying to kill the humans.
We can also expect a higher polygon count, more sophisticated lighting and for the first time in the series full four-player co-op.
We've already started injecting steroids into our necks in anticipation, and you'll be able to join in when Gears of War 3 stomps onto Xbox 360 on September 20th.
Epic Games and record label Sumthing Else Music Works have revealed plans to launch a soundtrack album for the forthcoming blockbuster Gears of War 3.
To be released via retail stores and digital music services, Gears of War 3: The Soundtrack features nearly 80 minutes of music from Hollywood composer Steve Jablonsky, whose work includes movies such as the Transformers trilogy.
The musician, who also supplied the score to Gears of War 2, has melded traditional orchestral sounds with electronic ambience to create an epic soundtrack that evokes the game's action-packed but emotional story.
Jablonksy said: "Gears of War 3 is huge. It was like scoring a summer blockbuster. I love the guys at Epic because to them, the characters and the story are just as important as the gameplay."
Gears of War 3 is coming to Xbox 360 this month and is the final chapter in the hugely successful sci-fi trilogy.
The 3D-enabled title will be released in three different versions and has already broken pre-order sales records.
Behind the scenes in the Microsoft suite at Gamescom 2011, we're ushered into a room to await the arrival of Mike Capps, President of Epic Games, and Chris Kimmell, Executive Producer of Gears of War 3. Mike gives us a quick rundown of the latest Gears of War then takes to the demo chair to show us what a sharp shooter he is. Here's how our session went . . .
So what's Gears of War all About . . . ?
[Mike Capps] 'So, how many of you folks have played Gears of War in some incarnation? Alright, so Gears of War is a videogame! It's won a few awards, it's a third-person shooter and it's sort of a story about a band of brothers in the military who are trying to help humanity survive. Monsters come from beneath the ground and nobody knows why they've come, and they quickly almost take over all of humanity. So it's a story of the survival of the human race.
In the second game you're back down to the very last city that's protecting you, and at the end you realise that the only way to save humanity is to destroy the whole thing. So you do, which means that your last safe point has been destroyed.'
Gears of War 3
'So Gears of War 3 starts, and you're on a boat, the military is basically over, although you're a military organisation, you're trying to keep things together, but the government is dead. And if you've seen any previews, you'll know that the very first thing that happens to your boat is it gets destroyed! So now you don't even have a safe boat to be on! The Gears 3 story is about trying to find a desperate way to save humanity from this infection that's taking over the entire planet.
The Best Game Epic's Ever Made?
'In terms of the game, it's the best game Epic's ever made. It's the biggest game that Epic's ever made. We delayed the project a little bit as Microsoft had something they wanted to do, and we were happy to do it, and that gave us a lot more time to add to it.
It's a bigger campaign than ever before, we added four player co-op, we added female soldiers for the first time to the game. We added an arcade mode on top of co-op, so it's easy to play the game again and again for points, and those points feed right into our multiplayer experiences. So if you want to grind experience and medals, you can do it in single-player, co-op or multiplayer.'
Multiplayer: Dedicated Servers for the First Time
'On the multiplayer side, we did the beta in April and that was massively successful and really, really cool, and we did dedicated servers for the first time.
So yes, we have dedicated server support now for the game and that's been really nice and the players loved that during the beta. It went super smoothly, we had over a million players, 23 million chainsaw deaths, you name it. We tracked the stats really closely and we've learned a lot about what people liked and didn't like, and had plenty of time to make changes before we ship the game, so it's really, really polished and I'm super happy with it.
And all that statistics gathering is still in there so as the game launches we'll watch it and see what happens so if nobody's able to get kills with the Retro Lancer we'll tweak some numbers and keep this game alive for a long time.'
New Version of Horde
'On the multiplayer side we were very successful with Gears of War 2's Horde mode which is a co-operative mode were just waves of enemies come, and lots of games have made copies of it since then, which is cool! So the new version of Horde has fortifications where you can build turrets, walls, chainwire fences that sort of thing and defend your own base against the enemies. So that's really cool, it adds a little more depth to Horde mode.'
Now You Can Be a Beast!
'And we have the opposite of Horde, which is Beast, where you get to play as the monsters in the campaign and attack the humans who have built a little base. It's too cool to play as a Ticker, which is a little creature that scurries up and can blow himself up, running into enemy lines and blowing yourself up, like a kamikaze is a lot of fun. Or you can play the big monsters with guns and swinging flails, and all that. I'm really happy with it.
And of course, we've got the great multiplayer we've always had and some new twists there too.'
Gears of War 3 Demo Time
'So the demo I've got today is from the first act of the third chapter. Marcus, Dom and some of the other squad members were on the boat, while Cole, Baird and some of the other new characters were foraging for food, and eventually they'll all come together, but right now in this third chapter we're playing as Cole and Baird. So we're returning to Cole's hometown, you know the story and all, he's a thrashball player, and he gets to go back to town where he used to play professionally, go back to the stadium, that kind of thing. Alright, so I'm going to hop right into that then.
You can play different difficulty levels during co-op, which I love. I can play with my wife, and she was on casual and I was on hardcore mode. It was really fun, but I kept hiding behind stuff going "Kill the boss, kill the boss!"
