The countdown to Gears of War 3 has less than three weeks left on the ticker (no not that kind of Ticker) and leading up to the release, Epic Games has released one of the most impressive pre-rendered trailers to date.

The success of the Gears of War franchise started out strong with the oft-revered “Mad World” trailer and the studio’s final piece of marketing, entitled “Dust to Dust” manages to capture the same emotional complexity – but with a much larger scale that stands in contrast to the series’ roots.

No doubt fans of the franchise, who have been following Gears of War 3 since the first announcement trailer “Ashes to Ashes” was unveiled back in 2010, will recognize that the title of the most recent trailer “Dust to Dust” serves as a clever bookend to the game’s marketing campaign.

However, where “Ashes to Ashes” focused mostly on the characters behind the now familiar “Brothers to the End” mantra, “Dust to Dust” opens up the scope to showcase that Epic isn’t just talking about “The End” of the GOG forces, “The End” of the world also appears to be at-hand.

Check out the Gears of War 3 “Dust to Dust” trailer below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5AVJXw–IQ

We’ve known for some time that Gears of War 3 would introduce the Lambent, a threat far more dangerous than the Locust enemy that has become synonymous with the Gears franchise; however, seeing the scope of the battle portrayed in the trailer is especially exciting.

From a basic gameplay design perspective, it’s great that the team at Epic Games is going to offer-up a new enemy that requires a more strategic approach to gameplay – but, even more exciting, is the enormous set-pieces that the trailer teases – where players will engage in a three-point battle – offering plenty of dynamic gameplay opportunities as enemies not only attempt to kill you but react to external threats to their own wellbeing. As a result, a chaotic battlefield is one more tool at the disposal of smart players who know just when to make a move – and turn the tide.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick.

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

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