Well, here’s something I didn’t see coming.
The big news from yesterday was that Microsoft has purchased the Gears of War IP from Epic Games which also includes the rights to all existing and future games, merchandise and entertainment experiences. Talk about starting your week off big, huh?
Not only that, Microsoft has also brought in former Director of Production at Epic Games, Rod Fergusson to oversee and provide leadership on the next game which is now housed in Vancouver, BC at Black Tusk Studios.
“It all comes back to our commitment to Xbox fans. The “Gears of War” franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox. ” said Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft Studios. “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.”
Purely from a speculation standpoint, I’m guessing that Epic either had no interest in making another game, or the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement on the direction of the franchise. I’ve also heard rumblings that Epic is looking to make the jump to free-to-play format which I’m sure Microsoft isn’t terribly interested in for a core franchise like Gears. I’m also assuming that this news does not affect the new IP that Black Tusk was working on and teased during E3 last year. Again, I don’t have any sort of insider information on this, just offering my thoughts.
What’s also very surprising with this move is that Rod announced that he was heading up a brand new 2K Games studio located in San Francisco just four months ago in September. The studio confirmed they were working on a brand new IP and they’d announce something shortly. Apparently “shortly” never came. I guess you could say being able to provide leadership over an IP you helped established was too alluring to pass on.