<Game starts up, Cole, Baird, Carmine and Sam, one of the game's new female protagonists, are engaged in banter. Baird questions why they are there to find food, and Cole replies that they need to trust him to come up with the goods. They spread out and find a Stranded outpost, where they find a dead human, but no food. So they decide to keep looking. Baird complains that the area must be full of polyps, but the other character quietens him. They explore some more and find another outpost, but are challenged by a guard, who demands they step into a light, or they'll be shot. Cole intervenes and offers to trade with them for food, but the outpost haven't got anything to spare, but offers trade some bacon for the female member of the squad. Baird is all for the deal (he hasn't had bacon in months), but Cole politely declines and asks if there's anywhere else that might be willing trade. The Stranded point him to a warehouse downtown, near the stadium but warns that the area is crawling with Lambent. They decide to press on>
So I hope you can see that the level of detail here is even higher than Gears of War 2. It's the same engine but we've got some new lighting techniques.
<Back to the game, and the team come across an impassable gate. Cole laments the fact that Jack (the door-busting robot companion from previous games) isn't with them to open it, so Baird suggests they open it "the Delta way". Cole steps up and kicks the gate open, and they enter an abandoned children's play area. Suddenly, a massive tentacle shoots from the ground and the team are confronted with a monstrous new enemy. A fierce battle ensues as the team work together and pour fire on the new threat. It appears to recede and a few regular Locust grunts join the fray, but moments later the stalk forces its way through into a different area. They retreat through the streets, fighting lambent along the way, until the situation calms down again>
So the characters we're playing with here, we've got Sam who's one of our new characters, and Carmine. If you know the story of Gears of War you'll know that the first two Carmine brothers both died in action in the first two Gears of War games and everyone assumes that this Carmine will also die. But we did a fundraising effort for Childs Play where we sold t-shirts that said 'Save Carmine' or 'Kill Carmine'. We haven't said yet what happens, whether he lives or dies in the game. We've actually built both to keep it a secret. But he lives through this bit!
So . . . How cool could Gears of War 3 really be? It is that cool . . . yes!
When you complete the single player campaign of Gears of War 3, you'll be reaching a definitive end to the trilogy with no teasers for Part 4. So promises lead designer and all round development celebrity Cliffy B in an interview with VG247.
"I'm glad we've been able to put the trilogy in its tidy little package with a bow on it and put it under the Christmas tree for gamers", he told the site, although he may be a little premature for the festive market. "I won't spoil it for you", he continues, "but when you finish the game and the credits roll there's no magic thing after the credits saying, 'Now there's a new threat coming'".
Does that mean the end of Marcus Fenix and his lovable gang of beefy scamps? "If we were to do something else in the future, I hope we'd find a fresh take on it. Fresh, not only for us as developers, but also for the consumers".
Epic Games announced at gamescom that it has five projects on the go at the moment, and with the sales for Gears 3 sure to soar into the millions, it seems fair to assume we'll be returning to that universe eventually, if not this particular story.
For now, let's just count the hours until Tuesday and rev our imaginary chainsaws.
Gears of War 3 stamps onto Xbox 360 on September 20th.
Gearing up at Midnight
At the front of the queue were two fans that had been there for 33 hours, patiently waiting to grab their copies of Gears 3 and then get home. These two gamers are the reason for Midnight Launches, the hardcore fans! John, the first in line, was well rewarded for his loyalty to the Gears series as he received the Console armour whilst he queued.
There was another attraction that had drawn the crowds to GAME in Oxford Street, Carlos Ferro, or Dom Santiago as he is known to the Gears Community. He had shunned the glitz of the American launch parties to come to London and pay his respects to the diligent fans that have made Gears of War a massive success!
Carlos went out and spoke to the fans in the street before the doors had opened and was always approachable.
At 11:30 the first group of fans were brought into the store and stood around a TV. Footage from Gears started to roll before being replaced by Cliff Blezinski, the man behind Gears of War. The message was short but sweet. He thanked the fans for coming out to the launch, apologised for not being there as he was in New York and hoped they enjoyed the game.
With that it was back to some action packed Gears footage before the Microsoft circle spun, bringing an end to the message of thanks from the Gears creator. The group applauded the message, truly grateful that Cliff had taken time out to show his appreciation for the fans.
They moved to the front of the store where their copies of Gears of War 3 waited for them, still sealed and unplayed. The queue inside the store grew even longer as more people were let into the warmth and closer to the game they have been so patiently waiting for. With John and his friends at the tills and the excitement building, Carlos Ferro stood on the tills.
He shouted "SUP B*TCHES", much to the crowd’s delight. An almost 300 strong group returned the compliment, shouting his characters most quoted line. Carlos thanked the gamers for turning up stating that he could have been in America celebrating the launch with friends, but instead he felt he needed to be here, in London!
He went on to say that John, would not only be walking out with the goodie bag that he had received at the till and the Gears Xbox Armour, but he would also be walking out with a 40" LCD TV for being the first in the queue. The crowd applauded and John looked ecstatic with his unexpected treat.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! The crowd roared and the staff sprung into action grabbing preordered Standard, Limited and EPIC editions, Gears Consoles, strategy guides and the new Gears of War 3 control pads. With games in hand the first owners of Gears of War 3 walked to the front of the store where Carlos was waiting with his pen to sign one of this year’s biggest releases.
