Editor’s note: John Gaudiosi covers the interactive game industry for numerous publications. He also writes the Gaming Guru blog for WRAL.com.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — For the second year in a row, Microsoft turned to Epic Games’ Cliff Bleszinski and his creation, Gears of War, to take center stage at the E3 game show event on Tuesday night.

After the Xbox 360 exclusive sold over 3 million copies last year and became the best-selling game on the console, Microsoft has enlisted Epic, which is based in Raleigh, N.C., to bring a new enhanced version of Gears of War to Games for Windows.

Bleszinski, who is always comfortable in the spotlight, took the stage and played an exclusive new level in the game on PC. He battled a new hulking monster boss that previously was not interactive in the Xbox 360 game.

“We have five new single-player chapters in the game as well as new multiplayer modes and arenas,” said Bleszinski.

Bleszinski said the past year has been an amazing ride as Gears of War shot to the top of the sales charts and became the number one game on Xbox Live. The new PC game will allow players to take part in online cooperative play, which was one of the big selling points of the Xbox 360 game.

Moore said Gears of War will make its PC debut this fall and Games for Windows Live will allow PC gamers to play against Xbox 360 users in Epic Games’ sci-fi action title.

Peter Moore, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business, Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft, said Epic Games is supporting Games for Windows Live, which means Xbox 360 players will be able to take on PC gamers in the multiplayer.

In addition, Epic is adding Games for Windows Live support into its Unreal Engine 3 to allow other publishers to create games that will bring Xbox 360 and PC games even closer together.

Gears of War will ship for Windows XP and Vista this holiday. Moore said that over 10 million gamers now have Vista and that Microsoft will be pushing the new gaming-friendly format moving forward. Gears of War, like the recently released Halo 2 on PC, will be a big part of Microsoft’s push—once again putting Epic Games at the center of Microsoft’s marketing and focus.

While this year will be all about Halo 3 on Xbox 360, Epic Games’ Gears of War will remain a huge property for Microsoft. While no sequel was officially announced, the Epic Games team will bring this new PC Gears of War to gamers this fall.