Update: Microsoft has just issued a press release confirming the 8th April 2011 release date for Europe.
Original story: Epic Games lead designer Cliff Bleszinski made his delayed appearance on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight to reveal what Bleszinski called "the worst-kept secret in the video game industry, that we're working on Gears of War 3."
The highlight of the appearance, of course, was what Fallon referred to as "the world-premiere trailer for a game that's going to blow your pants off".
The clip below, entitled Ashes to Ashes, starts on a shot of an ash-covered city street, lined with ashen people frozen in time as if trapped in a ruins-of-Pompeii style explosion.
These fragile statues are quickly crushed to so much dust by a fully decked-out, bearded human soldier - who on second thoughts may have been Dominic Santiago if he hadn't shaved for a few days - sprinting away from what turns out to be an encroaching Locust horde.
The soldier trips and is about to be taken out by a Locust grunt when a well-timed headshot from the one and only Marcus Fenix saves him at the last second.
The fallen soldier is then handed a new weapon by a blonde-haired female soldier ("A lot of fans have been asking for that one for a while," Bleszinski said later) before the human/locust firefight begins in earnest.
Mere moments later, the action is interrupted by a large, tentacled monster 20 stories tall, which begins picking off the locust one by one with a merciless snapping motion. You can almost see a trace of worry on Fenix's face as he cranes his head up at the new enemy.
"In this new game, there's an even greater threat called the Lambent, these kind of crazy tentacle monsters that can mutate when you're fighting them," Bleszinski explained once the clip was done.
The trailer finishes with the white text "BROTHERS TO THE END" slowly fading to a simple and seemingly final "THE END", before revealing the already well-known release date of April 2011.
When pressed by Fallon for a more exact date, Bleszinski volunteered "probably about April 8th," which Fallon seemed to quickly accept as the confirmed street date, so hey, we might as well do the same.
The sound effects in the trailer were muted by a haunting guitar-based background melody, a Sun Kil Moon tune by the name of "Heron Blue". The mix of near-silent action and haunting music brought to mind the well-known "Mad World" trailer for the original Gears of War.
Besides the trailer, Bleszinski also spoke about his first exposure to video games - Space Invaders on his neighbour's Atari 2600 at the age of six - and how he knew immediately, "boom, that's it, that's what I want to do."
Fallon also mentioned Bleszinski's infamous Super Mario Bros. high score listing in the first issue of Nintendo Power, a feat Bleszinski said came about because, "I figured out the proper way to cheat in the game."
Bleszinski also took a moment to explain a bit about his philosophy on what makes a good game. "We have this whole thing in the business we call resonance," he said. "If you walk away from a game, and you're mowing the lawn or whatever, you're walking the dog and you start thinking about it, that's a powerful thing.
"Same thing with a good movie, if you see a good movie and you start thinking about it, or you start talking about it with your friends, right? You can have a good story, you can have good graphics, but ultimately gameplay is what matters above everything else."
By the by, Bleszinski decided to come out to the Donkey Kong theme music.