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MS helping with Gears 3 "server farm"

No host advantage here, says Bleszinksi.

Gears of War 3 will have dedicated online servers - something Halo and Call of Duty have been without for years on console. How? Epic Games' Cliff Bleszinski said Microsoft was "helping us out".

"Dedicated servers will be a huge help," Bleszinksi told 1UP. "You can't always guarantee a perfect game in the wild, though.

"I've had lag in [Halo] Reach, I've had lag in Call of Duty. Lag is a reality of the internet when you have millions of people connecting. That said, as a developer, it's your job to do whatever you can to bulletproof a new game as much as possible and dedicated servers, again, will help that.

"It's more about online performance because when you have a client-server architecture with Gears, you have somebody hosting and that host has somewhat of an inherent advantage over everybody else, which becomes this big [negative] thing. Like, in Gears or in Counter-Strike, if somebody kicked your ass, you claimed they were wall-hacking even though they weren't. And now if you win in Gears it's, 'You have host advantage!'" he added.

"But by removing [client servers] you suddenly have a level playing field for everybody. We have a server farm that Microsoft is helping us out with, so people will have a level playing field. "

The release of Gears of War 3 was recently pushed back from April 2011 to autumn 2011. The reason: to be the "marquee title" next Christmas. But the game isn't finished, and Epic will put the extra time to good use.

"Thankfully, with the release date shift, we have time to do a proper beta for Gears 3, which I think will get a lot of goodwill with the community," said Bleszinksi. "It's one of the things I learned over the years, with [Unreal Tournament 1] and UT4, that community is everything, and those fans will support you if you talk to them, if you engage them, if you treat them with respect. And Blizzard knows this, but it's something we really figured out over the last couple of years."

Bleszinksi went on to reveal that theatre mode will not return in Gears of War 3, nor will the ability to take photos of the action. Both features were only used by a small number of gamers., apparently.

A Gears of War 3 beta will begin in early 2011. No specific dates have been announced.

Multiplayer in Gears of War 3.