Gears 3 beta begins April 25

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Microsoft sent word today that the multiplayer beta for Gears of War 3 will be available for pre-orderers on April 25. Owners of the Bulletstorm Epic Edition will get in a week early on April 18. The beta ends for everyone on May 15.

Players can also earn unlocks that will carry over into the main game. Apparently exclusive to Bulletstorm players, the Flaming Hammerburst is rewarded for finishing a match by April 24. A Flaming Lancer is available to those who finish a match the week of April 25, followed by a Flaming Sawed-Off Shotgun the week of May 2, and a Flaming Gnasher Shotgun the week of May 9.

Playing any match gets you the Beta Tester Medal for your Gears 3 profile. Finishing 50 matches unlocks Thrashball Cole in the beta; completing 10 beta matches in that skin and you can keep it for the main game. By far the hardest reward to snag is the Gold-Plated Retro Lancer. You have to play 90 matches to unlock it, then score 100 kills using it in the beta to keep it for the final game.

The announcement also mentioned the tiered prices for the game's various editions: standard for $59.99, Limited for $79.99, and Epic for $149.99.