Throughout the night pizza and energy drinks were provided to the cold and hungry Gears of War fans that would not leave until they had their copy. With John being the first recipient of a new TV, Carlos drew 4 more raffle tickets, so some more lucky Gears fans could go home with a shiny new TV to enjoy Gears 3 on.
The queue flowed well throughout the night and didn't seem to be shrinking in size. For most of the night the lines for Gears of War 3 stretched right around the corner of Oxford Street. It wasn't until 2:30am that the queue finally started to end, 2 1/2hrs after the game was officially launched.
To Carlos' credit his enthusiasm never waned throughout the 4 hour event, he was being questioned by the press, fans, signing autographs and doing TV spots. But whenever he went out for some air, he never stood alone, he would walk up and down the queue talking to fans shouting "SUP B*TCHES" and even bowing to one fan’s request to scream "MARIAAAA" as he did in Gears of War 2! To be honest, he never looked more comfortable than when he was talking to the fans!
Then it was over. The last customer had been served and the shop was empty save for a few press members and Carlos still signing copies of the game. As I said goodbye to Carlos and the guys at Oxford Street, I thought about all the launches I had been to previously. To my mind none had drawn a bigger crowd, with the staying power that these guys had, especially when you consider that Gears of War is only on Xbox 360.
Written by Tom Daly
Are you playing Gears of War 3? If not, why not? It's out now, dummy. But if you are playing it, rest assured that Epic Games aims to keep you playing it for the foreseeable future.
As well as working on multiple title updates for the game, aimed at tweaking and refining the experience, there are also bold plans in place for downloadable content in the future, including new multiplayer maps and co-operative campaigns. What you won't see is series heroes Dom and Marcus. Their story comes to a close at the end of Gears of War 3 and won't be part of any subsequent expansions.
"One thing I can tell you is that you're not going to see Marcus or Dom or Cole in it," Gears director Cliffy B told posh newspaper The Daily Telegraph. "I believe that DLC should be unique and cool, like [GTA's] Lost and the Damned, Gay Tony, [Borderlands] Mad Moxie's Underdome Riot. All those kind of things. DLC's the place where you play and have fun. So that's one thing that's an indication of where things may be going in the future."
Also in the future are more games set in the Gears universe, though what form these might take remains a mystery. "We could do first person, we could do an RTS, we could do anything with it" teased Cliffy, presumably before riding off on a giant tank made of bones and spikes.
Gears of War 3 is exclusive to Xbox 360 and is out now. Like, right now. There's a copy just waiting for you.
Dom speaks up about Gears of War 3
We got to sit down with Carlos Ferro, the man behind the voice of Dominic Santiago, heartbroken COG who has nothing left to fight for except humanity and the Brothers who have stuck by him until the end.
You have a great pedigree when it comes to Voice work with some major franchises under your belt. Did you approach Dom differently to any of the other roles that you have done?
Yeah, with Dom I've been very fortunate Carlos Ferro in Dominic Santiago and after three games now there's a lot of Dominic Santiago in Carlos Ferro. I find myself using 'sup b*tches and a bunch of game catchphrases.
Really what's amazing about Dom is that Epic, I've said many times, have written the book on collaborating with the actors and allow us to bring our personalities to the project.
And with Dom he was levity in the first game, he was very emotional in the second game. Not emo so much, just very concerned, I've said the emotional centre of the game. But in the third game they're all in it for the species, you know to save Humanity.
It's a different approach than playing a historical figure or a well known figure or a fictional superhero, I mean I do a lot of animation as well and usually it's all on the script, the good thing about Dom is that there's a lot of me in him.
You say there is a lot of you in Dom, did you get involved with any of the motion capture, so face and body, or did you just provide your Voice for Dom's Character?
Absolutely, in fact the Maria scene, the finding Maria Scene in Gears of War 2 is all my own Motion Capture. And at that time they were doing multiple camera and facial recognition and we were recording with facial recognition software, so yeah there is a lot of me in Dom!
How did you get the part of Dom Santiago in Gears of War?
Gears of War was another acting job. At the time I was auditioning for different game properties, I'd already worked in gaming on other platforms; there were many Xbox games actually.
And there were going to launch this new console that was going to change everything, the Xbox 360, and it's one of those things where everything will fall into place and I was very lucky, I'm the first one to say it.
And it took off, as we know, as gamers and fans of games they are good games and they just don't have that following, for whatever reason no one can ever predict it, but I was lucky.
Dom's character has been through a lot, like the death of his wife Maria in Gears 2. Did you ever want change the events that affected Dom?
You Know, it's treating it like an action job, and whatever's on the page is on the stage. I want to go where the writers take me and where we're trying to get in the game play, and so forth.
There are options for how things can turn out, but in the grand scheme of things Dom's story is not a happy one really. It's very sad, I've told Cliff Blezinski last week that I've been saying, and this is my opinion not Epic or Microsoft, that Santiago Family if you've read Karen Travis' Novels, the comics and kept up on the universe of Gears of War, the Santiago Family are a perfect metaphor for a military families.
