Epic Games has been driving a pretty intense "don't trade in Gears of War 3" campaign, announcing one upcoming DLC offering after another - each one seemingly playing to the interest of different COG fans around the world. We've already heard about the upcoming "Horde Command Pack" add-on that will arrive in November and discovered that three yet-to-be-released multiplayer maps are already on the game's retail disc.
However, most interesting was talk of actual campaign story DLC that will fill in some of the blanks between the various Gears installments - and today we finally have official details on what players can expect from one (at least) single player add-on. Fans of the Gears of War story, not just slaughtering other players online, should keep a close eye on December 13th - when "RAAM's Shadow" lands on Xbox Live.
Microsoft and Epic Games have officially dropped the first details for the add-on after previously telling gamers that single player DLC:
"Won’t be the graphic novel, but it will have all new campaign content that doesn’t have Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird in it. Expect Barrick and more…”
So what fans expect from the content in the "RAAM's Shadow" add-on?
Starring a cast of characters both new and eerily familiar to the series, “RAAM’s Shadow” will deliver more than three hours of gameplay set in a storyline that precedes the events of the first “Gears of War,” as well as six new multiplayer characters, the Chocolate Weapon Set and an additional 250 Gamerscore. "RAAM’s Shadow” will launch Dec. 13 for 1,200 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE Marketplace."
No doubt many fans have already picked up the Gears of War 3 DLC season pass - and, rest assured, "RAAM's Shadow" will be included as part of the covered offerings. Design Director Cliff Bleszinski was especially enthusiastic about unveiling the single player add-on as part of the package:
"When we announced the ‘Gears 3’ Season Pass, we immediately started getting hundreds of questions from fans about what the game add-ons would be. We’re really excited to be lifting the curtain on the first two releases, first with the ‘Horde Command Pack’ and now with ‘RAAM’s Shadow,’ which gives fans a new perspective on the ‘Gears’ universe and is also the biggest DLC release we’ve ever made.”
What is that "new perspective" that Bleszinski is teasing, Epic has also released a synopsis for the DLC's base-storyline:
“RAAM’s Shadow” drops players into the events of Sera post-Emergence Day, as Zeta Squad is enlisted to evacuate Ilima City and protect the citizens against a Locust Kryll storm. Taking on the infamous Locust leader from “Gears 1,” General RAAM, Zeta is led by Michael Barrick (from “Gears of War” comics fame) and comprised of familiar faces such as Lt. Minh Young Kim (“Gears 1”) and Tai Kaliso (“Gears 2”), and also includes a new female comrade, Alicia Valera. In addition to fighting as a new squad of Gears, players will step into the boots of RAAM himself, and for the first time storm the human stronghold from the perspective of one of the series’ most legendary bosses.
It's somewhat unclear how the two competing storylines will play-out in a single DLC (not to mention with co-op) - as switching sides may be a fun gameplay experience but will, for some players, undercut some of the emotional complexity that was realized in Gears 3 - when they're asked to start slaughtering human characters. Though, Bleszinski seems to think the benefits far outweigh any potential grievances:
“RAAM’s imposing size and strength, along with his Kryll shield, make him one of the most powerful and daunting foes in the ‘Gears’ universe. We think fans are going to have a blast unleashing hell upon the poor humans for the first time in a campaign setting.”
General RAAM is certainly one of the most iconic Gears characters - so it's definitely fitting that the team at Epic is giving the under-utilized Locust baddie another shot in the spotlight. Not to mention, in the craziness of the Holiday gaming season (which is filled with "realistic" FPS shooters), it'll be nice to have an excuse to return for more campaign co-op experiences in the Gears universe.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick
Gears of War 3 is available now on XBox 360.
Gears of War 3: RAAM's Shadow will arrive on December 13th for 1,200 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE Marketplace or included as part of the Gears of War 3 DLC Season Pass.