If you didn't get your very own gold-plated murder machine during the Gears of War 3 beta back in April, we've got good news – which is, uh, that you'll still be able to do that. The US Air Force is sponsoring "Gears of War 3 Golden Wings Week" for next week's Gears 3 launch, and players who go online to share their chainsaw-powered love with other Gears players between September 20 - 26 will unlock the Golden Lancer and Golden Hammerburst weapon skins.

While these don't actually do anything (other than make you a more obvious target, possibly), they are a great way to let people know you were playing the game before they were. Unless you weren't, in which case, let the bonding begin!

Of course, you can get even more bonding in via the real-world, real-big Gears of War 3 launch event at the Times Square Best Buy in New York on September 19th, which comes complete with its own real-live Cliff Bleszinski. Or, we guess you could just watch the live broadcast on Gametrailers TV with host Aisha Tyler, or go to one of the more pedestrian midnight releases. You know. If you're boring.
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"Gears of War 3" Midnight Launch Plans Revealed as Fans Prepare for the Arrival of 2011's Most Anticipated Blockbuster
More than 20,000 midnight launch celebrations to kick off worldwide next week, including a performance by VMA Best New Artist Nominee, Big Sean at the Best Buy Theater in New York's Times Square

REDMOND, Wash. - Sept. 12, 2011 - The countdown has begun. Impact is just one week away for the most anticipated blockbuster of 2011, "Gears of War 3." Launching Sept. 20 worldwide, the fastest pre-selling Xbox exclusive in history is poised to become the year's biggest game launch to date and one of the top entertainment premieres of 2011.

Hailed by fans and critics as this year's must-have entertainment experience, "Gears of War 3" is poised to ignite the 2011 holiday season and deliver an epic finale to one of the most celebrated sagas in gaming. Today, Microsoft and Epic Games announced that around the globe, more than 20,000 retail locations will open their doors at midnight on Sept. 20 to millions of fans eagerly awaiting the game's highly anticipated release.

"This is by far the biggest, most polished, and most ambitious game we've ever made," said Epic's design director Cliff Bleszinski. "I've been lucky enough to work on some big games throughout my career, but 'Gears of War 3' represents a crowning achievement for our team, and we can't wait to share it with fans next Tuesday."

In the U.S., launch celebrations will kick off in New York City at a marquee event at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, to be broadcast live during a special episode of GameTrailers TV featuring special guest Aisha Tyler, and airing from 11:30 p.m. – 12:01 a.m. local U.S. time on Spike TV. Attendees will be among the first to play "Gears of War 3" before it hits retail shelves at midnight, compete in tournaments for exclusive prizes, meet the game's developers, and see an exclusive concert in the Best Buy Theater featuring VMA Best New Artist nominee, Big Sean. Fans in the New York area will also be able to participate in a scavenger hunt to secure VIP access to the event and win coveted "Gears of War 3" swag, including Limited and Epic editions, and more. Check www.gearsofwar.com later this week for scavenger hunt details.

"Game launches like 'Gears of War 3' represent the type of event that happens a couple of times each year that brings out fans in masses to celebrate," said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of the home entertainment group at Best Buy. "We're thrilled to partner with Microsoft to host a launch celebration at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square, and we're committed to making it an unforgettable event for the fans."

Culminating from a sweepstakes contest launched at San Diego Comic-Con in July, one lucky fan will have a chance to meet "American Chopper's" legendary designer Paul Jr. at the New York City launch event and need to make extra room in his or her garage to accommodate a custom "Gears of War 3" chopper built by Paul's team. The two-part series on the making of the "Gears of War 3" chopper that debuted at Comic-Con premieres tonight, Monday, Sept. 12 on Discovery, and concludes with the final episode on Monday, Sept. 19.

Follow the latest updates on the Best Buy Theater "Gears of War 3" launch activities on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=283449481671786.

Global Midnight Launch Events

More than 20,000 retail locations around the world, including 13 Microsoft Stores in the US, will mark the launch of "Gears of War 3" with midnight launch events in cities around the globe. The marquee launch events will be held at the following venues:

United States:
· New York: Best Buy Theater, 1515 Broadway (at 44th St.), New York, NY 10036
o Date & Time: Monday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. EDT
· Microsoft Stores
o Los Angeles: Westfield Century City
§ Giveaways to the first 100 people in line
o Bellevue, WA: Bellevue Square Mall
§ Special appearance by Microsoft Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer
§ Giveaways to the first 100 people in line
§ Marcus Fenix statue available for photo opportunities
o Additional locations: Scottsdale, AZ; San Diego, CA; Oak Brook, IL; Costa Mesa, CA; Santa Clara, CA; Lone Tree, CO; Houston, TX; Mission Viejo, CA; Atlanta, GA
§ Giveaways to the first 100 people in line
o For more information on Microsoft Stores, visit: www.microsoftstore.com

United Kingdom:
· GAME Flagship launch at Oxford Street, London
o Giveaways throughout the evening.
· Over 400 GAME and gamestation stores nationwide

Mexico:
· Blockbuster, Gamers, and Gameplanet will host launch events at over 60 locations in Mexico.

Canada
· Toronto, Bay and Dundas / 65 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C3
· Vancouver, Cambie / Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 2T7
o Beginning at 9:00 p.m.:
§ Horde Mode gameplay experience
§ "Gears of War 3" swag giveaways
§ LG Partnership with 3D gaming
§ Green Screen: take your picture in a "Gears of War 3" scene
Other Canada locations:
· 94 EB Games/GameStop stores
· 20 Best Buy locations
· 60 Future Shop

Singapore
· Funan Digitalife Mall - 8pm to 12 midnight.
o "Gears of War" survivor kit for all Limited Edition game and console pre-order customers; giveaways, demos, and appearances by the Women of Gears.

Australia:
· EB Games
o EB Games will host midnight launch events at 73 locations across Australia, including their launch headquarters at MacArthur Square Mall

Delta Squad Invades Xbox LIVE on Sept. 20 with "Golden Wings Week"

To celebrate the blockbuster's highly anticipated release, Microsoft is partnering with the US Air Force for "Gears of War 3 Golden Wings Week." Play any match on Xbox LIVE from Sept. 20-26 to unlock the Golden Lancer and Golden Hammerburst multiplayer weapon skins. In addition, gamers can discover Epic Games' gameplay secrets in brand-new installments of the "Insider Moves" video series, and challenge them on Xbox LIVE in a series of Game with Developer events.

Developed exclusively for Xbox 360, "Gears of War 3" launches worldwide on Sept. 20, 2011 (Japan on Sept. 22), and is available for preorder in three distinct editions – Standard ($59.99 USD), Limited ($79.99) and Epic ($149.99). For additional details on the game, please visit: gearsofwar.xbox.com.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.