Gears PC owners who tried to fire up the game yesterday were met with a rather jarring response: An error telling them they "cannot run the game with modified executable code." The error message tells users to reinstall the game, which unfortunately does nothing to correct the problem.
As it turns out, the Windows digital certificate for Gears of War expired on January 29, keeping the game from launching. The problem apparently caught Epic by surprise as much as it did the Gears community. "We have been notified of the issue and are working with Microsoft to get it resolved. Sorry for any problems related to this. I'll post more once we have a resolution," Epic's Joe Graf posted on the Gears of War forums. "Yes, this was a surprise to us too. We aren't casting blame or chewing anyone out. We're trying to figure out how and why it happened so we can get it fixed."
Predictably, forum response to Graf's message has ranged from support for Epic's quick response to howls of outrage that the problem happened in the first place and demands for a full-blown Gears of War PC patch and, since they're doing some programming anyway, Gears of War 2.
In the meantime, Gears fans who just can't wait to kill more of the Locust Horde can work around the problem by simply setting the PC clock to a date prior to Jan 27, 2009. Updates and news of a proper fix will be posted when they become available.