As 2008 draws to a close, the increasingly dire economy is dominating headlines in virtually every industry, including games. Just today, PlayStation 3 maker Sony announced it was cutting 16,000 jobs--8,000 of them permanent and the other 8,000 temporary. Just hours later, Electronic Arts lowered its guidance for the year and confirmed that it would be further cutting its payroll and canceling several unspecified future projects.
That said, one small bright spot of game-industry news has emerged. Microsoft has confirmed that Gears of War 2, Epic Games' highly rated follow-up to GameSpot's 2006 Game of the Year, sold more than 3 million copies in the four weeks after its November release. Since Gears of War took 10 weeks to go triple platinum, that means its sequel is selling at more than twice its forebear's pace. The original game went on to sell more than 5.5 million copies worldwide on the Xbox 360 and, to a much lesser extent, the PC. (The PC version was released a year after the 360 original launched.)
Unlike the first game, Gears of War 2 will remain exclusive to Microsoft's console. Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski stated that there will never be a PC port. Set six months after the original, the sequel follows Marcus Fenix, the gruff leader of the elite Delta Squad, as his squad continues to battle the ghoulish subterranean race known as the Locust. This time around, Fenix and his comrades take the fight further underground and learn more about their enemies' horrific origins.
For a detailed rundown on the game, check out GameSpot's full review.