The Fall gaming season is already underway, and its first uncontested blockbuster is nearly upon us. Gears of War 3 brings Marcus Fenix’s saga to a close just eight short days from today, on September 20, 2011. Epic Games has announced that any players who compete online during the game’s first week of release can unlock golden weapons. What better way to take advantage of the offer than by picking up the game at one of the over 20,000 retailers celebrating the release of Gears of War 3 with midnight launch events?

Headlined by a huge event at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, featuring a live performance from VMA Best New Artist nominee Big Sean, retailers around the world will be throwing open their doors at midnight for the release of Gears of War 3, no doubt to be met by a throng of eager fans clamoring for their Epic and Limited Edition copies of the game.

For those gamers unlucky enough to miss out on the midnight launch, take heart. The Times Square event will be broadcast live on Spike TV’s GameTrailers TV. Scheduled to air September 19th from 11:30 PM to 12:01 AM local U.S. time, viewers can look forward to special guest Aisha Tyler. Attendees, meanwhile, get the first crack at playing Gears 3 before its midnight releases, the opportunity to compete in tournaments for “exclusive prizes,” and a chance to meet with the game’s developers.

Speaking about his soon to be launched game, Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski’s characteristic enthusiasm shines through.

“This is by far the biggest, most polished, and most ambitious game we’ve ever made. I’ve been lucky enough to work on some big games throughout my career, but ‘Gears of War 3’ represents a crowning achievement for our team, and we can’t wait to share it with fans next Tuesday.”

The Gears of War 3 launch is truly a global event, with midnight openings scheduled literally around the world. By no means a complete list of participating stores (U.S. GameStop locations are conspicuously absent), Microsoft has released a run-down of sorts, detailing many of the events. Take a look to see what is happening near you.

United States:

New York: Best Buy Theater, 1515 Broadway (at 44th St.), New York, NY 10036

  • Date & Time: Monday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EDT

Microsoft Stores
Los Angeles: Westfield Century City

  • Giveaways to the first 100 people in line

Bellevue, WA: Bellevue Square Mall

  • Special appearance by Microsoft Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer
  • Giveaways to the first 100 people in line
  • Marcus Fenix statue available for photo opportunities

Additional locations: Scottsdale, AZ; San Diego, CA; Oak Brook, IL; Costa Mesa, CA; Santa Clara, CA; Lone Tree, CO; Houston, TX; Mission Viejo, CA; Atlanta, GA

  • Giveaways to the first 100 people in line

United Kingdom:

GAME Flagship launch at Oxford Street, London

  • Giveaways throughout the evening.
  • Over 400 GAME and gamestation stores nationwide

Mexico:

Blockbuster, Gamers, and Gameplanet will host launch events at over 60 locations in Mexico.

Canada:

Toronto, Bay and Dundas / 65 Dundas Street West,  Toronto, ON, M5G 2C3
Vancouver, Cambie / Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 2T7

  • Beginning at 9:00 p.m.:
  • Horde Mode gameplay experience
  • “Gears of War 3” swag giveaways
  • LG Partnership with 3D gaming
  • Green Screen: take your picture in a “Gears of War 3” scene

Other Canada locations:

  • 94 EB Games/GameStop stores

Singapore

Funan Digitalife Mall – 8pm to 12 midnight.

  • “Gears of War” survivor kit for all Limited Edition game and console pre-order customers; giveaways, demos, and appearances by the Women of Gears.

Australia:

EB Games will host midnight launch events at 73 locations across Australia, including their launch headquarters at MacArthur Square Mall

  • 60 Future Shop
  • 20 Best Buy locations

It’s quite a lineup of events, but then, what else would you expect for the most anticipated game of 2011? Gears of War 3 seems to be everywhere right now, even making an appearance on American Chopper. The Gears 3 soundtrack will be available day and date with the game’s retail release, and the final trailer is available for all to see. All that’s left is to pick up the game next week, and start playing.

Ranters, will you be attending any of the midnight Gears of War 3 launch events? Do you plan to stay up all night playing the game? Let us know in the comments below.

Gears of War 3 releases September 20, 2011, exclusively for the Xbox 360.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken

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