I don't want to bring the room down but really the Santiago Family has given everything literally and metaphorically to save Humanity and to, fight the good fight if you will. So no if it was written the way it was written I was in, I didn't say "Hey guys come on can't Maria be okay, can't she be a cocktail waitress on a Locust Barge!"
I really wanted it to be legit, for it to just be real.
So this is the last Gears of the current Trilogy, as far as I'm aware Epic have never ruled out returning to Gears.
Yeah, Cliff said it's a big universe.
Are you sad to this part come to an end?
I'm not sad, it's not bittersweet yet! I'm sure it will get there, because it has been a really wonderful and amazing experience. And I love the fans, I came to the UK because, (London) this is one of my favourite cities in the world and there is so much passion in the fans, in London in particular, and in England.
Right now I'm still enjoying it, but I'm sure there will come a time where perhaps there will be another story being told and I'm not involved, it'll be like "Man, you know where's Dom, where's Marcus?", where I miss these characters, but I think it's wonderful there is a trilogy. That we told stories and they ended.
Did you expect Gears to become the success that it has become?
No, nobody did. It was a big surprise, it really was.
Are you a big Gears player yourself?
I'm a huge Gears fan, that's why I'm here. This is something that I wanted to do. I could have been in Los Angeles with the rest of the cast, the entire cast is in LA, and Cliff and Rob are in New York.
I've been lobbying to come to London for months, I wanted to be with my people, I'm a fan and I wanted to be with people who get excited like they did at GAME on Oxford Street.
Do you have any good Tips for playing as Dom in Gears of War 3?
In Gears 3... uh yeah, look out in Horde 2.0 for this new kind of Ticker that spits, because Dom doesn't respond well to it.
Thank you very much for your time
Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) is the concluding chapter to one of this console generation's biggest and best new franchises, so there's a lot of pressure on the game to deliver. Thankfully the series goes out with a bang, even if many of the basic gameplay elements will be familiar to fans of the first two titles. Events pick up two years after Gears of War 2's conclusion with protagonist Marcus Fenix and his fellow soldier buddies stranded aboard a sort of post-apocalyptic Noah's Ark.
Their home planet of Sera has been overrun by monsters, leaving Marcus and company to sail the ocean in run down ships, growing their own crops and simply attempting to survive long enough to formulate a plan to rebuild civilisation, which is no easy feat when you're continually being attacked by sea beasts.
What follows are 12 or so hours of largely spectacular third person shooter gameplay, set across a range of striking environments in a campaign mode now playable with up to four players co-operatively. For Gears of War veterans it's worth noting that the game is pretty easy on anything less than Hardcore difficulty, as the game provides you with a series of overly helpful computer controlled partners who'll steal kills and finish off bosses a little too often.
Story has never been the Gears of War franchise's strongest point, but developer Epic Games does a fine job of wrapping things up neatly in this trilogy-closing chapter, which leaves no cliff hangers teasing a fourth entry in the series. A tale of harsh realities, sacrifice and redemption, there are plenty of plot twists and more of an emotional focus than in the previous Gears of War games.
Without giving too much away, it satisfyingly ties up all the loose ends, bringing closure to a number of character back stories that have been simmering away throughout the previous two games. But the real meat of Gears of War has always been its cover-based gunplay and brutal melee kills, and the third game doesn't disappoint in this regard either.
A new threat
Gears of War 3 introduces a new menace called the Lambent. A race of combustible beasts that can shoot explosive projectiles from tentacles, they're capable of launching assaults over the top of cover positions, meaning you're often on the move, adding a more frenetic pace to combat than we've seen before in the series.
While we're fans of the new enemy type, we were also more than happy once the Lambent stepped aside to make way for the return of the Locust who played the villains in the previous two games. Their introduction led to a greater focus on the series' traditional cover-based shooter gameplay, which has inspired a host of imitators over the last five years.
Gears of War 3 offers a fevered skirmish around every corner and the game's varied arsenal allows you to take a number of different tactical approaches to combat. If you like getting up close and personal there's a devastating new sawn-off shotgun, but it's only effective at point-blank range and comes with a painfully long reloading time. Chainsaw-equipped rifles and gory finishing moves are also perfect for engaging in the series' celebrated close-quarters combat. Meanwhile, there's a new one-hit kill sniper rifle and a grenade which burrows underground before popping up behind cover and exploding.
Gears of War 3 offers a strong mix of multiplayer game modes that will keep you busy long after you've finished the single player game. Popular survival mode Horde, a tense game type which challenges teams to survive increasingly tough waves of enemies, introduces an economy system in which cash earned through kills allows you to purchase fortifications and new items like turrets, spike strips, electric fences and explosive decoys, increasing your tactical options.
Meanwhile, the new Beast mode lets you play as the enemies of the Gears world, from small scurrying monsters to massive lumbering beasts, with kills awarding you money to spend on fresh lives and new monster tiers. Elsewhere, competitive multiplayer modes such as Team Deathmatch and objective capture game types like King of the Hill play out across a number of impressive maps, from an old American football stadium to trenches and bunkers hit by periodic sandstorms. Epic has spent years honing Gears of War's multiplayer component and it really shows.
