The third piece of Gears of War 3 DLC has been announced, detailed, priced, and dated. Titled "Fenix Rising," the new content will feature five new multiplayer maps, four new player skins, three new weapons skins, two turtle doves*, and one brand-spanking-new experience system.
All of the multiplayer maps will be available in the cooperative Horde and Beast modes. Of course, you can play every single map in private cooperative matches against bots, either with a local buddy, or with friends online. The maps are pulled from familiar locations in the campaign. Here's what you can expect from the new battle grounds:
Academy – The lineage of the Fenix family can be traced back along a distinguished line of military officers. Officer training at the Oracle Academy was simply the expected path for Marcus, and he had visited the grounds many times in expectation that he would walk the same path as his ancestors. But it was not to be, and Marcus broke with tradition to be with his best friends Dom and Carlos. Like any number of fine Seran traditions, the Academy is now lost to the invasion of the Locust Horde.
Anvil – The fortress of Anvegad was called Anvil Gate because its impenetrable walls were forged in the fires of war. Huge cannons sat atop battlements that guarded sprawling walls running the line of the UIR borders. Marcus went there to find Hoffman, and they both thought that Anvil Gate would offer protection from the incoming forces of Locust and Lambent. They were wrong, and little remains other than the ruined shell of a once mighty fortress.
Depths – The excessive opulence of Azura defied all normal reasoning. Adam Fenix however could see the cracks in the veneer of splendor from the moment he arrived at this underwater processing center. All that beauty mattered not at all once he was held captive by the Locust. Out of options, he had to find a way to contact Marcus, and finally reveal the truths he’d been keeping to himself for all these many years .
Escalation – Haldane Hall has been the home of the Fenix family for countless generations. But the only history that matters to Marcus are his memories of warm summer evenings spent with his mother, Elain, relaxing in the estate’s gardens. Sadly, all the estate’s history and beauty was lost when the Locust destroyed it in an attempt to kidnap his father.
The Slab – Convicted for insubordination and treason, Marcus was incarcerated in Jacinto Maximum Security Prison. Known as “The Slab”, this prison is not a correctional facility - it’s a place where Sera’s worst offenders are locked up and forgotten. The inmates are brutal, parole is not an option, and the average life expectancy is about two years. But that was before the Locust showed up, and what couldn’t get worse, suddenly did. Now your life expectancy there is around 2 minutes.
The four new multiplayer skins seem a little familiar. I don't know how different the "Limited Editions" will be, but here's hoping for something with a little pizzazz! Maybe some Bedazzled armor, or rhinestones! Hopefully they won't be more dirt-colored characters featuring the same blue or red armor highlights.
Recruit Clayton – Clayton was born a Gear, grew up a Gear, and on the very day he became eligible, he signed himself up to become the capable, confident, and devoted Gear he’d always known he could be.
Thrashball Cole (Limited Edition) – The Cole Train prefers to take the most direct path to the Locust Horde in any situation. What he lacks in finesse, he makes up in raw energy.
Savage Marauder – Locust Marauders were the first to form any sort of organisation outside of the Hollow – if their brutal infighting and bloodthirsty raiding parties could truly be called organised.
Savage Kantus (Limited Edition) – The Savage Kantus were profoundly impacted by the loss of the Hollow. They have reverted to a primal, shamanistic state, and their battle cries have taken a dark, melancholy turn. Few sounds are as terrifying to human ears.
The "Fenix Rising" pack will also include a new tweak to the XP system. Players that reach the 100th level will have the option to "Re-Up" and begin the leveling process again, "...experience and rank will be reset, but all other progression (including TrueSkill rating) will remain intact." Players can do this three times, each time they max out another deployment they will unlock new rank color and a new exclusive weapons skin:
Re-Up Plasma – Animated flowing plasma in gold.
Re-Up Omen – Shiny, red Omen.
Re-Up Electric – Animated, golden electric shocks.
The "Fenix Rising" DLC will be available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on January 17th. It has been priced at 800 MSP.
*There won't be any turtle doves. Sorry.