Gears of War 3 was never meant to release on PlayStation 3, but thanks to Epic Games’ internal testing and a data breach, that version is a reality.
The remnants of an experimental PlayStation 3 port of Gears of War 3 has popped up online thanks to Twitter user PixelButts. It is strange to think of the Xbox exclusive franchise appearing on a Sony console, but many don’t remember that Epic was not tied down with Microsoft like Bungie was when it developed Halo. Following the end of the Gears trilogy, the company was looking towards a multiplatform future that would come to fruition with the world-dominating megahit Fortnite.
PixelButts had previously confirmed the existence of this prototype last year with footage of Gears of War 3 running on PlayStation hardware. At the time, an Epic Games spokesperson confirmed that the game was part of an Unreal Engine testing process and that Gears was never meant to land anywhere but Microsoft’s console. Despite that, the mere existence of this build of the game ignited fan speculation and excitement on what secrets could await deep within the code.
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Even so, this test version of Gears 3 has circulated around the Internet’s usual places and now lands in the hands of the public for investigative and archival purposes. PixelButts has already tested the game with the latest version of PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 but reports that it won’t play past the initial title screen. Emulation for the PS3 generation is getting better all the time, so it’s possible that it could work in the future, but it will take a lot of modifying and effort to get the Gears of War 3 PlayStation 3 port running at the current moment.
It’s the 10th anniversary of the Gears of War 3 PS3 data being built, so to celebrate I’m releasing it.
I no longer plan to release prototype game stuff after this, as this was the last one I was sitting on.https://t.co/Tg5TS1mzN2
— PixelButts (@PixelButts) May 19, 2021
PixelButts chose May 19th to release the prototype, as it’s the ten-year anniversary of its development. The Gears of War 3 PlayStation 3 port has been uploaded to the Internet Archive, a massive database of digital content of all stripes. As noted on the entry for the game, players who wish to get it running themselves will need a PlayStation 3 devkit, as normal units don’t have the RAM required to make it perform at an acceptable level.
Considering how cloak and dagger video game development can be, it’s always interesting to get a peek into these sorts of test builds. It’s unfortunate when this data becomes available in an incomplete state due to a data breach as is the case here, but there’s still much to learn from inspecting the code and seeing how the game reacts differently to Sony’s hardware over Microsoft’s. This is especially true in the Xbox 360 generation, as the PlayStation 3 (arguably the worst of all five PlayStation generations) has such a different architecture when compared to everything else on the market back then.
The existence of this Gears of War 3 build on PlayStation 3 may not even be as notable as it was when it first started to leak several years back. In the current age, it’s the rare game that remains a console exclusive for long. Even first-party publishers are starting to put games on PC, recognizing the value in expanding the audience rather than trapping customers in closed marketplaces. In much the same way as Sonic the Hedgehog‘s first appearance on PlayStation 2 likely blew people away, it’s a neat thing specifically to the people who lived through it. To everyone else, it’s just another marker of time gone by.
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