The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. –  As news floats across cyberspace about a new “Gears of War” title from Epic Games, the team at the Cary-based video game company remain sworn to secrecy about specifics.

They won’t event disclose the title ahead of a press conference that is scheduled later today in Los Angeles at the E3 show.

“There is nothing we can send in terms of assets or a press release at this time,” says an Epic spokesperson. “I’m really sorry.”

However, “Gears of War: Judgment” apparently will “betray” millions of Gears followers.

So says Rod Fergusson, director of production at Epic, in an interview with Game Informer magazine, which got the scoop on the new game, which is a prequel to the billion dollar franchise trilogy.

While Epic stays silent, Xbox 460 magazine disclosed some interesting comments from Fergusson in the Game Informer interview.

For example, Gear’s Marcus Fenix, the head hero of Delta Squad in its battles with the Locust Hordes, apparently isn’t around.

“Whenever you a grow franchise there’s a certain lever of betrayal,” Fergusson says. “If you don’t betray the customer a little bit, then it’s not changing enough and people feel like it’s becoming stagnant. But if you betray them too much then you loose them. You’ve always got to keep it fresh. By being outside the Marcus Fenix story, we’re going to have more opportunity to do new things.”

“Epic was very clear that Gears of War 3 was the end of Delta Squad’s story, but Judgement’s prequel has enabled it to transfer existing characters to a new story,” says Xbox 360.

Last week, Game Informer magazine disclosed Epic’s newest game and title as the subject of its cover art for the new July issue. Internet bloggers have filled in more details about the fourth Gears title.

People Can Fly, Gears’ European studio, developed it, according to reports.

Epic is tied to publisher non-disclosure agreements and such, so despite all the publicity, all Epic would tell The Skinny on Sunday was the following:

“Here’s the only thing we can say at the moment …

“Please tune in to the Xbox Media briefing Monday, June 4 to see and hear more about this upcoming title. You can watch the briefing live on Xbox LIVE, and Spike TV (where available) beginning at 12:30pm ET / 9:30a.m. PT on Monday, June 4.

“No additional details are available at this time.”

Obviously, non-disclosure does not apply to Game Informer. Videogame publishers love to leak stories in advance to top magazines and websites in order to generate more buzz in the gaming community. The technique certainly has worked with Judgment.

[EPIC ARCHIVE: Check out a decade of Epic Games stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire by clicking here.]