News Article

Gears of War Franchise Now in the Hands of Microsoft Studios

Posted by Anthony Bacchus

Popular series will return on Xbox One under new developer

Following up on a tweet that teased a big game announcement last night, Microsoft Studios revealed today that they have acquired the rights to the ever-dominating Gears of War franchise from previous developer, Epic Games.

Despite being released exclusively on Xbox and PC platforms, the Gears of War series was primarily owned by Epic and never by Microsoft, meaning the franchise could have one day made its jump to other competing consoles. Today's announcement however, puts a nail in that coffin as Microsoft's acquisition now includes the rights to "existing and future games, entertainment experiences and merchandise."

With Epic Games giving up the rights to the genre-defining shooter they created, development on the next iteration will be handled by Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver. Heading up the Canadian developer is Hanno Lemke and supporting him will be long-time Gears director, Rod Fergusson, who recently finished up work with Irrational Games on BioShock Infinite. Fergusson was Epic Games' Director of Production on the Gears series but left in 2012 to work at Irrational, but it seems his true calling has always been with Marcus Phoenix and the gang.

"I’m extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the 'Gears of War' franchise," Fergusson said in a statement. "I’ve been privileged to work on a lot of great games with a lot of great teams, but 'Gears' has had the most impact on me professionally and personally, so this really feels like a homecoming. I can’t wait to share more with you all soon."

Microsoft picking up the rights to Gears of War seems like something that should have been finalized ages ago, but we aren't going to point any fingers. Gears of War has been tremendously profitable for the Xbox brand and is probably the second most notable franchise, after Halo, that the general public recognizes belonging to Microsoft.

"It all comes back to our commitment to Xbox fans," said Head of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer. "The 'Gears of War' franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox. Over twenty-two million units have been sold across all “Gears of War” titles worldwide, grossing over $1B dollars (US). This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox."

Microsoft seems to be trying to replicate the same success as Halo by keeping the franchise alive through other mediums and by giving a new developer a chance to shine. 343 Industries took the torch from Bungie when they released Halo 4 in late 2012 for the 360 and is currently at work on the next-generation Halo for Xbox One.


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