This is not a drill.
Today, Microsoft announced they’ve acquired all rights to the multi-award winning, best selling Gears Of War franchise from creator Epic Games and have turned it over to Black Tusk Studios (Microsoft’s developers in Vancouver) in order to create MORE Gears games.
Before you get your lancer and COG-issued knickers in a twist, know this: Epic Games’ former executive producer/director of production’s Rod Fergusson, aka “@GearsViking” (below) has also been picked up and brought in as Black Tusk’s new studio manager and will be overseeing all future GoW titles with Hanno Lemke, Black Tusk’s general manager.
In case you’ve lived under a rock for the last eight years, Fergusson served as series producer on the first three GoW games…and knowing the guy personally, I KNOW he’ll make sure that ANYthing with the name “Gears Of War” on it will be quality.
Fergusson himself is thrilled to be back with Gears, telling Polygon, “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 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.”
And while Microsoft Studios’ corporate VP Phil Spencer isn’t ready to talk about Gears just yet (I’m sure they’re saving it all up for their official media briefing during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, aka E3, this June), he DID say WHY they decided to go ahead and buy the IP:
“We finished the last Gears talking about the next iteration of the franchise, one that Epic and I were going to talk about just as a natural course of the publishing and studio relationship. They didn’t have a firm plan for what they wanted to do with Gears, which obviously opened the door to conversation. They wanted to make sure the franchise landed somewhere we could develop it well, so we started having discussions about how we could continue the franchise.”
But before you feel sad for Epic Games, know that Tim Sweeney (Epic’s founder/CEO) is really okay with it, telling Polygon that he’s “happy that this agreement enables Microsoft to forge ahead with the Gears universe,” and “Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to MS in support of their future projects.”
I have a feeling all future GoW titles will be Xbox One exclusives, which means I have roughly a year to buy one. It would be NICE if the new Gears titles were on 360 but I’m not holding my breath.
Either way, I’ll be shining up my COG tags while waiting to go into battle with my brothers (and sisters) once again.
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