Going out on a high
While Gears of War 3 arguably plays it safe, never straying too far from the formula that has served it so well over the last five years, the gameplay and graphics are absolutely fantastic, and everything it does it achieves with a level of polish that puts it among the best third-person games of this console generation.
We hope it isn't, but if this is the end for the series, it goes out on a massive high.
+ Brilliant action gameplay.
+ Great visuals.
+ Deep multiplayer options.
- Feels a bit familar.
- Computer controlled allies can be overly helpful.
- The end of the road for the series?
Gears of War fans have descended on their local GAME stores to get hold of their copies of the newest instalment in the blockbuster series, Gears of War 3.
More than 500 gamers turned up at the flagship GAME outlet on Oxford Street in London to pick up the new Xbox 360 title, an event marked by giveaways, contests and an appearance by Carlos Ferro, who plays Dom Santiago in the game.
This was just one of more than 20,000 retail events taking place worldwide to celebrate the release of the final chapter in Epic Games' sci-fi trilogy, which has been met with glowing reviews.
Telling the story of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad's final stand against the Locust Horde, it introduces new four-player cooperative features and extra multiplayer modes, alongside a dramatic and emotional campaign.
Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski said: "This is our biggest Gears game yet and even though it's the third instalment in the trilogy, it's the easiest to jump into if you're a new fan."
Hogging the headlines for the third day on the trot, Marcus Fenix and his grizzled pals will be breaking new ground in a different medium over the next week. Having pioneered the use of "sad song plus slow motion carnage" trailer with the Mad World trailer for Gears 2, the TV campaign for Gears of War 3 will up the ante by displaying live player statistics as part of a massive ad campaign.
The thirty second ads will show exactly how many players are up to their necks in guts as the ad airs, a subtle reminder that other people are having way more fun than you, Mr. Watching-Five-Episodes-Of-Come-Dine-With-Me-Back-To-Back.
Microsoft is clearly confident in their numbers, and has no fear that the ads will show something horribly embarassing like "14". Guy Welch, senior product manager for Microsoft, has confessed they expect four million people to be playing Gears 3 this weekend, with three quarters of those playing online.
The ads will run from September 23rd to October 3rd. Gears of War 3 is out now, exclusively for Xbox 360, in case you hadn't noticed.
Gears of War 3 has set shop tills ringing across the world after storming past the three million sales mark in a little over a week since its debut.
The Xbox 360 blockbuster has proven to be a chart-topping smash hit in many countries, including the UK, and already ranks as the top-grossing videogame of the year to date.
Gears 3's barnstorming start means that the acclaimed franchise has become one of the few to surpass the billion-dollar mark in lifetime sales, making it the first Xbox-exclusive series of this generation to do so.
Microsoft corporate vice-president Phil Spencer said: 'Gears of War was the first killer app for Xbox 360 and the series has continued to contribute directly to the overall success of the platform ever since.'
Epic Games' trilogy finale has earned plaudits from gaming critics worldwide and chronicles hero Marcus Fenix and his Delta Squad comrades' last battle against the monstrous Locust.
The game is also proving to be a huge multiplayer draw, with more than three million users logging on to Xbox Live to try out new modes such as Beast and Horde 2.0.
Epic Games has announced that the first batch of downloadable content for the smash hit Gears of War 3 will be coming to Xbox 360 this November.
The Horde Command Pack add-on will be released via Xbox Live on November 1st 2011 and will introduce new maps, characters, items and Achievements for the ever-popular Horde mode.
New arenas will see gamers doing battle in a ruined medical plaza, a decommissioned battleship or an island combat zone, with new fortification upgrades available for command centres, sentries and decoys.
The DLC also introduces Onyx Guard, Big Rig Dizzy and Bernie as playable characters and adds two extra weapon skins, with all upgrades also usable in Beast and Versus modes.
Gears of War 3 enjoyed the most successful debut for a Gears game yet when it launched last month, ranking as the fastest-selling console exclusive of the year.
2011 was full of big releases for Xbox 360, including sequels to some of this generation's best franchises, high definition remakes of classic games and innovative motion control offerings. Here, GAME rounds up five of the must-own 360 titles that no Xbox 360 owner should be without.
Brothers 'til the endSci-fi third person shooter Gears of War 3 is the explosive finale to the current story arc of one of the biggest and best series in Xbox history. With mankind on the verge of annihilation at the hands of nightmarish monsters, players step into the boots of a military force battling to preserve humanity in the face of overwhelming odds. A tale of brotherhood, harsh realities, sacrifice and redemption, it features an engaging story, breathtaking visuals, meaty gunplay and tactical, cover-based action. The epic story campaign supports four-player cooperative play, and is complemented by a host of cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes for veteran players and rookies alike.
Get in the raceOffering traditional controller-based racing as well as the freedom and accessibility of Kinect motion controls, Forza Motorsport 4 is one of the most ambitious takes on the genre to date. With top supercars from over 80 manufacturers and a selection of the world's finest real and fictional tracks, the game features silky smooth racing, realistic physics and effects, gorgeous graphics and stereoscopic 3D support. Community features allow players to create auto clubs with like-minded car nuts, customise and trade rides with fellow collectors, and head out on to the track for adrenaline-soaked showdowns against up to 15 other online racers.
