Gears 2 information blowout

The first details on the massively anticipated Gears of War sequel have emerged in Game Informer. Here are the best bits.

Gears of War 2, the mag reveals, kicks off six months after the events that finished the first game. "We want to fulfill the promise - it is a war," senior producer Rod Fergusson told GI.

"In order to save Jacinto, they have no choice but to take the war to the Locust," Fergusson continues. "They're going to push back and go underground, and bring the battle to them."

How your character is placed behind cover has been retouched, so that it's harder to get hit while protected. Active reloads are also in and not dramatically altered (for the old guns anyway, says GI) and new chainsaw duals are promised to ramp the gore right up.

Game Informer adds, "Unlike the sometimes cramped and linear subterranean paths from the first game, the cavern complex is vast and breathtaking. Branching levels and open spaces give players true tactical choices as they decide which way to tackle an assault. Whatever path you choose, bio-luminescent plants light the faces of the new Locust Kantus enemies.

"These monk-like devils hum low and droning chants that can be focused into sonic attacks against you. They wield weapons like the new Gorgon burst pistol and poison grenades, both of which can become part of your arsenal if you play your cards right. However, the Kantus' true danger lies in their ability to revive their fallen brethren from afar. Where before you could rest easy after taking down an enemy soldier, now there is the constant danger of them rising back up to continue to fight.

"The only alternative is to brave the hail of gunfire to break through enemy ranks and kill the Kantus sulking in the rear. Along the way, you may not have access to stable cover anymore, so you'll have to make do with the moving kind. Massive Locust rock worms will emerge from the cavern walls during battle, guided by the Kantus' chanting. Luckily, the creatures are so large you can hide behind them as they slitter about, and you too will be able to guide them to an advantageous firing position."

As expected, the new Unreal Engine 3 tech shown off at GDC 2008 -including Ambient occlusion,soft body physics and the ability to put hundreds of enemies on screen at once -is indeed lined up for the sequel.

"We have creatures that make the Brumak look like a baby panda bear," Cliff Bleszinski says in the mag.

Epic promises at darker, "more heartfelt" narrative this time around, with novelist Joshua Ortega brought on for scribing duties. Forced walking scenes that masked loading times have been replaced with a dynamic conversation camera system, but the player is still in control. There's also a 'shut up' button to skip straight to the action.

There's also a cast of new characters (though Baird and Cole will appear later on in the story), including (in Game Informer's words):

Tai Kaliso: "The most memorable of these new additions may be Tai, a spiritual and meditative warrior from a tradition of honor-bound fighters."

Chairman Prescott: "Lots of gamers found themselves wondering if Marcus' domineering superior officer was the head of the human government. It turns out that Hoffman is only second in command. Above him stands the Chairman."

Dizzy: "A hardened soldier who drives the massive Derrick on which Delta Squad ascends into the mountains. With a trademark drawl and an insistence on calling his truck 'Betty', he's a colourful new addition to the cast."

Maria Santiago: "When Emergence Day struck, Dom's wife Maria became a victim as surely as if she had died in that first attack. On that day, her children were killed."

Multiplayer details are being kept mostly under wraps at this point, although Game Informer hints that the co-op modes in Gears 2 have been "dramatically expanded", with multiple save files and the ability for players to set "individual" difficulty modes (so one player can play on hardcore, while his partner toddles on causal).

One thing that does sound wicked though is the COG Centaur tank, which is described as "a monster truck mixed with a military tank." Awesome.

We expect the first screenshots to appear on the internet shortly. Thanks to the chaps atNeoGAFfor the info.

Courtesy of CVG.

Apr 8, 2008