Microsoft have confirmed that Gears of War: Judgement will be available in March 2013, swelling the ranks of big releases set to make their entrance in the first quarter of next year. That list includes Tomb Raider, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, BioShock Infinite, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Aliens: Colonial Marines to name but few, with the same time frame even rumoured for the arrival of Grand Theft Auto 5.

Indeed, that and the fact there isn’t much announced for after Q1 2013, is enough to make you think that maybe, just maybe, there might be some hardware announcements come the year’s second quarter. I guess time will tell on that one…

For those yet to hear of Gears of War: Judgement expect a prequel to the Xbox 360 exclusive franchise that follows the exploits of Damon Baird during “Emergence Day” – the day upon which the Locust hordes first erupted from the planet’s core – as Baird and the other members of Kilo Squad attempt to rescue the city of Halvo Bay from destruction.

Interestingly the game is the first in the series not to be developed by Epic Games internally, developer People Can Fly having been drafted in to put their stamp on proceedings (under the watchful eye of the team at Epic of course).

Expect the single-player campaign to be complemented by the usual array of multiplayer modes with “OverRun” – an all-new class-based mode that combines elements of “Horde” and “Beast” modes – already confirmed.

Gears of War: Judgement will be available 19 March 2013 for Xbox 360.