Global warfareAccessible, highly polished and perhaps best described as the gaming equivalent of a Michael Bay Hollywood blockbuster, Modern Warfare 3 is the latest entry in the world's biggest first person shooter franchise. Featuring a globe-trotting campaign that sees players attempting to avert World War 3, it offers access to a range of high tech weaponry and military hardware including remote turrets, predator drones and gunships. The same tools of destruction also feature in the series' deepest yet most accessible multiplayer offering yet, which features competitive online battles across a range of fan favourite and innovative new game modes, plus co-operative challenge and survival missions for two players.
A classic rebornHalo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is a spectacularly remastered version of the game that launched the Xbox brand ten years ago. Offering a diversity of action, a freedom of movement and enemy artificial intelligence that rivals its modern day competitors, the title's stellar gameplay remains unchanged from the original, but the alien blasting action is supercharged with a lovely high definition makeover, stereoscopic 3D support, Kinect voice control and new multiplayer maps and features. Widely regarded as one of the first great first person shooters on consoles, Combat Evolved lives up to its subtitle even a decade after its initial release.
Choose your own destinyAction RPG Fable III puts the fate of fictional world Albion in your hands as you rally the oppressed, start a revolution and eventually take the throne. The choices and sacrifices you make on the path to greatness create an ever-evolving world of consequences that will be felt across the entire land. Will you play as a hero, villain or someone between, and once you assume power, will you rule with kindness or an iron fist? Playable co-operatively with a friend, the game is brought to life by an all star cast featuring the voice talent of John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg, Ben Kingsley and Zoe Wanamaker.
Gears of War 3: Fenix Rising DLC on the way
Epic Games has announced that the latest batch of downloadable content for Gears of War 3 is set to be released next month.
Entitled Fenix Rising, the new DLC pack adds new multiplayer maps and character skins, plus a new level-up system that will provide an extra challenge for hardcore players.
Using the new Re-up system, gamers who manage to attain the coveted level 100 ranking will be able to resest their level back to the beginning and start again, allowing them to unlock exclusive bonuses for doing so multiple times.
Meanwhile, the new maps will include environments such as Academy, Anvil, Escalation and The Slab, letting players do battle in famous locales from the Gears universe.
Gears of War 3 has proven to be one of the year's biggest and most acclaimed Xbox 360 titles, with multiple DLC packs having been released for the game thus far.
The most recent, RAAM's Shadow, was released earlier this month and allows fans to play as the infamous villain General RAAM.
Raam's Shadow was released on the 13th of December 2011 and puts you in Llima City, before the events of Gears of War 1, shortly after E-Day as the Locust Horde sweeps aside all human resistance.
What's in Raam's Shadow?
Raam's Shadow contains both the COG and the Locust perspective, on events within Llima city and the events that unfold there.
- The COG - Reuniting you with some old (younger looking) friends in the form of Tai Kaliso and Lt. Minh Young Kim, and introducing Michael Barrick from the Gears of War comics and a new lady-gear Alicia Velera to complete Zeta squad. You're currently tasked with evacuating civilians out of Llima City, before the Kryll (yay Kryll!) eat everything!
- The Locust - You are General Raam, and this DLC really puts you firmly in his wall smashing, car hurling boots. You have a swarm of Kryll at your disposal and (in our opinion) the most brutal Execution, we've yet done, and in the violent universe of Gears of War that's a decent Exectuion. As Raam, you lead a covert team (read: big stompy Maulers) under simple instructions from the Locust Queen Myrrah, Summon seeders, and fill the sky with black ink and Nemacyst and block out the sun, to allow the Kryll to attack with impunity, and ravage the city of Llima.
How does it play?Raam's Shadow feels like all the good bits of Gears of War 1, but with all the tweaks and crisp visuals that Gears of War 3 gave us, along with the four player co-op and the new weaponry such as retro lancers and one shots (watch out Raam).
Much of the gameplay is like GoW1, surrounded on all sides, in a urban environment leaving you fighting for your life and the next check point it's a refreshingly enjoyable experience. But then it mixes it up with really interesting Wretch and Ticker levels that will offer a challenge to anyone.
Raam's Shadow is around 3 hours in length and also offers an extremely atmospheric experience, that is only heightened by the inevitability of the outcome, we know that the city will die, right from the very beginning and watching Zelta squad battle their way through Llima, knowing how events will unfold in the later games add a real sense of tragedy to the proceedings.
3 hours of campaign play, additional multiplayer character & weapon skins as well as access to General Raam, the biggest baddest boy in Sera! A great atmospheric, story-based experience and one that no Gears fan should miss! Out now for 1200 Microsoft points, pick up your points, grab your DLC and enjoy totally new Gears of War 3 experience.
Speaking to entrepeneurial business website VentureBeat, Epic boss Tim Sweeney explained that for any new hardware to be worthwhile, it would have to demonstrate a "dramatic leap" over what we have now.
"You should only replace the hardware when you can make a dramatic leap in quality, not just two times or three times. It has to be huge and fundamentally new," he said. "The longevity of this console generation has been a mixed blessing. On the game side, it's been really great for our business. With each new title, there is a bigger and bigger Xbox 360 installed base of users, so the games can sell more. On the other hand, it gets harder to generate the same excitement from the same hardware."
