Microsoft Acquires Gears of War Franchise
Microsoft has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, and has handed development duties to Black Tusk Studios.
Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production of the series at Epic Games, will be joining Microsoft and helping Black Tusk as part of a deal made. This means that Gears of War will remain an Xbox-exclusive.
Black Tusk Studios opened in late 2012 when Microsoft Vancouver did a rebrand. As part of the Microsoft Studios, they are able to reach out to first-party studios such as 343 Industries, Turn 10 Studios, Rare Ltd., Lionhead Studios, Good Science Studio, and Twisted Pixel Games.
"Today we're excited to announce that Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, including rights to all existing and future games, entertainment experiences and merchandise," Xbox Vice President Phil Spencer stated. "In addition, we are excited to announce that Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver, BC will take over development of the Gears of War franchise and that Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the Gears of War franchise, will join Microsoft and play a key studio leadership role at Black Tusk on the development of the franchise going forward."
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In a statement written on Xbox News Wire, Rod Fergusson wrote, "I'm extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the Gears of War franchise. I've been privileged to work on a lot of 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.
Phil Spencer had stated the reason Microsoft purchased the franchise was due to the "very strong, passionate and valued fan base" for Gears of War on Xbox.
Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said, "Epic Games has reached an agreement to sell the Gears of War intellectual property rights to Microsoft. We're very proud of the franchise we built in close partnership with Microsoft over the past decade and are happy that this agreement enables Microsoft to forge ahead with the Gears universe on their industry-leading platforms as Epic concentrates its efforts on new projects. Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects."
Gears of War 3 was a success for both Epic Games and Microsoft when released on the Xbox 360 in 2011 but the follow-up prequel, Gears of War: Judgment, not so much. Epic Games began moving on to support Unreal Engine 4 for their creation of other games and appeared to be done with the Gears of War series.
This writer is certainly curious as to what they'll come up with for this wonderful series.