Gears of War Franchise Purchased by Microsoft Studios

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Microsoft Studios has announced today that it has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, handing over development duties to Vancouver-based team Black Tusk Studios. What's more, ex-Epic Director of Production and Gears man Rod Fergusson will be joining Microsoft, playing a key role on the series at Black Tusk.

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 $1bn 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 favourite games and entertainment experiences from the Gears of War universe.
— Phil Spencer, Microsoft Studios

Spencer assured Gears fans that Black Tusk taking over the franchise won't compromise future Gears of War titles. He went on to explain that Black Tusk has assembled a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space, and specifically the Gears of War franchise. He then announced that Hanno Lemke and Rod Fergusson are some of the project leaders in the studio.

I’m extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the Gears of War franchise. 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.
— Rod Fergusson
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.
— Tim Sweeney, Epic founder and CEO

Cliff Bleszinski has confirmed that he won't be involved with the next instalment in the millitary third-person shooter series. The former Epic Games director said he thinks that the property is in capable hands.

My former employer has sold the Gears of War IP/franchise to Microsoft and my friend Rod Fergusson is going to be working on it.

To be honest, I don’t think the franchise could be in better hands.

Gears is just as much Rod’s baby as it was mine. He’ll take good care of her.
— Cliff Bleszinski