By BEN STODDARD
It takes a dedicated fan to line up for more than five hours in the rain for a video game release.
Gears of War 3, exclusive to the Xbox 360, was released at midnight on Sept. 20 to large crowds lining up at stores around the city. More than 50 people waited outside Conestoga Mall’s food court to pick up their copy of the blockbuster title from Gamestop; two fans had been there since 5:30 p.m.
“The thing I’m most excited about is the four-player co-operative story,” Kevin Peters said enthusiastically.
He and Kyle Buehler were first in line to pick up the game.
“I’m also looking forward to the upgraded Horde mode,” he said.
Future Shop at 520 King St. N. in Waterloo had 40 people lined up for the game including Rick Gilliland, who started that line at 8:30. He said he was mostly looking forward to finishing the story.
Looking beyond Waterloo Region, Gears of War 3 had launch parties on Sept. 18 in major cities across Canada including one in downtown Toronto. At the party there they gave away one of seven replicas of the lancer weapon, a machine gun with a chainsaw bayonet from the game. Each lancer replica is worth $1,000. Also at the event were free T-shirts, music and hundreds of big screen TVs where attendees could play the game. A handful of lucky fans were able to try the game in 3D.
Gears of War 3 was the first game in the trilogy to have a public beta, (where fans of the series were able to play multiplayer to help the game’s testing and development process,) which took place for four weeks in May. The beta had 1.29 million players, including Peters and Gilliland. Collectively, all beta participants fired nearly 23 billion bullets and playing 249 years worth of matches.
Gears of War 3 sold over 3 million copies in the first week, making it the fastest selling game in 2011 so far. Gears of War 3 also broke pre-order sales for the system with over one million pre-orders by May 21.
“I loved the concept of the hammerburst’s iron sight,” Peters said while talking about the beta. The hammerburst is a rifle in the series that shoots one bullet at a time with great accuracy. Gilliland preferred the sawed-off shotgun, a new weapon that was introduced in the beta.
Gears of War 3 is the final chapter in the flagship trilogy for the Xbox 360.
The first Gears of War was the first major title for the system, and was the fastest selling game for the system when it was released.
Gears of War 2 went on to sell over two million copies on day one and over six million copies after 10 weeks.
The series takes place on the fictional planet Sera where humanity is fighting a losing war for survival against a race called the locusts.
Gears of War 3 is available in three editions ranging in price from $69.99 to $149.99.