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Gears of War book sighted online

Besides eating and sleeping (and the dreaded "working"), you have to do something between gaming sessions. What better way to utilize this dead space than to read books about video games? If Gears of War is your thing, you're in luck, because It looks like a Gears of War book is in the works. We've found it listed at several retailers, including Wal-Mart. Assuming the listing is correct, the book is being written by game history guru, Steven Kent, most famous to gamers for his book, The Ultimate History of Video Games. Clocking in at 352 pages, the book is slated for an August release from Del Ray. We're assuming the title, Gears of War 1, is only a placeholder (it had better be).

What say you fanboys, are you in for some light summer reading? You know, explosions, eviscerations, that kind of thing.

[Via CVG]

Japanese Gears viral vids are freaky


We may never understand Microsoft's Japanese marketing. "Do! do! do!" was a stretch, but this is just weird. At first glance, the video above appears to be nothing more than one of those self-promoting, vaguely voyeuristic videos you see on YouTube. If you don't speak Japanese -- and perhaps even if you do -- you would have no way of knowing the video is about Gears of War. "Whaaa?" you say, and we understand. The Japanese schoolgirl stereotype is about as far from Gears of War as is Hello Kitty. Still, it's sort of hypnotizing. Watch the video above (it's actually worth it) and then check out the next video after the break.

Continue reading Japanese Gears viral vids are freaky

Pity the fool who doesn't like the Cog Team


Falling under the "why didn't I think of that?" category comes this video of "The Cog Team," an A-Team spoof using Gears of War. You don't have to be a fan of the show to appreciate the campy TV cliches, right up to the freeze frame ending (which is priceless, by the way). Though it was likely unintentional, this video also displays that Gears of War has some memorable characters (even if the story itself was a bit thin). Also worth noting, Augustus "Cole-Train" Cole makes a damned fine replacement for Mr. T, but don't go telling Mr. T we said that.

Now if someone would just make a Crackdown version of the Miami Vice intro, we'd be in business.

Watch UTIII, new vehicle info


It was revealed last week that Unreal Tournament 2007, under the new moniker, Unreal Tournament III, is indeed headed to the Xbox 360. Most of us were expecting it, but it's still nice to hear. Many of you probably saw the trailer, but we thought it would be best to post it here now that it is available on GameTrailers. We know how our readers just hate to click links that direct them away from us, so we're proud to offer the trailer embedded neatly into this post. If, however, you are feeling adventurous, you can click this link to download the trailer in high definition. If you stream it to your Xbox 360, you can pretend like you're actually playing it! Not that we ever do that. Because we're much to cool to play pretend anymore, even with our Halo action figures.

If UTIII in high def goodness isn't enough for you, some new vehicle info has been revealed as well. IGN had a chance to play the game and try out some of the new Necrid vehicles. The Viper is a speed vehicle that has the ability to jump and self-destruct. The Nemesis is a tank with three different modes of operation, each offering different speeds and firing capabilities. Finally, the Dark Walker is a huge walking tripod that rains death and destruction upon enemy vehicles.

UTIII
is expected in the second half of 2007.

Say konnichiwa to Japanese Gears of War


So, Gears of War is apparently (and surprisingly) selling very well in the land of the rising sun. It seems that something about Gears of War has penetrated the cultural barrier and has made an impact. Of course, thanks must go to the localization team that hired new voice actors to dub all of the lines in Japanese. Many will recall that some games never see proper localization in other countries, lowering their appeal to prospective buyers (though occasionally making for some cheap, region free imports). The Japanese version of Gears (see above video) seems to have been done fairly well. The actors sound good, and the characters' lips are even properly synced with the Japanese dialog. Now let's just see if Gears manages to outsell Blue Dragon.

Check out the "read" link for more videos.

