“Gears of War,” the cutting-edge videogame created by Epic Games of Cary for Microsoft, is apparently going to be turned into a trilogy.

Jeff Bell corporate vice president for global marketing for interactive entertainment at Microsoft, told Game Daily that plans are to turn Gears of War into a franchise similar to its hugely popular “Halo” franchise.

Gears of War was launched earlier this month just ahead of the launch of new game platforms from Sony and Nintendo. It is Microsoft’s lead game product for the Xbox 360 platform entering the holiday season, and game reviewers as well as gamers are raving about the intense man vs. locust horde war.

In two weeks of general release, Gears of War has sold more than 2 million copies, according to John Gaudiosi, who writes for several publications about the gaming industry, including WRAL.com.

"Gears of War is a popular culture phenomenon in the making," Bell told Game Daily. "Our launch creative drives interested consumers to our website. Over 250,000 people have viewed the ad on YouTube, and there are dozens of versions which users have created and shared.”
Microsoft is featuring the game heavily in an advertising campaign. When discussing the ads and game hero Marcus Fenix, Bell said: “The goal of this ad is to establish Marcus Fenix as the hero of the Gears of War trilogy. The intention is to create emotional connection with him that is lacking in typical third-person action title marketing, by communicating a sense of desperation, loneliness, overwhelming odds, and the ultimate futility of the situation he faces."

Bell described some fans as “fanatical”. That craze can be documented by sales figures.

“It’s the fastest-selling next generation game this year,” Gaudiosi wrote in his game blog at WRAL.com. “The game also nudged aside "Halo 2" to become the most popular online game on Xbox Live. And people are also buying Xbox 360s to play the game or jumping online for the first time because of it, as Xbox Live Gold membership purchases are up 50 percent since the game launched.”

Games of War retains at $59.95. It also can be played online.

Mark Rein, Epic’s vice president, has said Gears of War cost some $10 million to create.

Epic has not discussed plans for future Gears of War versions, but in recent blog posts Rein indicated the company is open to further development.

"Gears is a trilogy? If we can keep making quality games that fans obviously then why would we have to stop at three? I don’t see the Metal Gear Solid, Mario, Grand Theft Auto or Final Fantasy series (among others) stopping at three and they’re still delivering compelling entertainment content that’s easily worth the money (see Unreal Tournament as well)," he wrote. "There’s definitely, as many of you have pointed out, a lot more to learn about what’s really happening on the plant Sera and in the lives of the members of Delta Squad."

However, the immediate focus remains of the first version, Rein added.

"In the mean time we’re working hard to support Gears of War (the first one) and come up with some great enhancements you’ll hopefully see before too long. We’re not ready to provide any details yet but I assure you we’re on the job," he wrote.