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GDC floorplan speculation with Epic, MS and Gears

TeamXbox put on their speculation hat today with their analysis of this year's GDC floorplan and how it relates to a possible Gears of War 2 announcement. Strap on your tin foil hats and chew on some for extra measure, because we're going in.

Let's break down TeamXbox's speculative theory. This year at GDC Microsoft has outdone themselves and has paid for the largest floorspace of any company attending. And guess who has the second largest floorspace? No, not Sony or Nintendo, it's our friends over at Epic Games. And guess where their floorspace is situated. Correct, both Microsoft and Epic Games' GDC gigantic floorspaces are right next to eachother. Gasp! Taking everything one step further, both Microsoft and Epic have absolutely no partnership or connection other than their Gears of War roots. So, this all must mean that the massive amount of floorspace and close proximity means that we'll see a Gears of War 2 announcement at GDC! W00t! Or Epic just needs lots of room to showcase their Unreal Engine 3 and Microsoft wants to make a splash, because they're Microsoft and have money coming out of their ears. Meh, we prefer the Gears 2 speculation. It's more exciting and gives us something hope for.

Gears gets novelized with The Pendulum Wars

Gears of War is taking the next big step in becoming a legitimate franchise this year with the release of a novel. just posted a pre-order listing for Gears of War: The Pendulum Wars The Battle of Aspho Fields, a 353 page novel written by Steven L. Kent that aims to tell the tale before Gears (the game) takes place. In other words, it's a novel prequel. So far the pre-order page lists the book for a release later this year on August 26th which we speculate to either coincide with a Gears of War 2 game sequel (we have our dreams too) or blockbuster movie (really grand dreams). And even if the book releases without any other media accompaniment we'll still enjoy reading and expanding upon our Gears of War lore. Bring on the reading!

[Via Joystiq]

Gears of War action figures now up for pre-order

For those of you who didn't believe Cliffy B and his proclamation that Gears of War figures would be made, then all we have to say to you is "ha!" We laugh in your face because Gears of War figures are a reality, are releasing March 2008 and Cliffy B doesn't lie. Or not all the time. Available right now for pre-order at your favorite online retailer of choice is the first series. Series one will include 7" figures of Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago and a Locust Horde Drone all with twelve points of articulation and weapons galore. Currently, the manufacturer hasn't released pictures of the figures just yet, so you'll have to put down your pre-order cash blindly. Next Spring we're geeking and blowing our savings on Gears and Halo 3 figures!

[Thanks, Muffin Lad]

Gears of War 2 pre-orders were on Amazon

We didn't want to post this, because we really didn't feel it to be newsworthy seeing that A) Gears of War 2 is nearly a guaranteed and B) retailers don't know anything more than we do when it comes to release dates. So, when news that was offering Gears of War 2 pre-orders with an expected release date of November 15th, 2008 our response was something along the lines of "so what?". Like we said, Cliffy already pretty much confirmed GoW2's existence in numerous interviews and simply wants to make a quick buck with pre-orders for a game that they have no release date for. But others thought it was newsworthy (tipsters included), so the GoW2 pre-order "news" has been making the internet rounds and now has pulled the listing. So, there you have it.

You know, now that we've actually taken the time to put our fingers to the keyboard this is totally sounding like news. Funny, we guess we were wrong about this story all along. Oops.

[Thanks, to (literally) all three thousand tipsters]

Video: GSB deals with an uptight COG crew

We always enjoy it when the Gamerscore Blog puts their heads together to produce creative video masterpieces (Portal anyone?) And this week they let us in on the headaches and stresses they've incurred the past few weeks having to house the COG crew until Gears of War PC launched. Because we all know how upfront and in your face Fenix can be when not killing Locusts. But thankfully, Gears released yesterday, so GSB is free and clear of the Coalition's mood swings. Though, we still wonder how many copies of Viva Pinata: Party Animals they have on hand. Three, four ... maybe they're just out?

