Phil Spencer: "This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox."
Microsoft had been teasing some big news for this morning, and the delivery involves the future of one of the Xbox 360's biggest franchises, 'Gears of War.' "Today we're excited to announce that Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the 'Gears of War' franchise from Epic Games, including rights to all existing and future games, entertainment experiences and merchandise."
Microsoft has nabbed Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games for 'Gears of War' to lead their Vancouver-based Black Tusk Studio. Microsoft has also stated that they will continue to partner with Epic to employ the Unreal engine in future 'Gears' titles.
Epic Games has been quick to point out that the sale of 'Gears' does not mean that they are not developing new games. Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, "Epic Games has reached an agreement to sell the ‘Gears of War’ intellectual property rights to Microsoft. 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. Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects."
As for specific plans for a new title or for when the franchise will come to the Xbox One, an announcement has been promised for later this year. Black Tusk Studios can likely develop a 'Gears' title quickly, but the shift to Unreal 4 won't happen overnight. 'Gears' titles at Epic have been notorious for being labor-intensive. Microsoft may look to re-release the four previous 'Gears' titles on the Xbox One in the what may be a two year period before a new game is ready.
Source: Xbox Wire
Author: Brian Hoss