Microsoft today annnounced it has purchased the Gears of War franchise form Epic Games.
The Gears of War series has sold more than 22 million units across a spread of four titles, and has received critical and fan appareication for its unique cover-based shooting mechanics and excellent multiplayer campaigns.
In a press release, Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer said, "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. By acquiring this franchise, Microsoft Studios will continue to offer them more of their favorite games and entertainment experiences from the “Gears of War” universe."
The task of developing a next-gen Gears of War has been given to Black Tusk Studios, a recently formed development house that employs over 100 developers, artists and managers. The leadership of the studio is largely formed with former Electronic Arts employees who have an average of 12 years of experience working on triple-A games.
The team will be lead by series producer Rod Fergusson, who returns to the Microsoft fold after working with 2K Games on BioShock Infinite and unnamed title.
"I’m extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the “Gears of War” franchise," Fergusson said. "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."
While it is strange that Epic Games would give up one of their prized franchise, the studio clearly thinks it is time to move on and branch out into something new. The studio has been busy preparing its Unreal Engine 4 for next-gen consoles, and are working on a tower defense-esque game called Fortnite. However, it is unclear what Epic's next big franchise will be.