Gears of War goes Platinum Hits ... in Japan

If you have yet to purchase Gears of War the first question that comes to our mind is why the heck not? Seriously, why haven't you purchased the game? And if we're any good at reading minds then we're sure your response has something to due with the fact that the game released last year and still retails for $59. Good point, but if you live in Japan or are all about ordering region-free games online then you no longer have an excuse.

Gears of War has officially gone Platinum Hits and received the discounted price tag for our friends in Japan. But you can still get a copy, because Play-Asia has the cheaper and region-free GoW Platinum Hits title for only $29 with $3 in shipping charges. Not too shabby. Also, if you are a proud owner of a Japanese Xbox 360, you can pick up a Platinum Hits double pack featuring both Gears of War and Dead Rising and for $49. Also, not too shabby. Our only question to Microsoft is; when the heck does Western civilization get Platinum Gears?

[Via Xboxic]

Sunday ads bring out the crazy CoD4 deals

There's lots of gaming deals this weeks, so let's hop right into it. The big new release this Tuesday is Call of Duty 4 and the top gaming retailers are all offering up the goods. If you purchase CoD4 at Target they'll give you a $5 gift card, Best Buy will give you a free Behind Enemy Lines DVD as part of their exclusive CoD4 Ultimate Box Set and they're also offering a $20 instant savings if you purchase the game with a 360 wireless headset. But we think the CoD4 deal crown goes to Circuit City this week, because they're going crazy nuts giving away a poster and Call of Duty 3 with purchase.

Other deals you want? Okay ... let's keep going. Best Buy's other deal is a free $10 gift card with F.E.A.R. Files, but that's about it from them. Over at Circuit City this week you can pick up a $29 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary, a $39 Gears of War (PC) and a $39 Virtua Fighter 5. That's not all, you can also get a $10 gift card with TimeShift and a $39 wireless Xbox 360 controller too. Oh, and we didn't know this ever existed, but you can Cars, Open Season and Fuzion Frenzy 2 all bundled together on one game disc for $29. That's about it for money savings offers this week, but feel free to share what other deals you discovered in the comments below.

Gears multiplayer almost didn't make the final cut

Talking at the Games Convention 2007, Epic president Mike Capps talked about some of their older projects mentioning that Gears of War's multiplayer almost didn't make it into the game. Leading into E3 2006, Capps said that he"was going to cut multiplayer from Gears because I thought it wasn't coming together fast enough". Things were so far behind in his mind that he even pondered the idea of scrapping the whole thing. But his less than enthusiastic attitude towards GoW's multiplayer chances drove the dev team into high gear (no pun intended), where they ultimately finished it and impressed the Capp'ster and amazed everyone at E3.

Being huge Gears fans we couldn't imagine not experiencing the crazy fun multiplayer the game offers. Yeah, it was rushed. Yeh, it isn't perfect. But pick it up, play for a few hours and you'll soon realize that Gears' multiplayer is a unique blend of some of the most successful ingredients used in other shooters. Thank you committed multiplayer developers, thanks for making our Gears so special.

Ready, set, carve! GoW pumpkin carving contest

So, you've tried your hand at carving Xbox 360 pumpkins and now you need a new challenge. A challenge where, if your artistic talent shines, you'll be rewarded with gaming prizes. If that's the case, then the Gamerscore Blog has what you want with their Gears of War pumpkin carving contest.

From now until (presumably) Halloween, the Gamerscore Blog is accepting entries into its GoW carving contests where they want fans to unleash their creativity and carve the most gruesomely awesome Gears themed pumpkin. Winners will be awarded with various prizes including Gears of War PC and posters, but in reality everyone is a winner when GoW carved pumpkins are involved. Make the jump for full details and submit your pumpkin entry. And, truth be told, we were going to make a bad joke about chainsaws and pumpkin carving, but Mr. Paladino already beat us to the punch. Darn you Paladino!

