Of all the places to launch a game, Gears of War 3 took its first public bow on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night. Lead designer Cliff Bleszinski was one of Fallon's guests and, as suspected, he used his spot to announce the third title in the Xbox 360-exclusive Gears of War series, pegging it for an April 2011 release.
Fallon introduced Bleszinski (and the trailer) by calling it "an upcoming game that is going to blow your pants off."
In a tip of the hat to pre-appearance gossip, Bleszinski called Gears of War 3 "the worst kept secret in the video game industry" before dishing game details. Players will once more on the side of the humanity-based Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) against the alien Locust Horde and "Lambent" (Locust exposed to a mutagenic substance).
Bleszinski also premiered the first official trailer for the game, dubbed "Ashes to Ashes" (not to be confused with the BBC sci-fi TV series sequel to Life on Mars, currently in its third and final season).
After playing to the studio audience ("You always have the best crowds here," said Bleszinski, eliciting cheers) Bleszinski cited Space Invaders as the game that initially inspired him ("Boom, this is the future, this is what I want to do"). He also talked about getting his name in the first issue of Nintendo Power for racking up a record-breaking high score in Super Mario Bros for the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
On what makes a good game: "Graphics are the...it's kind of the thing that initially pulls people in," said Bleszinski. "But what ultimately matters is gameplay."
On Gears of War 3's gameplay: "In the new game there's an even greater threat called the Lambent...these kind of crazy tentacled monsters that can mutate while you're fighting them."
On what to expect: "All sorts of new weapons...a double barreled shotgun," and "We have female soldiers finally in the game...fans have been asking for that one for awhile."
On multiplayer features: "Rod confirmed and I'm posting it here: 4 player integrated story co op in the campaign!" said Bleszinski in a Twitter update after the show.
Microsoft followed up this morning with specifics, pinning the game to an April 5, 2011 release date in North America, followed a few days later on April 7, 2011 in Asia and April 8 in Europe.
"With the last human city destroyed and the remaining survivors stranded, time is running out for Marcus and his comrades as they fight to save the human race from the jaws of extinction," reads today's press brief, calling Gears of War 3 "the final chapter in the story of Marcus Fenix and his companions in Delta Squad."
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