Gears 3 has burrowing-grenade launcher

Plus more fatalities, dynamic environments.

Details on Gears of War 3's weapons, dynamic environments and additional combat systems have tumbled out in a new translation of the Russian preview that Cliff Bleszinski was grumpy about the other day.

Thanks to a Russian friend of Digital Foundry editor Rich Leadbetter, we know a number of additional details. For example, Gears 3 features a new grenade launcher with grenades that burrow underground and emerge on the other side of cover to strike enemies even when they're protected.

There's also a double-barrel shotgun that fires both shells simultaneously, and a single-shot rifle that does increasing damage when you achieve consecutive hits on the same target.

More weapons than before allow you to perform melee fatalities, too. Traditionally the Lancer could be used to chainsaw enemies, but now the knife can slice throats, while other weapons can break necks, and the flamethrower can be used to torch someone from within (use your imagination, I guess).

While it was possible to grab somebody as a "meat shield" in Gears of War 2, the third game will also allow you to strap a grenade to a meat shield and then kick him towards his friends. Boom. There are three grenades types, as well - smoke, explosive and napalm.

The game has previously been confirmed as four-player co-op, but now we also know that it will be possible to swap weapons with your friends while playing together, so if you're more of a Lancer man than shotty, do a deal.

The preview also revealed Lost Planet-style exoskeletal suits, in this case called Silverbacks. They have miniguns with unlimited ammo along with a limited-ammunition grenade launcher. Apparently they're well-armoured at the front but not so much from behind, and can also be used in stationary mode as a turret.

On the technological side, Epic has made it possible for environments to change more dramatically as you move through them. An example given is a street that suffers an earthquake as you move down it, altering the geology and bringing water cascading down from a nearby river. We should also see things like wind simulation (or at least feel their presence).

Gears of War 3 is due out on 8th April 2011 in Europe and we're expecting to learn more about it at E3 next month. In the meantime, check out the announcement trailer again to whet your appetite.

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