Gears update is nothing special


Many of our readers noticed the mysterious Gears of War update yesterday. We spent the day trying to find out what it fixed to no avail. So, we did what we usually do, we slept. Upon waking, a tip from a helpful reader was waiting in our inbox. Epic's Mark Rein has spoken, and it was merely a compatibility update (most likely to coincide with the Japanese release of the game). So there you have it folks, no nerfed weapons, no bug fixes, just more compatibility. Now that that's out of the way, maybe we can start talking about some real changes.

[Thanks, Dustin Schau]

GOW VGA fix makes VGA worse


Reports are coming in from several 360 Fanboy readers that the VGA fix implemented by the recent Gears of War patch has actually made things worse. It seems the aspect ratio fix was to downgrade the resolution to the lowest possible setting (640 X 480). The result is an ugly, pixelated image. Not only that, but other strange errors have been introduced. In some cases, the field of view is reduced, others report that the score display at the end of a round has errors (note the overlapping numbers and letters in the image above). Of course, the worst part about all this is that the patch was automatic, so there is no way to change it back. Many readers have already told us they preferred a squished high definition picture to a jaggy, washed out mess.

How many of our readers suffer from this "fix?" Leave a comment and let your voice be heard. Don't forget to make your thoughts known at the official Gears forums, too.

GOW map pack impressions


We spent the last hour or so messing around on the new Gears of War maps, and now we're ready to give you the lowdown. First, Raven Down. Raven Down is a tiny map. The teams start in all four corners of the X shaped map. This map is sort of strange, as each team is split in two, with each pair spawning at different ends of the map. In other words, watch the friendly fire. As noted above, the map is positively minuscule. Most of the games we played devolved into shotgun and grenade warfare -- grenades, by the way, are the only extra weapon on the map. It's possible to play the map using the cover available, but it never happened in the games we played. Matches on Raven Down rarely lasted more than 2 minutes.


Old Bones is almost the opposite of Raven Down. It's a fairly large map that is very well suited to the stop and pop nature of Gears. The map and spawn points are basically symmetrical. You have two options from the beginning, you can go for the sniper, or you can go for the grenades and the boomshot. Matches on Old Bones can start fast or slow, depending on which way each team decides to go. If both teams make the same choice, the action will start pretty quick. It's pretty fun when both teams go for the grenades and start lobbing them through the doorway. There are plenty of places for a sniper to hide and also many opportunities for rush tactics. Old Bones is quickly becoming one of our favorites.

Overall, they're good maps for two completely different kinds of gameplay. Check 'em both out and tell us what you think.

GOW maps are live (so is Ms. Pac-Man) [update 1]


The Gears of War map pack is now available (as if Gears fanboys didn't already know). We've detailed the two new maps -- Raven Down and Old Bones -- already, but we'll be taking them for a test spin today and letting you know what's what. Also available is a special GOW map pack theme and an introductory video from Epic's boy wonder, CliffyB. So, download the maps, look for us online, and help us test these suckers out!

Oh yeah, there's some game out for Live Arcade as well. Ms. Porc-Chop or something ....

Update: Added the introductory video with CliffyB. Thanks to rivithed from Gaming Bits for spotting it.

Gears of War patch is live

The controversial patch for Gears of War is now live. Players will be prompted to download the update next time they play Gears of War. We hopped into a lobby to see the much talked about host removal, and sure enough, all the host names have been replaced with "host." For a complete list of changes, see our previous post.

While we understand the need to combat cheating, we also understand the desire for people to play with their friends. It's been beaten to death, but the fact that Gears shipped without a party system -- especially in the wake of Halo 2 -- was a mistake. This patch may serve as a temporary fix to team stacking and cheating, but Epic needs to announce its plans to incorporate team play (or officially announce that they won't) before they are devoured by an angry, chainsaw wielding mob.

[Thanks, everyone]

GOW patches rough spots, host name removed [update 1]

Update: The patch is now available. Details here.

