Epic games is best known in the Xbox community for its stellar game called Gears of War. Epic just released Gears of War 3 which as we reported broke sales records.

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson just posted on his blog that the third installment of the Gears of War franchise has had a massive opening week selling over 3 million copies. A big contributor to those sales were the over 22,000 midnight launch events held around the world.

The game engine behind Gears of War is Unreal Engine 3. Microsoft worked with Epic in the early days of the Xbox 360 development because the bet was ‘Gears of War’ would become a flagship game much like the Halo franchise. Epic VP Mark Rein is now planning with Microsoft on having Unreal Engine 4 ready to go well before launch of the next gen Xbox for the best experience out of the gate.

It is generally accepted the Xbox 360 has approximately two years left of the product cycle, but only Microsoft knows the launch date. The quote below is from a recent interview in Development Magazine.

“I want Unreal Engine 4 to be ready far earlier than UE3 was; not a year after the consoles are released … I think a year from a console’s launch is perfectly fine for releasing a game, but not for releasing new tech. We need to be there day one or very early. That’s my primary focus.”