At the Microsoft Xbox 360 press conference Monday morning, Cliff Bleszinski came on stage joined by Ice T to demonstrate co-op gameplay in the Gears of War 3 campaign. In it we got our first look at one of two usable mechs in action as they fought alongside it. Today, Cliffy B took us behind closed doors to demo Gears 3‘s campaign which included a sequence where this time, we jumped into one of the mechs during combat and took it for a stroll.

During a battle with the Lambent Leviathan which involves 8 COG characters separated into two teams completing separate objectives simultaneously (read about it here: Gears of War 3 campaign impressions), a part of the boss battle allows two of the four players on one of the teams to jump into a mech battle suit, called the Silverback.

“In the main game there are two mechs available, so player 1 and player 2 can do that while player 3 and player 4 play back-up.”

When in the Silverback, the player can tap A to deploy it, switching its weapons to more powerful rockets instead of the standard machine gun fire. When deployed, the mech can also be used for cover like any other standard object and even while inside of it deployed, the player can use it for cover as well.

“It’s kind of a portable walking tank that you can then take cover on… We’re big on multi-purpose things around here… And then when I deploy I can shoot rockets, so it’s kind of a trade-off. I can be mobile and shoot my gattling gun or I can plant and shoot rockets.”

The use of mechs opens the Gears of War franchise to endless possibilities when it comes to vehicle use and perhaps eventually something more akin to Halo in its abundance of usable ground and air vehicles. Bleszinski explained that the mechs in particular were something they wanted in the series since its inception, and not just as an added gameplay feature but as a core focus of the series.

“The ultimate vision of Gears when we first pitched it years ago was mechs vs. monsters and we’re finally getting to that point where you can actually be in a mech suit taking on a Brumak, but it costs money.”

By costing money, Cliffy B is referring to it being one of the many items in the new and improved Horde 2.0 mode, where in-game currency is earned and spent as up to five players fight off waves of Locusts. The currency can be spent on things like barriers, turrets, decoys and even for unlocking weapons.

Click to enlarge for Silverback concept art:

Gears of War 3 vehicles concept art

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

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes and stay tuned to Game Rant for more news and updates as E3 2011 continues through the week.

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