Microsoft Purchases ‘Gears of War’ from Epic Games
Published: Monday, February 3, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 3, 2014 09:02
Alongside “Halo,” the “Gears of War” franchise helped solidify Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox 360 as viable contenders in the home console market.
Now the company that built Windows owns both of those franchises, as it announced today that it acquired the rights to the “Gears” franchise from Epic Games, the creators of the franchise.
The future of the franchise is now in the hands of Black Tusk Studios. That’s Microsoft’s recently formed, in-house game studio built specifically to make “the next Halo” for the company’s consoles.
Until now, no game had officially been revealed as in-development by the Vancouver-based studio. At E3 last year, they showed footage of a man with a gun — clearly trying to appeal to a more niche audience — but it’s since been revealed that that was simply a concept piece. It sounds like, for the time being at least, Black Tusk is all-in on “Gears of War.”
In a statement to Polygon, Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney sounded excited by Microsoft’s purchase.
“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,” Sweeney said. “Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects.”
But the “Gears” franchise isn’t all Microsoft acquired. Rod Fergusson will also be joining the family. Fergusson was the executive producer and director of production on the first three “Gears” games. In 2012, he left Epic to join Irrational Games, but left shortly after the release of “Bioshock Infinite.”
Now he’s joined on with Black Tusk and Microsoft to help oversee development of future installments in the franchise.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft acquired ownership of an already exclusive franchise. The company previously bought the “Halo” name from Bungie, to create the (incorrectly named) “Halo 4.”
This announcement means very little for “Gears” fans, as the franchise was already an Xbox exclusive series. At most, we can likely expect a yearly back-and-forth between the “Halo” and “Gears” franchises moving forward.
According to Microsoft, we can expect more details on the next “Gears of War” game later this year.