There will be more than 20,000 midnight launches next week to kick off the release of Xbox 360's Gears of War 3.

Among the events is a Times Square party at the Best Buy Theater in New York featuring Big Sean. Launching Sept. 20 worldwide, Microsoft says the game is the fastest pre-selling Xbox exclusive in history.

"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."

The launch celebrations 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.

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"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."

Here's a the rundown of all global midnight launch events:

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

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§ 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.

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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.

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Australia:

· EB Games

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