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After the epic conclusion that Epic Games presented with Gears of War 3, the developer hands the reins over to People Can Fly for a new installment: Gears of War Judgment for the Xbox 360, the series’ fourth installment. The events in this iteration will act as a prequel, predating the events told in the previous trilogy and featuring neither the iconic Marcus Fenix nor Dominic Santiago.

Perhaps the most significant change to come in the latest Gears of War title is the new Smart Spawn System, which former designer Cliff Bleszinski explained will spawn different enemies depending on the way the player is going through the level, allowing every person who plays Judgment to experience something different. Additionally, the new system prevents the same repeating scenario after a player dies and respawns; it directs the AI to use different strategies every time to keep the player on his toes instead of memorizing predictable behavior.

People Can Fly also paid special attention to the multiplayer in this upcoming title as well. Special attention has been given to the maps so that they can accommodate all game modes; at the same time, the maps are a bit smaller than usual, forcing players into the action quicker to make for more firefights and less downtime.

Veteran players will find relief in the simplified controls—don’t worry, Epic hasn’t touched the Active Reload function—as the Y button now switches weapons while the LB button flings the grenades, rendering the directional pad useless. This added flexibility allows those who play other competitive shooters a welcome opportunity to join in on the action in Gears of War: Judgment thanks to the standardized controls.

Finally, Overrun is a new multiplayer game mode where COG members and Locust must go head-to-head in competitive battles. It’s reminiscent of Beast Mode but with added class customization and a faster gameplay pace.

Gears of War: Judgment will hit stores on March 19, 2013: a pleasant Spring change to the usual Fall releases of past Gears of War games. With all the added changes and useful controller remapping, Judgment is certain to be a hit just like its predecessors.

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