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.
Somehow developers keep forgetting to invite us to their press conferences (our invite probably got lost in the mail), so we don’t get to see awesome things like Gears of War 3’s multiplayer hands on. Now that I have the self-deprecation out of the way, I can tell you that EPIC Games recently invited a bunch of journalist types to their offices in North Carolina to check out the latest offering in the chainsaw-and-cover franchise.
While we reported last week that Gears 3 was being delayed until the Fall of 2011 because of a marketing decision, it turns out this speculation was a little off the mark. In a total surprise move, EPIC Games will be hosting a public Beta for Gears 3 early in 2011. As we may remember from Gears of War 2, the multiplayer was a bit of a mess. It usually took about fifteen minutes on average to find a game, and then, if you didn’t get host, you might have well just quit. EPIC hopes to address this issue by having dedicated servers this time around to get rid of the hosting problem and a Beta to iron out the bugs. IGN has a video preview of all the changes coming at us in the Beta and Fall 2011, when the game finally hits:
Those of you who were looking to continue the adventures of Marcus Fenix and pals in April of 2011 are going to be a little disappointed this morning as Microsoft curbstomps our hope with this bit of news. Perhaps realizing that their exclusive fall lineup was a little slim, the software giant has chosen to move the “threequel” to an unspecified date closer to the holidays. Of course, there could be speculation that the game is just plain not ready, but the Microsoft statement pretty much says that this is a marketing decision:
Gears of War 3 promises to be the biggest entertainment launch of 2011,” the Microsoft statement reads. “The teams at Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games have done great work thus far readying the title for release in the Spring of 2011. However, we’ve elected to move the launch of Gears of War 3 until Fall 2011 to make it the marquee title for the holiday season.
Just when we thought that Microsoft learned to spread its titles out, this notion gets dashed. While I can’t blame them for wanting a big game to shill around the holidays, this just means that we’ll be waiting even longer to cut up some aliens. Gears heads can get their fix with novel series if they are really parched, but for the rest of us, some patience is in order. So, any opinion on the news? Do you wish Microsoft would have just bit the bullet and stuck with April?