Gears 2 preorders top original's

Xbox 360 shooter on pace to shatter predecessor's sales figures; Microsoft expects 20,000 stores to have midnight launches for sequel.

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In a GameSpot interview published last week, Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski said, "If [Gears of War 2] comes out and sells like hotcakes and has great reviews, then we'll consider doing another one."

Not in the face! NOT IN THE FACE!
Not in the face! NOT IN THE FACE!

It appears as if the sales part of that equation will be fulfilled--and then some. This week, Microsoft confirmed that preorders for Gears of War 2 have surpassed those of the original Gears of War. The gap between the two games' presale figures will only grow, given that the sequel still has more than three weeks left before its scheduled November 7 launch in the US.

Although Microsoft would not specify preorder numbers, at the time of Gears of War's release, GameStop called it the second-most preordered Xbox game of all time, behind only Halo 2. The original Epic shooter also topped 1 million sales within its first two weeks on shelves. The industry-tracking NPD Group has the Xbox 360 game selling nearly 2.9 million at US retailers to date, whereas Bleszinski said it has sold more than 5 million in total.

With even more people putting down money early to get their hands on the sequel, Microsoft is readying an array of promotions to mark the Gears of War 2 launch. According to the publisher, more than 20,000 retailers will put the game on sale at 12:01 a.m. as part of a Midnight Madness promotion. Gamers who stop by to pick up their copies of Gears of War 2 at the earliest possible time will receive a code to download a gold-plated Hammerburst Assault Rifle that can be used in multiplayer matches.

In addition, Microsoft is planning a "Game with Fame" weekend on Xbox Live for the Nov. 7-10 launch weekend. During the event, Gears of Wars 2 developers will wade into the online carnage as players attempt to win prizes. Xbox Live Silver account members who don't want to be left out of the fun will be able to join in using a 48-hour subscription code included with every copy of the game.

For more on Gears of War 2, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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