Earlier this morning, I posted a link to a new trailer for the Annex gameplay mode in the upcoming Gears of War update. I have just done so again. But there’s even more information to whet your appetite for destruction. We have received a full press release detailing the gameplay of the new multiplayer mode — which follows a familiar "command post" style of battling over strategic locations — as well as a list of the other, more esoteric changes included in the update.

Also, to clarify things a bit, this update will be free — eventually. There was some concern over a difference of opinion between developer Epic and publisher Microsoft regarding the price point for this update. Essentially, the publicized details were that Epic wanted the update to be free, while Microsoft wanted there to be a small charge attached to the download. The current plan seems to be this: the new gametype will carry a small charge right out of the gate, but eventually graduate down to a free download after some length of time has elapsed, similar to how Halo 2 map updates are released.

The full release is below, including date of drop.

Don’t let the lull in gunfire and grenades fool you. “Gears of War ®”, rated M for Mature, is readying its next deadly onslaught with an upcoming title update, currently set to siege Xbox LIVE on April 9 at 4:00 p.m. PDT. In addition to the small-arms fire of a few impactful adjustments to the title’s multiplayer battles, the “Gears of War” title update will deliver an explosive and game-changing new multiplayer mode known as Annex.

In Annex, gamers seize victory by keeping control over key map locations, or objectives, long enough to collect a winning number of points. Every map contains two to five identified objectives available for capture, with one objective active at a time. Objectives are based on map weapon-spawn locations and have a potential value of 60 points toward either team’s score. Teams collect those points by maintaining ownership of an objective until all 60 points have been distributed. Every second that a team controls an objective, the team gets one point. When an objective falls to zero points, the next objective is selected at random.

COG soldiers and the Locust Horde alike can visit for further details.

And while defending their objectives against the onslaught of Xbox LIVE opponents, gamers may notice the following minor adjustments to “Gears of War”:

  • VGA Cable Support: Monitor resolution widths greater than or equal to 1280 now render as letterbox. In particular VGA users running at 1280×1024 will now see the game in full 720p (1280×720) resolution in letterboxed form.
  • Adjusted Assassination Multiplayer Gametype: Leader no longer has to unlock weapons and now has to be executed to die.
  • Adjusted Boomshot: Splash damage to be more effective rendering targets down-but-not-out
  • Adjusted Hammer of Dawn: Aiming will be more forgiving of moving targets
  • Adjusted Roadie Run: Reduced frequency of accidently grabbing cover while running
  • Kill Message Ticker: Ticker can now be seen while down-but-not-out and spectating
  • General: Addressed a number of possible exploits in multiplayer

Grab your grenades and ready your rifles as “Gears of War” improves its aim and prepares to continue the battle!