The Gears of War 3 beta launches next month, and here at Dealspwn can barely contain our excitement, charging around with replica Lancers and hurling Cole Train plush toys. Over at Epic, however, they know the beta is a vital cog - geddit? - in ensuring Gears 3 doesn't suffer the same dreadful launch as its predecessor, with network issues conspiring to ruin an otherwise exceptional online component. And according to design director, Cliff Bleszinski, the Gears franchise is "dead if it has the same launch as Gears 2 online".
Gears 2 had a horrible launch. I vividly remember spending a good ten to fifteen minutes simply waiting for a matchmaking search to tie me to a game. Stuff you'd expect Epic, an online veteran, to deliver in their sleep. To their credit, Epic strived to patch up the servers, with no less than six title updates eventually ironing out the kinks, resulting in a far smoother experience. It's still not quite perfect, but it shows Epic's commitment to its fans and their understand of what went wrong and how to avoid it ever happening again.
Because Epic knows they can't get away with that again. "You can't afford to make that mistake twice, right?", Bleszinski rightly states. The beta allows Epic to monitor the stress-levels millions of gamers will be putting on their new dedicated server farms, analyzing just how much more is needed and in what areas before the release in September. And Bleszinski is confident Epic is on the right track. "To be fair over the course of the six title updates, we got Gears 2 in a very good position. And we need to take it to great. And that's what this will help do".
We're pretty excited for Gears 3, having already sampled quite a bit already. Jon's had ample time with the campaign and newfangled Beast mode already, and I personally can't wait to get my hands on the the final installment in the trilogy. There's a host of goodies to be won, too, if you complete select tasks and challenges in the beta which will transfer over to the final game. We'll be bringing you up to date coverage of the Gears 3 beta come April 25th. [IGN]