Rare: GoW took Viva PiƱata'a marketing cash

In an interview with Gamasutra, James Thomas and Justin Cook (two members of Rare's development team) talked about the history of Viva Piñata and how hard it has been targeting a new family-IP to the stereotypically hardcore Xbox 360 gamers. Specifically, Thomas mentioned that last Fall, publisher Microsoft Game Studios left little in the Viva Piñata marketing bank and instead sunk more focus and effort into their new Gears of War franchise. Thomas commented saying that,

"So much of the [marketing] money went towards Gears of War, which is going to sell millions anyway. It was a bit of like, 'What about the other franchise?' I think we got left in the wake somewhat."

Here at X3F we've always been enthusiastic about Viva Piñata and give it nothing but praise. But, even for us, trying to get other gamers to try the game is a bit of a task seeing that it is somewhat nontraditional. Maybe Microsoft didn't do a good job at marketing it and maybe Gears of War was more important last year, but we have confidence in their commitment to bringing the somewhat under-achieving Viva Piñata franchise into focus again ... heck, we've got BK toys to prove it.

Gears of War movie may go the green screen route

Speaking to GamePro, Gears of War screenwriter Stuart Beattie discussed the upcoming film adaptation of the blockbuster game. Apart from talking about the slowly changing Hollywood view of game-to-film adaptations -- as the writer of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film (a movie based on a ride), he knows something about adaptations -- Beattie elaborates on how Gears of War may be treated in production. Beattie says that Gears of War will likely utilize the same techniques used in 300, which was shot entirely using a green screen. Said Beattie, "There's no way to build that world any other way, really," noting that a green screen and soundstage is the only way the movie could be made on a reasonable budget. So, when you sit down to enjoy the upcoming film, remember that the Brumak about to eat Marcus isn't real.

Gears makes its PC debut November 6th

Announced this past July during the craziness that was E3 2007, Shacknews is reporting that Gears of War on the PC will be hitting retail shelves this November 6th with exclusive content not seen in the Xbox 360 version. Gears PC will come jam packed with brand new content including five additional chapters, three new multiplayer maps, a new King of the Hill gametype, a game editor and the infamous Brumak boss fight. As you can see, there's lots of fun and interesting goodies in the new PC version, all of which won't see the light of day on the 360. It's sad really and we refuse to quit complaining about it. Where's the Gears 360 love Epic, where's our love?

[Via Joystiq]

CliffyB wants charismatic Marcus for Gears movie

Speaking with GameDaily, Gears of War maestro Clff Bleszinski recently discussed the upcoming film adaptation of the mammoth new franchise. While he gives the typical spiel about how much care is going into creating the film and how the screenwriter knows everything about the game (that's what they said about Silent Hill, remember), his comments on the casting prove to be the most interesting. Specifically, CliffyB notes that the man who plays Marcus Fenix should not be someone who is "buff or six foot five," but rather someone who is "charismatic." According to Cliffy, the important part of casting Marcus is that whoever plays him can act. A shocking and innovative idea, we know, but it just might work. Hit the "read" link for the full interview and details on the upcoming movie.

[Via Joystiq. Image credit: ICHB]

Joystiq plays Gears of War PC

Joystiq recently got a chance to try out Gears of War for the PC at DigitalLife. The verdict: it's Gears of War alright. Beyond some necessary changes made to the control scheme for mouse users, the game is essentially the same one we all fell in love with last November. Joystiq does note that the visuals are markedly improved and pulling off headshots is (expectedly) much easier with a mouse. The build at Digital Life has its share of problems and bugs, but such problems should be ironed out in time for the game's release later this year. Hit the "read" link for Joystiq's full hands-on impressions.

Gears (and every other game) gets dethroned by Halo 3

In gaming news that really isn't all that newsworthy and should be filed under the "well, duh!" category is word that Halo 3 tops Major Nelson's most played Xbox Live games list this past week knocking off Gears of War from its long held number one spot. Shocker! But don't feel bad for Gears fellow fanboys, because it's still holding strong nearly a year after its release at its newly acceptable number two position. You had a wicked good ride Gears, but now our new friend Halo 3 is taking the wheel and driving Xbox Live into 2008. And don't worry, we'll still visit you every once and a while.

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