In a rather brisk message this morning, Microsoft and Epic Games announced they were delaying the much-anticipated Gears of War 3 until Fall 2011. Doesn't come as much of a surprise to us, as the 360 has repeatedly depended on Gears and Halo for strong holiday showings. Consider: 2006 (Gears) 2007 (Halo 3) 2008 (Gears 2) 2009 (ODST) 2010 (Reach). That's a predictable pattern if we've ever seen one.
Firing Gears 3 off in Spring 2011 (as originally planned) means something equally strong would be required for the fall. Considering the move, it sounds to us like Microsoft preferred to have Gears fill the fall slot and let spring be home to something else. Both parties say the move has nothing to do with the quality or status of the game, just a desire to have Gears 3 hold the top spot for the holiday 2011 push.
Above: Better put on a coat guys - you're needed in November
The move also helps separate Gears from Epic's other beefy man shooter, Bulletstorm. Previously they were slated to come out quite close to each other, with Bulletstorm hitting first in February and Gears following sometime in the "spring" area. The shift actually gives us all a bit of breathing room (hey, sorry if we can only take so much dude-bro violence in a fiscal quarter). So while part of us laments the loss of a sure-to-be-excellent co-op shooter experience, we can deal with waiting just a bit longer to recieve an even stronger package in the fall.
The official statement, straight from Microsoft:
Oct 1, 2010