Gears of War 3 arrives April 5, series sales top 12 million

[UPDATE] Microsoft formally dates, details final installment in series, which arrives in Europe April 8; TV appearance confirms female squad members, new Thresher Maw-like enemies, apocalyptic conclusion to trilogy; full trailer inside.

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[UPDATE] Hours after the Gears of War 3 trailer debuted on the talk show Late Night (see below), Microsoft decided to formally announce and date the game. The game will arrive in North America and Asia on April 5, in Japan in April 7, and in Europe and all other territories April 8. Like Gears of War 2, it will be Xbox 360 exclusive.

One year before Gears of War 3's release, Microsoft is already firing up the hype train.
One year before Gears of War 3's release, Microsoft is already firing up the hype train.

As indicated by the trailer, the game will offer an apocalyptic finale to the series, which Microsoft revealed has sold 12 million copies. According to Microsoft, the last human city saved at the end of the second game has been obliterated, with Marcus Fenix trying to protect the remaining humans from the Locust horde. In his interview on Late Night, detailed below, Epic Games designer director Cliff Bleszinski detailed the game's new enemies and features.

[Original article is below]

Last Friday, word of Gears of War 3's April 2011 launch leaked out on Xbox Live. When Epic Games' new project Bulletstorm was announced today, many wondered what the studio's design director, Cliff Bleszinski, would have left to show off on his appearance on the talk show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight.

"Oh, you Locust are incorrigible!"

A fair amount, it turns out. As expected, the veteran developer--who got his first game design gig at 17--announced that Gears of War 3 is indeed in development and will likely release on April 8, 2011. Bleszinski also offered up some heretofore unknown details about its storyline and gameplay.

"In this game, there are these new enemies called the lambent, which are these crazy kind of tentacle monsters that can mutate when you fight them," boasted Bleszinski to Fallon. "We have all sorts of new weapons, including the double-barreled shotgun, and we finally have female soldiers in the game, which is something that people have been asking for for a long time. "

To illustrate what he meant, Bleszinski showed off the first trailer for Gears of War 3, titled "Ashes to Ashes." True to its name, the spot showed a metropolis filled with the still-standing charred remains of human civilians, which crumble into sooty piles when touched.

Razors are in short supply on war-ravaged Sera.
Razors are in short supply on war-ravaged Sera.

Series hero Dominic Santiago--now sporting a grizzled beard--plows through a crowd of the charred-but-delicate figures, pursued by a horde of Locust. The gun-toting subterranean hulks are driven back by a salvo from series protagonist Marcus Fenix, whose armor looks greatly deteriorated, and a new female character with blond hair.

Suddenly, both Locust and human are attacked by towering, burrowing snakelike creatures that look like the Thresher Maws from Mass Effect reenvisioned by the Resident Evil 4 character-design team. It is possible the creatures are either allied with the lambent, the mutated version Locust the latter fought in Gears of War 2, or an extremely mutated form of them. In the forthcoming novel Gears of War: Anvil Gate, the lambent invade the surface of Sera, the planet that is the series' setting.

Finally, the trailer cuts to a black screen with the phrase "Brothers to the end," which then fades to "The end," auguring a dark finale to the series.

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