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New ‘Gears of War’ game confirmed

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A new Gears of War (Credit: Game Informer)

Less than nine months after Gears of War 3 hit store shelves, the next installment of the series is set to make its debut.

Microsoft and Epic Games will formally reveal the next Gears of War on Monday, June 4th, during Microsoft's annual E3 press conference. The big question is: What system is it for?

Game Informer, which will feature the title in its August issue and teased fans with an advance look at the magazine's cover on Thursday, says the game is coming to the Xbox 360. But it doesn't say when.

If Microsoft has a rabbit up its hat -- and plans to release the game this year alongside fellow blockbuster-to-be Halo 4 -- the Xbox 360 would make perfect sense. But if it's a 2013 release, that coincides with when many expect Microsoft to launch its next-generation system.

It's entirely possibly, of course, that the new Gears would have versions for both the 360 and whatever comes next. We'll know more Monday. To add to that particular conspiracy theory, Game Informer said it will reveal two covers for the game on Monday — and will also have a report on Unreal Engine 4, which is expected to lead the charge in next-generation gaming tech.

One other note: Epic Games, who creates both Gears of War and the Unreal game engine, likes to showcase its new game engines with triple-A games. Gears would certainly qualify.

As for the game itself, there are plenty of mysteries there, too. Is it a prequel to the Gears saga? A sequel? And who, exactly, is being led away in handcuffs on the Game Informer cover? (The current odds-on favorite is series star Marcus Fenix, who was imprisoned prior to the events of the first three game after abandoning his post in an unsuccessful attempt to save his father.)

Gears of War is one of the Xbox's most powerful franchises, having grossed over $1 billion in sales. Last year's Gears of War 3 was a phenomenal hit, selling more than 3 million copies during its first week.

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