news\ Jan 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

Gears of War franchise is back in Microsoft's hands, Black Tusk takes over development


Microsoft has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise, the company announced today. The former Epic Games-owned franchise has become a staple for the Xbox console, as it was the Xbox 360's sole exclusive last year.

"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," a statement from Microsoft reads.

“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,” added Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. “Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects.”

Microsoft also confirmed that Black Tusk Studios will take over development of the Gears of War franchise. Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the Gears franchise also joined Microsoft and will reportedly "play a key studio leadership role at Black Tusk on the development of the franchise going forward."

BlackTusk Studio was formed in 2012 as a rebranded version of Microsoft Game Studios Vancouver. At the time, studio manager Mike Crump said "We're not working on an existing franchise, we're looking to build the next Halo here in Vancouver, for example, which is really exciting. We are building something from the ground up."

It would appear then, that the studio has two games in developer -- a new Gears of War title along with another as-of-yet-announced game. While Microsoft wouldn't comment on future of the Gears of War franchise just yet, Black Tusk Studios' GM Hanno Lemke said they "hope to be able to share more news about Gears of War later this year."

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