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Gears of War 4 beta starts April 18, Microsoft extends deadline for early access

If you played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (opens in new tab) between August 25, 2015 and now, congratulations; you'll get a week's head-start on the Gears of War 4 (opens in new tab) multiplayer beta coming next month. While the proverbial doors open for every Xbox One owner with a Gold subscription on April 25, those who've logged in time on Gears of War: Ultimate Edition get first dibs starting April 18.

If you didn't play Gears of War: Ultimate Edition but have since decided you'd rather not wait those extra seven days, more good news: Microsoft has extended the timeframe for early access qualification. It was previously announced (opens in new tab) that, in order to get the extra week of beta time, you'd needed to play Ultimate Edition by March 1. That deadline is now 10 pm Pacific, April 11.

Whether you get in just by being an Xbox Live Gold subscriber or an Ultimate Edition player, the beta's chainsaw-guns will go quiet on May 1, so get as many gore-iffic frags in as you can.

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Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.