Gears of War: Judgment

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Gears of War creator Epic Games announces a new game

Remember when Epic Games flew the Xbox 360 flag with Gears of War? Those were the days. Now we get Paragon (open beta), a not-bad MOBA; Fortnite (alpha), a base-building survival game in development for six years now; and a new, somewhat openly developed Unreal Tournament (pre-alpha).

Oh, and one other game, just announced: Battle Breakers. A turn-based tactical role-playing game for mobiles and PC, with cross-platform play.

Battle Breakers looks like typical mobile fare, with your team's heroes stood on hex grids on your side, facing off against enemies standing on hex grids on their side. There's an anime style and tone to the whole thing, with loud noises and flashy abilities. Do I sound old yet?

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What happened to Black Tusk's "highly ambitious" new IP?

Future "not yet determined" after Gears of War adoption.

Yesterday Microsoft announced that it had bought the Gears of War franchise and that its wholly-owned developer Black Tusk Studios had been put to task working on it. So what's happened to Black Tusk's previous project?

Epic sells Gears of War to Microsoft

Epic sells Gears of War to Microsoft

UPDATE: CliffyB won't be working on the next Gears... at all.

UPDATE: Gears of War creator Clifford Bleszinski has confirmed that he will not be working on the next Gears game in any capacity.

"I'm not going to move to Vancouver and work on it," Bleszinski said on his Clifford Unchained blog. "I'm not going to consult on it."

This isn't so say that he's bitter about the change. In fact, he's looking forward to this new take on the series given how well Microsoft handled the Halo property after giving it to newcomers 343. "343 knocked it out of the park with Halo and I think Black Tusk will do a fantastic job with Gears," Bleszinski stated.

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Feature"The next generation is going to be, possibly for the very first time, the next generation of game design"

Meet Adrian Chmielarz, the Bulletstorm guy whose world was turned upside down by Dear Esther.

"Why is Nathan Drake a mass murderer?" Oh I don't know, but it's the question not the answer that's important. It symbolises a seismic shift in attitudes towards games that may mean, "possibly even for the very first time", that the next generation of consoles also becomes "the next generation of game design".

UK chart: Xbox 360-exclusive Gears of War: Judgment storms top

UK chart: Xbox 360-exclusive Gears of War: Judgment storms top

Activision's The Walking Dead game manages third.

Xbox 360-exclusive Gears of War: Judgment has Roadie Run to the top of the UK video games chart, but sold four times less in its launch week than Gears of War 3.

Two other new entries this week also made the top 10: Activision's mouldy-looking The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct in third; and Wii U and 3DS role-player Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in seventh.

Encouragingly, Wii U-exclusive Nintendo Land reappeared at the bottom of the UK top 40 (in 39th). It's the first sighting of the game in months, and suggests Monster Hunter 3 has slightly reinvigorated the Wii U.

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With Epic Games hard at work on a showcase Unreal Engine 4 title for next-gen platforms, it falls to satellite studio People Can Fly to give the current engine one last victory lap on existing console hardware. We've already seen Sony pushing the PS3 to incredible feats in recent months, but for the Xbox 360, the series that has consistently reflected the console's technical virtues has been Gears of War.

Watch five of us play Gears of War: Judgment live from 8.30pm GMT

Laugh as we tackle the excellent new multiplayer modes.

Tonight we're assembling, for Gears of War: Judgment, the biggest Eurogamer crew yet for a live gameplay video stream. We've got reviewer Dan Whitehead, video man Ian Higton and almost the entire news team: Wesley Yin-Poole, Tom Phillips and me, Bertie.

Gears of War: Judgment review

Gears of War: Judgment is a third-person shooter. That may seem like stating the obvious, but it's perhaps the game's most refreshing aspect. We've been bombarded with increasingly top-heavy blockbuster games as this elongated hardware generation wheezes along, but Judgment suffers from none of the feature creep that has weighed down the likes of Assassin's Creed, Dead Space and Tomb Raider.

Our thick-necked COG soldiers simply pick weapons up off the ground. They don't build them, or craft accessories for them, or upgrade them with XP points. They're not distracted from the war against the Locusts to collect pages from notebooks or pick 10 mushrooms. Nor do they have a cosy domestic hub, and if they did you can bet they wouldn't give a s*** how it was decorated. The world they inhabit is one of relentless forward progression, in which only two things matter: shooting the enemy and not letting them shoot you back. Yes, Gears of War: Judgment is a third-person shooter, and is all the better for its simple, unpretentious gameplay focus.

Clarity of purpose doesn't go hand in hand with innovation, however. This is a machine-tooled game, as slick and unsurprising as you'd expect from a series that has made four appearances in just over six years. The cover system, the active reload mechanism, the grenade throwing, the chainsaw executions - all are as effective as they are familiar.

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Gears of War: Judgment preview: Bigger, Bairder, more badass?

FeatureGears of War: Judgment preview: Bigger, Bairder, more badass?

The Locust are back, but can an injection of Bulletstorm DNA keep things fresh?

It feels like things have been fairly quiet on the Gears of War: Judgment scene so far. Strange, really, seeing as it's the latest instalment in a series for which quietness is not what the marketing people might refer to as a 'brand value'. Judgment's not a particularly quiet game to play, either. Reassuringly - even comfortingly - noisy, it's loud enough to dislodge ceiling cornices and to send loose change spasming across tabletops. It has perhaps picked up a reputation for being something of an afterthought, though: the trilogy's over, the main character is MIA, the bulk of the original developer is presumably doing other things.

