Epic Games put out word on its Friday that the newest piece of the blockbuster franchise will not be on shelves until the holiday season of 2011, not next spring.

It was, the company said, a business decision, not anything forced by technical issues.

"Here’s the statement we just released to the media: ‘Gears of War 3 promises to be the biggest entertainment launch of 2011. The teams at Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games have done great work thus far readying the title for release in the spring of 2011. However, we’ve elected to move the launch of Gears of War 3 until fall 2011 to make it the marquee title for the holiday season,’" the announcement said.

A statement from Executive Producer Rod Fergusson explained, "Rest assured that this is a business decision between partners, and not a quality issue. ‘Gears 3’ was on track to be the most polished ‘Gears of War’ game ever when it released in April, and this additional time allows us to polish it that much more before it hits shelves next fall."

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