As promised, the Microsoft San Francisco showcase has come and gone - and whilst there were a couple of important announcements, the major news is that Epic have put a date on the Gears of War 3 beta. Several new details have also slipped onto the internet, making this one of the most important gaming events of the year for Epic fans.
Gears Of War 3 dominated last night's event, mainly because its multiplayer beta has been dated for mid-April. This Bulletstorm-exclusive outing will allow us to try out three new modes, including the newly-rejigged team deathmatch (that adds shared lives between team members) as well as Capture the Leader. Imagine CTF...but with the enemy's team captain instead of a piece of fabric on a pole.
We've also got some new info on two new weapons. The OneShot is a powerful explosive sniper rifle that Epic describes as an Gears 3's "elephant gun," requiring skill and precision to launch a truly horrifying projectile on target. The Digger Launcher is exactly as we expected it to be: an underground homing missile that devastates enemy cover. Awesome.
You'll be able to vote for your four favourite maps over at the Gears Facebook page. Oh, and since it's the norm for betas these days, you'll unlock some exclusive stuff by playing the beta. The infamous golden Lancer will be making another appearance, along with a special Thrashball outfit for Cole.
Early reports suggest that multiplayer is more balanced and nuanced than ever before. We're looking forward to this one.