American gaming mag (of the "dead trees" variety) EGM has a treat for fans of Gears of War this month - a pretty extensive cover feature going into some depth about the sequel's multiplayer modes, as well as an interview with the game's creator, CliffyB.
Skimming through the highlights of what's on offer, Gears of War 2 will now allow up to 10 players to participate in multiplayer deathmatches, with EGM hinting that AI bots may be available to fill up matches. (There's also a very vague hint which could either imply that 4-player co-op is on the cards, or simply that CliffyB is very excitable.)
Plenty of new weapons will make their debut in the game, with the high rate of fire Gorgon Burst Pistol and the powerful, once-per-map Scorcher flamethrower being detailed in the feature. The old weapons are being tweaked, too - and Epic is promising more superweapons, similar to the Hammer of Dawn from the original game.
There also seem to be interesting change afoot with the various features and window-dressing surrounding the multiplayer mode. There's a screenshot capture function, which allows you to play future-war photographer briefly, then upload your creations to a public site where others can vote on them - and you also get scored on how good the action in the picture is in-game (Dead Rising, anyone?).
It's speculation at this stage, but EGM also reckons that a Halo-style function for saving replays of the action and uploading them to Xbox Live is in the works - and Epic is also apparently considering a scrolling ticker in the game to show you live stats as you play.
What else? Well, there are new game types - including Wingman, where four teams of two face off, and Meatflag, where you have to capture an opposing team member. The multiplayer maps are a mixture of brand new locations and tweaked favourites (Gridlock and Subway both return).
Oh, and just in case you didn't find the first Gears of War's grunting, macho, man-on-man action to be overtly homoerotic enough, it turns out that the Epic team's term for killing someone with a chainsaw from behind is "Chainsodomy". On the plus side, the pun only works if you've got some kind of colonial drawling accent, so we can't see it catching on on this side of the Atlantic. Phew.
There's only a brief stub of the article online at the moment, so if you're lucky enough to live near a newsagent with a decent import mag section, you might want to hunt down a copy of July's EGM and have a read.