What this gloomy reading of the situation ignores, though, is that the new co-developer is People Can Fly, the studio behind Bulletstorm, a brilliantly constructed game that redesigned first-person shooters as a kind of quick-witted take on bar billiards. Bulletstorm set its levels alight with delightful regularity, but its effect on the charts was much more, well, quiet actually. At least some of its electro-hillbilly DNA has survived here.

It's alive and well in Judgment if you know where to look for it, in fact. It's not seen in the scripting or the story, necessarily, which, from the hour or so I've played, have none of Bulletstorm's charm or knowing wit (sample line: "I can't believe I'm looking for the missile that burned half my face off!" Agreed, good buddy. What a drag!) but it's there in the new approach to ranking, which sees you earning a series of stars for each level as you play - stars which rack up all the quicker if you shoot with style, picking off headshots, say, or taking less damage. It's there in crazy new weapons like the Booshka, too, which I may well have just misspelt. No matter: the Booshka's a grenade launcher that sends its explosive charges pinging away from you at funny angles, rebounding unpredictably before landing in someone's lap and letting rip. Who cares how it's spelled?

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Gears of War: Judgment season pass announced, will cost 1600 MS Points

Gears of War: Judgment season pass announced, will cost 1600 MS Points

Grants owners a permanent double XP boost, among other DLC.

Gears of War: Judgment will unsurprisingly be accompanied by an optional season pass that will cost 1600 MS Points and save players 20 per cent overall on the game's DLC.

This makes it a third cheaper than the Gears of War 3 Season Pass, but it also saves players 13 per cent less.

As detailed on Epic Games' official site, the Judgment "VIP Season Pass" will grant its bearers an exclusive permanent double XP boost, earlier access to multiplayer maps, and two add-on DLCs that contain six multiplayer maps, two new modes, five exclusive weapon skins and four unique armor skins.

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Gears of War: Judgment demo announced

Gears of War: Judgment demo announced

Out three days before game launches in the UK.

A Gears of War: Judgment demo launches for Xbox Live Gold members on 19th March, Epic Games has announced.

That's the day the game launches in the US. It launches in the UK on Friday 22nd March. You'll need a Gold membership and 2GB of storage space to download OverRun.

Meanwhile, Epic announced a US-only offer to get three-day early access to the OverRun mode. Pre-order with GameStop and the multiplayer mode unlocks on 15th March.

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Microsoft line-up announced for Eurogamer Expo

Microsoft line-up announced for Eurogamer Expo

Fable, Gears of War: Judgment and Dance Central 3 join Halo 4 and Forza Horizon on the show floor.

Right. Can't remember if we've mentioned this, but we're doing a show at Earls Court in London next week. It's called the Eurogamer Expo. (Bit pretentious?) Anyway, we hope some of you will come. To help make it more interesting, we've asked Microsoft to bring everything they have in development for Xbox 360 for you to play. They said yes.

So, if you come along you'll be able to sample Halo 4 Infinity Multiplayer, Forza Horizon, Fable: The Journey for Kinect, Gears of War: Judgment's OverRun multiplayer mode, and Dance Central 3, plus various Xbox Live games.

We're also told that "the Mountain Dew crew" will be distributing drinks to people throughout the show. Presumably they'll be distributing Mountain Dew, unless that label is just a massive coincidence.

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Gears of War: Judgment Preview: Shifting up the Gears

FeatureGears of War: Judgment Preview: Shifting up the Gears

Judgment's free-for-all reflects the title's broader freeform intensity.

Gears of War is no longer just a game about killing monsters - in the multiplayer space, anyway. Showing off a new free-for-all deathmatch mode for the upcoming series prequel Gears of War: Judgment, Epic's showcase at PAX Prime 2012 gave a glimpse into a seemingly alternate future that once was a franchise impossibility: COG killing COG.

Regardless of its multiplayer status, a human versus human deathmatch mode may seem like a drastic step away from the traditionally Human-on-Locust violence that has permeated the Gears series. But rather than a sharp twist to a core philosophy, design director Cliff Bleszinski says Judgment's free-for-all mode was created out more out of practical convenience for players.

"When you join a server in traditional Gears multiplayer, you don't know if you're going to wind up on COG or Locust," he says, highlighting players' desire to often play with specially unlocked characters or pre-order skins. "By doing human-on-human, we can basically say if you want to play as Baird in the multiplayer when you play on a server you can always be the Baird that you're grinding and unlocking."

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Gears of War: Judgment release date confirmed for March

Gears of War: Judgment release date confirmed for March

New multiplayer video walkthrough details Overrun mode.

Gears of War: Judgment is slated for release on 19th March, Epic Games announced today at San Diego Comic-Con.

Additionally, a new video walkthrough of the game's Overrun multiplayer mode was released. Shown below, it details the class-based attack-and-defend mode.

The upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive third-person cover shooter is a prequel to the rest of the trilogy that follows Damon Baird and his four-person crew as they recount their experiences leading up to a trial for crimes unknown.

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New Gears of War confirmed

New Gears of War confirmed

UPDATE: It's called Gears of War: Judgement.

UPDATE: The next entry in Epic's Xbox 360 franchise is called Gears of War: Judgement, so says Game Informer.

The US games magazine also offered up a few additional tidbits of info on the title. Series regulars Damon Baird and Augustus "Cole Train" Cole feature, both of whom are depicted in chains on the new issues' twin covers. The back covers show hordes of Locust appearing generally up to no good. See below for a closer look.

As reported earlier today, Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly is thought to be developing the game. A full reveal is expected at Microsoft's E3 press conference on Monday.

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