Downloadable Content and Updates
On February 20, 2008, coinciding with the game's official announcement at the Game Developers Conference, a free set of gamer pictures and a dashboard theme, as well as a teaser trailer titled "Duel," were made available via the Xbox Live Marketplace. The first footage of gameplay from the campaign, highlighting new features of the game, was released online and to the Marketplace on May 9, 2008. After the Microsoft E3 press conference, the "Rendezvous" trailer and the press conference demonstration was available for download as well as a new free set of gamer pictures and a dashboard theme. Upon release, every new copy of Gears of War 2 features a code to download the "Flashback Map Pack," which includes five enhanced multiplayer maps from the original game. Customers who attended the GameStop Midnight Madness game release event received a code to unlock a gold-plated Hammerburst rifle for use in multiplayer and a code for an exclusive Xbox 360 Dashboard theme optimized for the New Xbox Experience.
The first downloadable content released after Gears of War 2 was the "Combustible Map Pack," which consists of three new multiplayer maps. This add-on was announced and released on December 15, 2008. The second title update was released on January 21, 2009, featuring several adjustments to gameplay and adding additional Achievements, the patch attempts to correct many of the "glitches" that players have discovered since the game's release.
A third update was applied to Gears of War 2 on March 24, 2009. The update added an experience-based ranking system in which the player is given a numerical value based on their amount of experience points, which are gained by shooting or killing enemies in public multiplayer. The update also addressed several issues with matchmaking, including adding bots in place of players who have quit or lost connection to the game. In addition, four new multiplayer maps in the "Snowblind Map Pack" were released the next week.
In early July 2009, Epic Games applied a fourth update to Gears of War 2, which added the ability to gain experience from the multiplayer Horde Mode, as well as applying several more gameplay fixes. On July 28, 2009, the "Dark Corners" add-on was released. This add-on consisted of seven new multiplayer maps, and an additional campaign chapter that was originally deleted from the game. The deleted scene takes place after Maria's death, where the user can choose to either sneak into the stronghold as Theron Guards or charge in as in the original game, though the level is different than the one that appeared in the final game and features a cameo from a Stranded character from the original Gears.
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