RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — “Gears of War 2” is likely to make its premier at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Confirmation that Cary-based Epic Games is developing the game for Microsoft is expected to be announced during a presentation by Microsoft’s gaming unit in the next 24 hours, a source who is at the GDC told The Skinny.

That Epic has been considering the sequel to the 2006 megahit for the Xbox 360 platform has been a poorly held secret. Details about the game that pits man against a locust horde have been scarce, however.

GamePro magazine reported in its new issue that a "Gears 2" announcement was due. However, Epic spokesperson Dana Cowley told The Skinny before heading west that the magazine article was speculative.

The original "Gears" sold more than 4 million copies and later was released for PCs. In addition to being the first megahit for the Xbox 360 platform, "Gears" turned into an entertainment franchise. A movie to be made by Peter Jackson – the brains behind the Lord of Rings movies – is in the works. So too are action figures and books.

According to some other advance information, a comic book/graphic novel project also is under way.

Epic sent a team of nearly 20 people to man a booth right next to Microsoft at the GDC. As we noted Monday, GamePro has speculated that Microsoft might scoop up privately held Epic this year. The company continues to announce deals for its Unreal 3 game development engine, and recurring revenue from those licensing deals makes Epic a more attractive target than if it solely developed games.