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Gears of War coming to PC ... maybe

In the latest holiday issue of PC Gamer magazine, there is a Microsoft advertisement showing a retail display for the "Games for Windows" PC games. And what game is pictured on the lower shelf squeezed between the PC versions of Shadowrun and Age of Empires III? Gears of War, you silly goose! This ad could just as well be "concept art" and just showing off Microsoft's big hitting video games, but why would they put a supposed Xbox 360 exclusive game like Gears of War in that ad if it wasn't going to be part of their Games for Windows marketing campaign? I'm betting all my chips on Gears of War coming to the PC in 2007, probably around August and only playable on Vista. Playing Gears on your PC, does that sound appealing to you?

GOW knocks Halo 2 from Live top spot


Today is a momentous day. For the first time since, well, ever, Halo 2 has officially been knocked from the number one slot on Xbox Live. If you keep track of Major Nelson's weekly updates on the most played games on Live, you'll know that Halo 2 consistently trumps all other Live titles, even all the fabulous titles on 360. That's right, one original Xbox title is routinely played more than any 360 title. Until now, that is. Of course, now the question is: how long will it stay there?

We'd like to extend our congratulations to Epic and to Microsoft for their success. So, have you made the switch from Halo to Gears?

[Via Joystiq. Thanks, Sherveen Mashayekhi]

European Emergence Day festivities begin

To all of our European readers, happy Emergence Day! It's been a long time coming, but now you can finally celebrate Gears of War with the rest of the world (we hope you enjoy all of the cheaters). Huzzah! As an extra special treat, European 360 owners (except Germany) can now download the special Emergence Day theme and picture from Xbox Live Marketplace. So, now that you finally have your hands on Gears of War, what do you think? Does it live up to the hype we Yanks have been generating? Is curb stomping everything it's cracked up to be? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think.

[Thanks, honz12]

Sweet Xbox 360 bundle from Future Shop

We got a great deal for all the Canadian readers in Xbox 360 Fanboy land. Future Shop (the "it" electronics retailer in Canada) is offering an irresistible Xbox 360 bundle. What's included is a premium Xbox 360, G.R.A.W, XBL Arcade: Unplugged, Ridge Racer 6, and our little gem Gears of War. The price is pretty nice and may make you want to slap yourself and call your pet salamander Sally. You get everything for the low, low Canadian price of $449.99. Better than playing hockey in the Summer and is just an all around good deal isn't it, eih?

[Thanks, Randy]

Sing, sing a song for GoW

If you walk around singing that Mad World song because you can't get it out of your head, this "Gears of War Idol" contest, sponsored by Unscripted 360, is for you.

[Thanks DeaconBlade 360]

Epic supports Gears of War updates

The oh so dashing Mark Rein posted a heart warming message to Gears fans on the official Gears of War message boards. Simply put, he stated that Epic was "going to support Gears of War and we're going to make improvements and enhancements for it." No dates or timetable was stated, but Epic just wants the fans to know that they are listening to us, hearing our complaints and praise, and will come out with updates and possibly new content in the near future. Now that's a real game developing company, actually caring about their customers and going the extra mile for them. Here's looking at you Electronic Arts, you're still grounded.

Gears of War Wiki guide needs your help

The lads at GearsRealm.com have started a Gears of War wiki guide to help budding Gears players reach their full potential. There is a problem, though: the guide is empty. Right now, it even lacks the basic information that you can find on Wikipedia, which is why Gears of War Realm needs your help. If you've got some valuable information about Gears that you'd like to share -- pictures, map layouts, strategies, tips, etc. -- head over to the guide and start building it up. We've already learned one valuable tip, the reload melee trick, that assures us our bullets will always be boosted. We're sure all of you have plenty of other tips to share (it's not like people on my friends list are playing anything else). Besides, what else are you going to do today? Work? Study? No, we didn't think so.

[Thanks, Luke Wallace]

The better matchmaking method, Gears or Halo?

With all the excitement surrounding Gears of War this past week, I thought I'd compare its multiplayer with that of my other favorite Xbox game, Halo 2. Of course both games have great multiplayer aspects to them and both are quite fun, but for the sake of this blog post I'm not interested in what the multiplayer is like, I'm looking at how the matchmaking system is implemented. I really want to know how easy is it to get into a game that is ranked, how easy it is to setup a game in which your friends can play, and overall how the multiplayer experience is managed. I pick at my brain for these answers to this multiplayer conundrum ... after the break.

Continue reading The better matchmaking method, Gears or Halo?

Video: Army of Two, co-op done best?


A new trailer is available for Army of Two, EA's co-op centered shooter. To its credit, Army of Two looks like it could bring some new twists to co-op gameplay. The interactions with team mates, such as back to back cover and dragging the wounded (who can still shoot), are particularly interesting. We also find it amusing that the game has all the trappings of a buddy comedy -- the only thing missing is Danny Glover.

It's ironic that EA's Alain Tascan recently cited Gears of War for having zero innovation, as Army of Two will no doubt be judged against it. Considering Tascan is producing Army of Two, perhaps we can see the motives for his comments. Gears already does many of the things featured in this video, including moveable cover, and it has great co-op where good tactics are essential. The question is: does Army of Two do it better? Obviously we can't judge Army of Two before we've actually played it, but it's fun to speculate. Watch the video and join the discussion after the break.

