Gears of War 3 beta set for April

Microsoft held a press event in San Francisco today and dropped a few details about the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta.

The beta will begin sometime around mid-April and will include four new maps and three new Versus Multiplayer modes. But Epic Games is leaving the decision of which maps will appear in the beta up to the fans. If you head over to the Gears of War Facebook page, you can vote on which maps you think should be included in the beta. Your choices are:

Overpass: As the Lambent infection spreads across Sera, the planet is quite literally falling apart. And as the substrata beneath this forgotten overpass begins to disintegrate, the entire city block is collapsing along with it and sliding into a vast underground cavern. Head for the high ground or you just might slide along with it.

Battles in this highly dynamic map often focus around the elevated Overpass, where teams can hole up and take advantage of the protected position and emplaced weaponry located there. But gaining the high ground can also be a trap, as the team left below will most assuredly use mortars and orbital lasers to regain their lost footing.

Old Town: Some remote areas of Sera managed to stave off the impact of Emergence for quite some time. Island towns like this one were able to sustain themselves with small farms and a steady supply of needed goods from the ocean. But all good things must come to an end, and eventually they could hide no more.

This is an excellent map for team-based play, with multiple areas that are well suited to both attack and defense scenarios. A well executed plan will often reap great rewards, and an enemy caught unaware can be flushed into a trap like a chicken free of its coop.

Mercy: This area was once a bustling town square filled with people, but it never recovered from the UIR mortar shellings of the Pendulum Wars. Emergence soon followed, and the already heartbroken residents were shown no mercy by Locust forces, leading to an almost immediate evacuation.

This large and open central square is surrounded on all sides by protected passageways and buildings. A raised dais yields powerful weaponry and a view of virtually everything within range, but the power located there must be hard-earned and well protected to provide any lasting advantage.

Trenches: The Locust have begun to carve mines and tunnels into the rocks of the Seran Deadlands, eking out any existence that resembles the underground passages of the Hollow they once called home. But this harsh environment is as relentless and unforgiving as any enemy they’ve ever had to face.

The Locust Trenches are small and tight, with clean lines of sight across virtually the entire battlefield. The central hill leads to a fortified bunker with a strategically important vantage point. Once taken, it is rarely surrendered, unless opposing forces can manage to sneak up under the cover of a passing sandstorm that leaves everyone blind for a short while.

The voting is currently pretty close, so help break the tie before the poll closes on February 28.

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John Scalzo is Warp Zoned's Editor-In-Chief and resident retro gaming expert. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at john AT warpzoned DOT com.

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