The revelation of new maps and a patch for Gears of War is great news indeed, and now we bring you a precise list of the upcoming changes to GOW multiplayer. Our maniacal commanders at Joystiq discovered the list, and we have unceremoniously ripped it from their digital pages. Notable changes include fixes for the voice bug, a grenade tag distance reduction, a VGA fix, and removing the host name from ranked matches.

  • Fixed aspect ratio distortion when using VGA cable with 4:3 displays at resolutions higher than 640x480
  • Fixed voice issue with new players joining Player Match games in progress
  • Players can now get the Achievement for "Dish Best Served Cold" when using Troika turret to kill RAAM
  • Fixed rare situation where host could loop countdown and never start match
  • Fixed rare situation where players could get stuck after chainsawing in multiplayer
  • Reduced Grenade Tag melee distance
  • Enabled "Strict" NAT check on host to prevent possible connection issues
  • Optimized server browser queries to return results more quickly and prevent scroll bars from hiding quality of service icons
  • Reduced number of possible revives in Execution to match Warzone
  • Removed host name from Ranked match server browser
  • Disabled security cameras in Ranked matches
  • Ranked matches now require balanced teams (3v3 or 4v4)
  • Increased penalty for quitting a Ranked match to -50 points
  • Added additional cheat detection code
  • Additional housekeeping updates
The most controversial of the changes is no doubt the removal of the host's name from ranked matches. While the host name can be used to locate friends in a ranked match, it is also used for team stacking and other nefarious activities.

[Via Joystiq]

Video: 5 player team in GOW?


360 Fanboy reader, Mitochondria, sent in this video of a 5 player team in Gears of War. While there are definitely 5 Locusts in the video, the end of game statistics still only account for 4 players (stop the video between rounds to see for yourself). Also curious, there are only 3 COG players, making the total amount still equal the usual 8. It seems the glitch was uncovered by a last minute team change in the lobby screen. The group fails to recreate the glitch at the end of the video. If this could be consistently recreated in ranked matches, we might just have another bug for Epic to fix.

Has this ever happened to you?

[Thanks, Mitochondria]

GOW presents: exploding toilet man

We found this toilet themed Gears of War video on Joystiq and were immediately faced with a conundrum. You see, those fancy lads at Playing Halo Today found a dead man on a toilet in Gears of War. So, do we expound on the effort it must have taken for crafty -- perhaps bored -- gamers to find this secret? Or, do we simply jump straight to toilet humor? We mulled it over for a good long while, and we're happy to say that we made the obvious choice, the right choice. Watch the video after the break.

Continue reading GOW presents: exploding toilet man

Gears named 3rd most important game of '06


Gamasutra recently sent a request to its readers from the game industry, asking them to name the games that created a true "quantum leap" in game design this year. Sandwiched in between critical darlings, Okami and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, was Epic's Gears of War in the number 3 spot on the list. Each game on the list is supplemented with a paragraph or two contributed by Gamasutra readers and industry professionals. The achievements of Gears of War are nicely summarized by Game Developer Magazine's Brandon Sheffield, who notes the amazing graphics (of course) and cover-based gameplay. In particular, we share his sentiments about GOW's co-op: "I'm personally most fond of the game's cooperative play – the most fully-realized truly cooperative action experience in games since the days of 2D beat 'em ups – Double Dragon and their ilk." We were also reminded of 2D co-op games of yore (Contra, in this case).

Congratulations, Gears of War. The industry likes you. They really like you! Props also to Dead Rising for receiving an honorable mention. What game provided this year's greatest "quantum leap" in your opinion?

GOW kids: 2 million strong ... and growing

The unstoppable force that is Gears of War just keeps on being unstoppable. Microsoft announced today that the game has now topped worldwide sales of 2 million units. Keep in mind, this is 2 million copies sold in only six weeks of availability. Damn. Microsoft, naturally, is very happy with the development, and is quick to point out some more impressive numbers. Gears of War has seen over 1 million unique users on Live, playing a combined 10 million online games, and unlocking 7 million achievements. Okay, it's official: if the 360 has a killer app, Gears of War is it.

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