Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, including rights to all existing and future games, the company announced.
Black Tusk Studios, Microsoft’s Vancouver development team, will take over development of the franchise. Rod Fergusson, former Epic Games director of production on Gears of War, will join Microsoft and play a “key studio leadership role” at Black Tusk on development of the franchise moving forward.
“This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox,” Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer said. “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.
“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. ”
Epic Games will license the Unreal Engine 4 to Microsoft in support of their future projects, the studio said. More news about plans for the franchise will be shared “later this year.”
But what of Black Tusk Studios’ other project? Speaking to Polygon, Spencer said, “The thing we showed at E3 last year, it was something that was done in Unreal and more of a concept piece.” It was “an asset” created by the team, not necessarily an in-development game.