The franchise that introduced the world to the chainsaw-revving lancer, Gears of War, is now in new, but familiar hands — Microsoft Studios’. Former owner, Epic Games, has handed over the reins to existing and future Gears of War titles to Microsoft.
Microsoft Studios is entrusting the development of future Gears of War titles to Canadian-based developers, Black Tusk Studios, who you may remember showcased a “concept piece” during last year’s E3. When Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft, was asked “why was an as-yet-unproven studio like Black Tusk chosen to lead the ‘Gears of War’ development over a more established studio,” he said:
“Black Tusk has assembled a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space, and specifically the “Gears of War” franchise. I am extremely confident that under the leadership of Hanno Lemke, Rod Fergusson and our other leaders in the studio, Black Tusk is well equipped to take on the future development of the “Gears of War” franchise.”
Those who are worried about the future of the franchise should breathe easy as Gears of War veteran, Rod Fergusson, former Gears of War Director of Production, joins Microsoft and will “play a key studio leadership role at Black Tusk on the development of the franchise going forward.”
Helping to create Game-of-the-Year titles is not an unfamiliar task to Fergusson. In 2012, he had left Epic Games after nearly eight years to help with the development of last year’s blockbuster hit, BioShock Infinite. Although he was to head 2K’s new San Francisco Bay Area studios, he states that “’If you want something done right, do it yourself.’ So when the opportunity came, I grabbed it.”
“To be honest, I don’t think the franchise could be in better hands. Heck, Rod’s Twitter handle, to this day, is “Gears Viking.” Gears is just as much Rod’s baby as it was mine. He’ll take good care of her.”
To further ease the mindset of Gearheads around the world, Epic Games founder and CEO even blessed the acquisition:
“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.”
It is still too early to tell when a new Gears of War game will release, but expect more news about the franchise later this year.