Sunday, September 18, 2011
Gears of War 3 Toronto Launch Party
At 2:00 pm today, the line up around The Hoxton was literally spilling out onto the street with eager fans anticipating one thing and one thing alone: Gears of War 3. One of the most anticipated games of 2011 and Microsoft Studios' key launch of the year, Gears of War 3 releases this Tuesday, September 20th and Xbox Canada threw not just a party but a concert in its honour.
Those who completed the recent viral campaign and gained V.I.P. access to the event got first dibs on advancing through the crowds, gaining admittance eight at a time. Once inside the venue a themed T-shirt and do-rag were handed out and the gamers were ushered over to several large TV's complete with Gears of War 3 and Gears of War 3 Limited Edition Wireless Controls for a match of local Team Deathmatch.
Now, typicaly I stink at Gears of War Versus, but I was placed on a team with some strong players and we won the match in some great back and forth action. While this was certainly fun, many of us had already experienced Team Deathmatch in last Spring's beta and as I always find with these community events, it's the venue and other attractions that really steal the show.
First off, thanks to the presence of the Gears of War 3 Limited Edition Wireless Controllers, this was actually the first time I got to experience the transforming D-Pad. I was actually so mesmerized by changing it from a plus to a disc to a plus again that I wasn't paying attention when the match was set up, and thus I played as the Locust Queen with a Hammerburst and Gnasher instead of customizing my seat-up. Aside from the fact that, as I already mentioned, we won the match (it was on "Check Out," by the way), I really liked the transforming D-Pad and if something ever happens to my Xbox 360 Halo Reach Wireless Controller I will definitely pick one of these Controllers up.
On to the venue, the lighting was dim and the sounds were loud as TV's everywhere showcased the game, the "Dust to Dust" launch trailer was projected onto a wall, and a stage was all decked out for a surprise band performing later this evening. Crimson omens were everywhere and all the event staff were walking around sporting face paint, wearing Kevlar vests, and carrying actual replica Lancer Assault Rifles that fans could hold and gawk at.
Off to the side, LG had a few 3D TV's set up where the game was being played and players and bystanders alike could put on some 3D glasses and check out Gears of War 3 in three dimensional glory. Personally, I was quite impressed with the depth of field present and how crisp and clean it looked and I also had the pleasure of speaking with their product manager who was on hand. He explained to me how the high refresh rate maintained a strong image quality throughout the entire experience and that any TV sold comes with four pairs of 3D glasses. Sold separately at retailers are also clip-on 3D glasses for gamers like me who already wear prescription lenses, and of course LG's glasses can be used at any theatre showcasing 3D films as well.
Food was also being served, fresh "Locust Meat" carved with cleavers made into pitas for all, and right next to the food stand there was a tattoo artist airbrushing Crimson Omens onto lucky fans. Right next to this at the back of the club in a very poorly lit area a sculpture artist worked with a real chainsaw carving what I believe were foam blocks into more Crimson Omens to further deck the place out.
Regrettably, I could not stay for the concert itself, but performing live right now is none other than Tokyo Police Club themselves, and it's a shame I couldn't stay and see them as this would be the first free concert I recall Xbox Canada ever having done.
Simple, atmospheric, and fun, this was another great community event put together by Xbox Canada and their publicity partners. As always I'd like to thank them very much for having this event and giving back to the great Toronto and Canadian community, and for giving out some cool swag. Tuesday can't come fast enough and I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of Gears of War 3!
- Gears of War 3 T-Shirt
- Gears of War 3 Do-rag
- Package of 2 "AA" Energizer Batteries
- LG 3D Glasses
- Pack of Locust Meat and launch party V.I.P. Ticket (from viral campaign)