At an Xbox 360 press event today, Epic Games revealed a bit more about Gears of War 3, including the upcoming Beta and some additional details on the game’s September 20 release. VG247 has a really good interview with Gears’ art director Chris Perna about the new look for Marcus and friends, the environments, and the recently unveiled cover art for Gears of War 3.
As Gears of War 3 is the end chapter for the current trilogy, the characters are being redesigned to display the wear and tear of the fifteen year war against the Locust, the main enemy of the game. The armor is a worn down, the weapons are ragged and filthy, and the characters faces are tired and grubby. Gears of War 3 will retain the same predominantly brown look endemic to the series, but the levels are going to be a bit more varied this time around as opposed to the city and cavern based backdrops of the first two games.
It’s not just the protagonists that are getting a make-over for Gears 3, but the Locust as well. As Gears of War 2 saw the destruction of the Locust capital city (spoilers), the former alien conquerors are eking out an existence much like the human population of Sera, the planet Gears of War is set on. The Locust are beaten and broken, living in the wasteland and bearing a superficial resemblance to the Sand People of Star Wars (a comparison drawn by Chris Perna). The Lambent, the new enemy that are the bane of humans and Locust alike, are a bit more extraterrestrial in their origin; they’re very different from the Locust, who are more or less humanoid in their appearance. Chris Perna once again makes a reference to sci-fi pop culture by saying the Lambent are more inspired by H.R. Giger’s Alien designs than Conan the Barbarian, which served as the original inspiration for the Locust.
There’s not much more detail about Gears 3 gameplay or story wise that we didn’t already know about, but a bit more information was dropped about the Beta. Hit the jump to see how to get in, and what rewards you get for playing it.
The Gears of War 3 Beta will drop in mid-April 2011, the original intended release date for the full version. An early invitation to the Beta was included in the Epic Edition of Bulletstorm, but non-purchasers and traders will get their chance to jump in later at an unspecified time.
The Beta is being used as a testing ground to iron out small bugs and balance the weapons and gameplay of the full release. Gears of War 2 was rightly shamed for its broken multiplayer which featured some horrible grievances like taking twenty plus minutes to find a match and a whole passle of in-game errors such as being able to melee through walls, hosting exploits and many things besides.
As a reward for playing the Gears 3 beta, you’ll be eligible to earn a couple nifty tokens for use in the full game like a golden Retro Lancer assault rifle, or Cole Train in his “thrashball” uniform (shown above). These won’t come through simple participation, but rather through some complicated tasks. To earn the Retro Lancer, you need to complete 90 matches in the Beta to unlock the golden gun, then kill 100 people with it in order to use it in September. Trashball Cole requires 70 matches to be played, then 13 more games to be played using the skin to be able to use it in the full game.
Gears of War 3 will also feature some updated controls and a few new mechanics, but the majority of the gameplay will still be the “stop and pop” shooting we’re all familiar with.
That’s quite the Gears 3 infodump, but I’m excited to try out the Beta in April. What about you guys? Looking forward to Gears 3?