Gaming & Technology

Countdown: One year to 'Gears of War 3'

Gears of War 3 is coming.

Mark your calendars and make your pre-orders; it'll arrive in April 2011. That's a year away, but there has been a lot of excitement recently about the third installment in this storied franchise.

The developer behind this epic third-person action trilogy recently released a torrent of info on the otherwise non- discussed game. First, there was the little tab update on Xbox Live that simply stated the name of the game, then a date. It was quickly taken down, but only days before game design director Cliff Bleszinski, known as CliffyB to gamers, appeared on Jimmy Fallon's late night show on Monday.

CliffyB is well known to fans of the series because he is on a constant public-relations binge of all things Gears, and it's good to see mainstream media treat gaming developers like other celebrities promoting films.

Until now, the public had not heard much about the game. Sure, we all knew it was coming. After all, the series has been called a trilogy by many of its own developers, so its existence is not the big news. The news is that CliffyB talked about the game, showed a trailer and confirmed a few details about the game.

The trailer goes back to the style and feel of the trailer for the original Gears of War, which remains one of the best game trailers ever made. The video does have the visual and stylistic feeling of the first game, but it also shows off what players can expect out of the third installment: new weapons, new enemies, old friends and more. Both videos are widely available on YouTube, so if you haven't already seen either, I highly recommend taking a few minutes and searching for both.

After his appearance on Fallon's show, CliffyB confirmed several details of the game to a Spanish gaming blog.

The series will indeed climax with this third installation, confirming previous statements that the series is a trilogy. This doesn't necessarily mean it's an end to all things Gears — not a chance — but it does mean that story-wise, the third game will provide a lot of history of the world, and a real, honest-to-goodness conclusive ending. Or, at least, that's what we're led to believe.

The setting of Gears 3 is roughly 18 months after the end of Gears 2, with a more grizzled cast of characters. Dom, one of the playable soldiers, has grown a beard, for instance, and he appears aged and worn in the trailer. There also will be at least two new weapons: a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun with more power and longer reload times, and a new version of the standard assault rifle, called the Pendulum Lancer, a younger brother to the Chainsaw Lancer used in the two previous games.

Other details about the campaign include modifications to perfect the cover system, and a customizable four-player online multiplayer campaign mode. On the multiplayer front, gamers can expect improvements on filtering of games to reduce lag, which was one of the biggest complaints about the first game, and a reappearance of several Gears 1 multiplayer maps, and new multiplayer modes.

Throughout the next year, we'll be sure to get more and more info out of CliffyB, but for now, this is a good taste of things to come.