Gears Of War: Judgment gets a release date

Those of you patiently twiddling your thumbs, hoping against hope that you’ll be able to experience the next Gears Of War title sometime soon now have an end to their silent suffering in sight: According a press release issued this morning, Gears Of War: Judgment hits store shelves on March 19, 2013.

While that’s a short wait in the grand scheme of things, the game is still quite a ways from completion. It was only last month (during E3 to be specific) that Epic Games officially revealed the game’s existence, and we still know very little of the title. Let’s take a look at our preview of the title from this year’s E3:

The game takes place 14 years before the first Gears of War, shortly after the first appearance of the Locust on Emergence Day. The game focuses on the familiar faces of Baird and Cole, who make up part of Kilo Squad. Joined by two new characters—a straight edge elite Onyx Guard and a refuge of the URI—the squad is charged with a litany of crimes, including treason. The game is then told through a series of flashbacks as the trial makes up the framework of the story. But beyond being part of the narrative, this actually becomes an integral piece of the gameplay itself.

Each mission you play through will feature “classified” information that appears as blocked out sections of text or items that can’t be fully seen. To unlock these things you will need to complete certain objectives. These classified segments promise to add to the story as you learn more about what is going on, plus it should increase the replay value.

And speaking of the replay value, that is what makes this game really stand out. Every time you play through Judgment, it will be different and unique. The game will learn your skill level and match itself to your abilities. It will also constantly be changing itself.

Sadly, beyond what was shown at E3 immediately following the game’s official announcement, Epic has decided to play things relatively coy. Aside from the release date and a few snippets of info that we all could have guessed at — Judgment is an Xbox 360 exclusive and will feature a $60 price tag — the only truly novel revelation the email delivers is a description of one of the game’s new maps designed specifically for use in Judgment’s “OverRun” gameplay mode:

Island takes place on an archipelago of islands off the coast of Halvo Bay, which serves as a supply and refueling depot that feeds the larger military machine along the coast.  The individual islands are connected by a series of bridges and tunnels, forming a network of unknown size and security.  This is restricted territory, and civilians are not permitted on, or even near, any of the islands.

On a related note, the email also points out that Gears Of War 3 is currently available for the bargain price of $30 (though Amazon has it listed at $26.19). That’s great news for those hoping to prime themselves for Judgment over the next eight months, though anyone who finds themselves intensely excited by this anemic PR announcement has likely already burned through Gears 3 once, twice or a dozen times.

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