Epic is eager not to repeat the mistakes it made with Gears of War 2.
The idea that a strong multiplayer component is important in making a successful shooter will not be a new concept to most people. Especially not Epic's Cliff Bleszinski, who says that bad multiplayer in Gears of War 3 will kill the franchise dead.
Bleszinksi admitted that the multiplayer in Gears 2 had been rather unimpressive at launch. He felt that over the course of six title updates, Epic had managed to get it into pretty good shape, but said that launching without great multiplayer was a mistake that the studio couldn't afford to make twice. He said that a big part of the reason that Epic was conducting a beta for Gears 3, was so that it could avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
With "beta test" having become almost entirely synonymous with "early demo," it's quite a change of pace to see the Gears 3 beta being an actual test. Hopefully, it will net Epic some useful data, both of what it's getting right, and what it's getting wrong, before the game's release in the fall. The Gears of War 3 beta starts on April 18th for those who bought the Bulletstorm epic edition, and on April 25th for those who have pre-ordered Gears 3 at GameStop, and will run until May 15th. Gears of War 3 comes out for Xbox 360 on September 20th.