As the creator of the widely used Unreal graphics engine, Epic has more say in the design of new consoles than you might think: it was Epic that convinced Microsoft to double the memory of the Xbox 360.
"They put in extra memory and that is one of the reasons we were able to make Gears of War look so compelling," Sweeney explained. "That decision cost Microsoft about $1 billion, but you can say that it paid off big time. They would not have succeeded to the extent they have today if they had not done that."
Epic's last game, Gears of War 3, is a great showcase of what he's talking about. It's out now on Xbox 360.
With the Gears of War trilogy now behind him, creator Cliff "Cliffy B" Bleszinski has spoken out about the direction the series took. Those bull-necked ultra-macho tough nut soldiers we followed for so long weren't supposed to be quite so brutishly masculine, it seems.
"If I were to pass Gears off to another studio, and they came back with a pitch of having a double-edged chainsaw, and the characters are more buff, and now you can pull off someone's head and s*** down their neck, and they had a character that makes Cole look tame... I would look at them and say no, you're going in the exact wrong direction," the B-man told Penny Arcade.
Instead, he always imagined evolving the characters in "more of a Christopher Nolan way". The goal was to emulate Steven Spielberg's World War 2 drama Band of Brothers rather than the steroid-injected cartoon heroics of Predator. "That's one of the things that, in hindsight, if I could go back and change I would," mused B-Diddy.
But fans responded to the bulked-up heroes and their action movie banter, so the developers gave the fans what they wanted, even though Cliff believes "a little bit of heart got lost" in doing so.
"It became a negative stereotype in this generation," he said of Gears' violent bombast. "I want to be smarter about that in the future."
There's nothing like a bit of the old multiplayer, is there. From those early days of playing four-player Goldeneye on the N64 to travelling in guilds in World of Warcraft, there's just something about gaming with friends - whether you've met them or not!
Those of you who've played multiplayer will know that, every now and then, something truly memorable will occur. So here's a few of our very own memorable multiplayer moments - including some we'd rather forget. Still, at least we have chicken...
Jamie - Builder of Digital Dreamscapes:
When playing GTA race online multiplayer, my mate was being a bit cocky about how good he was.
Helicopters had been chosen as the vehicle class for this particular race, and it was pretty near the finishing line as most other players were now watching either him or his opponent. The other guy steamed towards him... tilted his helicopter to the side as he did a fly by and sliced my mates helicopter in half, mid air.
Cue every other player on the game belly laughing down their mics as my mate's chopper span hopelessly to its doom.
Carl - Design Doodler
I have spent many hours playing Halo Reach - over 350 to be exact! And I would estimate that about 20 of those hours have been spent apologising to my fellow Care Bears after I have accidently betrayed them! Yes, I'm part of a clan, and yes, we're called the Care Bears. That's right, laugh it up!
The most memorable of these unfortunate events is when I managed to take out our entire team of five with a single well placed, or rather badly placed, grenade. Reflection was the map and capture the flag was the game type. As always I ran for the shotgun on red ramp - if you don't know where I mean then learn your call outs! After the initial scurry for power weapons we all met up on the flag. With three of the enemy team dead and weeping in the headsets we grabbed the flag, and that's when it went very wrong!
I saw one of the remaining blues running down over the window stairs and threw a frag grenade, just as a teammate walked across my path. The grenade bounce off his back and landed at my feet. At this precise moment another Care Bear spotted the same blue Spartan and fired a rocket. The grenade blast that just took down all of our shields sent the rocket off course - it went straight up, hit the ceiling above red flag spawn and wiped out all of us. Leaving one bewildered blue Spartan staring at all five dead Bears.
Needless to say I wasn't the most popular Bear of the bunch after that. See you on the playing field!
Ali - Queen of the Internet:
My favourite multiplayer moments were in Gears of War 3. I regularly played Horde Mode with three friends and was definitely the cannon fodder of the group. We would choose the map with the river running through the centre and all hold our regular points around one of the houses. My section was the garden.
For levels 1-9 I was pretty competent at ducking behind rocks to fire from cover and using the trucks to shield me from explosions. Around level 10, though, the calls over the headset would be less "Are we secure?" "Yes", and more "Where is Ali?" "She's here, here, here, a little bit over here too".
However, nothing can beat the time we set the mortar off in the doorway of the house we were hiding in rather than outside of the house where the enemies were. Brilliant :S
Glenn - Mad Mod
Starcraft II. Qualification game for season 6, hoping to get promoted to Gold Division. Terran vs Zerg (TVZ).
I was at about 140 supply, going for a Bio/Mech build. I had tried to go for a timing push, just as my Siege Tanks got +2 Attack. The Zerg was transitioning from Roach/Speedling (Lings with the Speed upgrade to Muta(Mutalisks)/Speedling) and I was lucky enough to kill the third in the transition, Wiping the Roaches and Speedlings in the process.
Leaving with around 3 Medivacs, 5 Siege tanks and approx 30 Marines, and I felt pretty confident as I healed up, and advanced on the natural.
