It seems like only a couple weeks ago we were noting the retail availability of Epic Games’ Gears of War for the Xbox 360—oh, wait, it was only two weeks ago. Backed by a massive advertising campaign (part of which features oddly juxtaposed game footage—with a giant spider!—with Gary Jules’ quiet cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” from the Donnie Darko soundtrack) Gears of War is undeniably off to a strong start: Epic Games has announced that the title has already sold more than 1 million units worldwide, making it the fastest-selling original Xbox game to date.
What’s more, more than 850,000 unique games have logged over 10 million sessions on Xbox Live, making Gears of War the number one game on the online gaming service and pulling new, paid subscribers into the network—which we know makes Microsoft happy. The number of paid Xbox Live registrations per day has jumped more than 50 percent since Gears of War was launched.
“From the very beginning, we knew Gears of War would be an industry-defining hit,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president at Microsoft Game Studios. “As we watched both the game and its hype grow, it became obvious that Gears of War was the rare title that could live up to such incredible anticipation, and judging from the reaction of critics and fans, it’s done just that.”
Of course, Microsoft will have similar things to say about its own Halo 3 when that reaches Xbox 360 systems in 2007. Nonetheless, Gears of War is earning high marks from game publications, with an overall average review score just under 95 percent as tracked by Game Rankings.
So, action fans: it appears to be okay to slaughter virtual aliens and monsters while listening to downtempo piano ballads. Sensitive, even. Go nuts.