Continue reading Video: Army of Two, co-op done best?

Gears already riddled with cheaters

Emergence Day was supposed to be a celebration. A celebration of chainsaws, headshots, and curb stomping. It looks like it was a celebration of something else entirely: cheating. Remember the hubbub about not having friends in ranked matches of Gears? It looks like it was all for naught, as getting into ranked matches with your friends is easy as hell. All you have to do is host a game and your friends find your name in the host list. So, in pursuit of points and prizes, there were plenty of stacked teams yesterday. Gamer Andy tells of a particularly nefarious exploit using 5 people. "But GOW uses teams of four," you say, and right you are. The fifth person is actually on the opposite team, a saboteur for whatever clan is trying to rise to the top of the leaderboards.

That not cheatery enough for you? How about the fact that the host has the power to start the match at any time, whether all members have clicked "Ready" or not? This makes it easy to stack games with uneven teams of 4v3 or even 4v2. Easy, ranked pickings for anyone.

But wait, there's more. Another nasty exploit can be employed during execution matches. In execution, players can only be killed via curb stomp or execution. After a predetermined amount of "bleed out" time, a downed player will simply revive. So, cheaters start by stacking a 4v3 game, execute 2 opposing players, and leave a third alive. The third player is then shot down, but not executed. Why? Because downing a player is worth more points than executing them. Once the player revives, cheaters shoot him down again, wait for him to revive, rinse, repeat. This continues for the duration of the round. This also leaves the victims with an unfortunate choice: quit a ranked match and risk negative feedback from cheaters, or stay and endure fruitless minutes of death and rebirth.

We'd like to believe that all this cheating was merely for the sake of winning some of the Emergence Day prizes, but we know better. Sure, cheaters may have hoped for a prize, but they would have cheated regardless. The unfortunate truth is that some people are just jerks (especially Pod 6).

A lot of these problems could be solved simply by tweaking the lobby system -- not displaying host names, not letting hosts force start matches, etc. Hopefully, this will be addressed in the upcoming patch. Has anyone experienced these exploits online?

[Via Inner Angst]

Emergence Day 2006


It's been a very long wait, but the day has finally arrived. By now you've had your copy of Gears of War for a few days, put in some multiplayer time, dabbled a little in the campaign, and mastered the art of the cover system. Hopefully you had a good nights rest, put on extra deodorant, bought some eye drops, and fed your hamster, because you've been summoned to play 24 hours of Gears of War on Xbox Live. Don't fret for you are strong, the locusts are no match for you ... it's November 12th and Emergence Day 2006 has arrived. Jump online, win some cool prizes, download exclusive content and most importantly kick the Epic development team's ass. Sera needs you soldier, get to it!

GoW: Race to Launch

On Monday night set your DVR, TiVo, VHS recorder or just tune into MTV's little documentary Gears of War: Race to Launch airing at 8:30PM. Oh and by the way, this is the same special that a GearHeads of War ultimate fan was chosen for. Seriously, you can't have enough Gears of War or Cliffy B interviews ... that's just how it is right now.

Rant: Gears has no innovation, says EA

Speaking at the Montreal Games Summit, EA Montreal's Alain Tascan had some fighting words for Gears of War,

"What is Gears of War? I mean Gears of War brings nothing in terms of innovation to the shooter... Like, zero."

He further laid on the smack sauce (smack sauce?) with this comment,

"I'm not talking about my tastes, I'm just saying, when you go to metacritic and you see a 96 for Gears of War, then you read the critics saying, 'Okay, storyline - there's none, gameplay is not innovative...' Then I say, why did they give this 96? They were blown away by the high quality of the graphics... Myself, I prefer something more creative,"

It's time for a rant. Read on for more.

Continue reading Rant: Gears has no innovation, says EA

GOW: ranked friends matches a possibility?


Many people are understandably upset that they can't play ranked matches of Gears of War with their friends. After all, Halo 2 spoiled us on this feature, and most assumed it would be standard on a game as big as Gears. Unfortunately, thanks to the workings of the TrueSkill system, ranked friends matches are a no-no. Don't resign yourself to this grisly fate just yet, though. Numerous sites around the net are latching on to a few choice words from Epic's Mark Rein, featured on Gamer Andy. When asked about the current matchmaking system, Rein had this to say:

"Yeah, Microsoft came to us and said there would be a lot of cheaters if we did it that way so for right now this is how it is. In the future we might roll out some additional functionality."

Could ranked friends matches be in the cards? We hope so. If non-ranked matches is all we'll ever be able to play with our friends -- in Gears or any other game -- will it change your feelings about Xbox Live?

[Via Major Nelson]

Gears of War: the sitcom?

Apparently we were so busy playing GOW yesterday -- playing co-op with all of you is great by the way -- we failed to notice Penny Arcade's latest comic. If you're absolutely sick of all the hyperbole surrounding this game (or if by some off chance you actually like the idea), you'll find the idea of turning Gears of War into a sitcom fairly amusing. It brings up an interesting point though. For those of you who've played the game (and were able to find it), how is it stacking up so far? Does it live up to the hype, or are you happy playing something completely different?

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