Out of metaphorically nowhere, approx 12 Mutas approached. I hadn't expected any Mutas out at this point, however I leapt to action tapping keys in a frenzy of concern as I stimmed my marines and went on the offensive, victory felt certain and the heady heights of Gold loomed BUT and in my haste I pressed the wrong hotkey and ordered my siege tanks to attack my Marines instead of my Marines to attack the Mutas.
Devastated I GG'd as he nuked my siege line and hit my SCV's square in the face L
Note to self: Scan more, don't order your Siege tanks to attack your own troops.
Note to others: Demuslim is a boss
Sound familiar? Feel free to share your own multiplayer memories with us in the comment boxes below!
Gears of War was developed from the ground up as a third-person shooter based around its duck and cover gameplay, but that doesn't mean that now the Gears universe is well established, the studio won't consider making an FPS set in that world, if fans demand it.
"I'm a big believer in never say never," executive producer Rod Fergusson told Official Xbox Magazine in the current issue, out this week. "It's all about what's interesting in the industry at the time and where fans want us to take it. We don't want to say never but it's not on the top of my mind either. We look at what makes sense and move in that direction."
Right now, all eyes are on Gears of War: Judgment, which sees Epic handing the series over to People Can Fly, the developer responsible for crazy shooter Bulletstorm. The change in developer has also led to a change in pace, thanks to a new AI system which changes the behaviour and location of enemies on each playthrough. "Our Gears game was heavily scripted - lots of cinematics, big storytelling stuff," Fergusson says. "People Can Fly is very much about things in level with a high replayability because of the Smart Spawn System, which brought to it by changing the AI. So yeah, PCF's campaign is a different campaign, but at its heart it's Kilo squad, and Lancers and taking cover - it's a Gears game."
Gears of War: Judgment is set for release on Xbox 360 in March 2013.
There's no denying it, we've been spoiled rotten by the flood of quality games this year. There isn't enough time in the day to get through them all! Fortunately, the Christmas holidays are here to give us a little more time to catch up on the best of 2011.
We've hand-picked a selection of games from this year's release schedule that are all worthy of your Christmas Gaming time...
Batman Arkham City
A comic hero game that turned out to be very good? We were left speechless when Arkham Asylum was released in 2009. Even more incredibly, Rocksteady Studios' sequel managed to be even better than the first!
Batman Arkham City sets you in a massive open world, players assume the role of a Batman imprisoned in the sprawling super-prison of Arkham City. Every nemesis you could hope for makes an appearance in the game - as well as an epic storyline offering dozens of hours of gameplay, there's a huge quantity of sidequests and missions to explore once you've put the baddies to bed.
This third outing for Nathan Drake is his grandest adventure yet. Set amongst deserts, lost cities and ruins, Uncharted 3 is a technically astonishing PlayStation 3 game that features all of the exploration, fighting and explosive set-pieces we've come to expect from the series.
Better multiplayer, more customisation options and some of the most impressive motion-capture animations to hit gaming make Uncharted 3 an unmissable, cinematic rollercoaster. Don't miss out on one of gaming's finest adventures.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
If you can't get your money's worth out of a game like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, you're very hard to please indeed! Bethesda's follow-up to the best-selling game Oblivion left players and critics alike reeling. A gorgeously rendered, enormous world stuffed with terrifying dungeons, endless quest-lines and open-world dragon fights, Skyrim packs more content into a side-quest than most games manage full stop.
Are you an archer, berserker, magician or rogue? Whatever your play-style, there's a highly customisable role for you in this most epic of RPGs. Hundreds of hours of gameplay are here for players to gorge themselves on, all spread across a game that is likely to become one of the most fondly remembered of this generation. The greatest RPG of all time? It might just be.
Gears of War 3
Tying up all the loose ends of the previous games, this climax to the best-selling Gears of Wars franchise sees Marcus Fenix and co set out to finish the Locust Horde once and for all in Gears of War 3. Some of the most awesome baddies the series has ever seen make their appearance in this conclusion, and there'll be no shortage of sweaty palms once the fighting's over.
Multiplayer provides endless re-playability for the game, as you team up with friends to take on wave after wave of Locust forces. If you'd rather rip your friend's face off than lend a helping hand, you can now fight as the enemy, raining horrible destruction on your whole family once the Christmas pudding's gone down.
Once mocked by gamers for churning out what often amounted to little more than annual updates, EA has been on a charm-offensive these last five years or so, bringing significant innovation and improvements to their flagship footie title every single time.
FIFA 12 sees the introduction of a far more dynamic system for defending where you can link up with an AI defender to put pressure on attackers. Head to Head seasons allow you to take part in a highly competitive ladder tournament, while simply playing the game also adds points to your chosen club. It's as addictive as ever, and about as fully-featured a sports game as we could hope for.
The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
The perfect game to settle into while the family are having a good old row downstairs,The Ledgend of Zelda Skyward Sword will charm the pants off you with it's perfect telling of the classic Zelda tale, mixed with the best combat and world design the series has ever seen.
Set prior to the events of the N64 (and now 3DS) classic Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword starts off in a beautiful cloud city by the name of Skyloft. Of course, it's not long until Link's childhood friend Zelda is whisked off into the lands below, beginning a fantastic journey of world exploration, soaring flight, and devilishly tricky dungeons. Skyward Sword is a must-play for any Zelda fans, past or present.
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