Microsoft buys Gears of War from Epic

Xbox maker acquires rights to the popular franchise; Black Tusk Studios taking over development duties with producer Rod Fergusson leading the team; details on new projects coming later this year.

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Microsoft announced today that it has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games. This deal includes rights to all existing and future games, as well as "entertainment experiences," and merchandise. As part of the arrangement, Microsoft's new outfit Black Tusk Studios will take over development on the Gears of War franchise, which will continue to be produced using Epic's Unreal Engine technology.

Black Tusk Studios general manager Hanno Lemke said Microsoft will "collaborate closely" with Epic to make sure Microsoft's implementation of the Unreal Engine technology going forward "remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise." You can expect to hear more about Microsoft's plans for the future of Gears of War later in 2014, the company said.

“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 founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said.

While fans might be anxious about a new studio heading up development of beloved Xbox-exclusive Gears of War franchise, you might be happy to learn series veteran Rod Fergusson has joined Microsoft to play a "key studio leadership role" at Black Tusk on the franchise going forward. Fergusson has been a journeyman of late. After leaving Epic in 2012 after seven years with the company, he joined Irrational Games to help the company finish BioShock: Infinite. After development on the game was done, he quit Irrational in April 2013 and announced in September that he would launch a new 2K Games studio in Marin, California, but it appears Microsoft made a better offer.

"Black Tusk has assembled a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space, and specifically the Gears of War franchise," Microsoft Studios executive Phil Spencer said. "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."

Financial terms of the Microsoft/Epic deal for the Gears of War were not disclosed. Epic is currently working on PC-exclusive Fortnite.

The Gears of War franchise is one of the Xbox platform's leading series. It has spanned four titles so far: Gears of War (2006), Gears of War 2 (2008), Gears of War 3 (2011), and Gears of War: Judgment (2013). Together, the games have sold more than 22 million copies and generated over $1 billion. Gears of War Exile, rumored to be a Kinect-enabled spinoff, was canceled.

Discussion

1141 comments
MrFacepunch
MrFacepunch

I was really nervous until I read about Rod Fergussen being back. Now im just kinda nervous.

UKFX
UKFX

Waste of money. Just like Microsoft products.


PenroseStairs
PenroseStairs

if this ends up anything like judgment, there will be some serious curb stomping.

blackace
blackace

For people who think Black Tusk is only working on Gears of War, you're wrong. They were working on 3 other games for the XB1 as well and will still be working on those games. Also Rare is working on 2 more XB1 exclusives that are not Kinect games. Lionhead Studios is also working on another game besides Fable Legends. So there will be multiple exclusives coming out from Microsoft 1st party studios.

TheGreatPhoenix
TheGreatPhoenix

Well no new gears of war games were planned, Microsoft needs cashcow franchises for its xbone. so they made the sale happen. All pretty understandable really.

orktar_bunbun
orktar_bunbun

The story is over though. All the locust and lambent are dead and everybody's happy. Unless they make another retarded prequel I see nothing that can be done with the series.

Chrypt22
Chrypt22

Microsoft did the same thing with Halo 4 and it was a huge success.  Halo 4 was a revival of the series in my opinion...  I am just glad EA didn't buy it or I would be really worried.  If MS does the same thing with GoW that it did with Halo, then we should be happy about it.. 

xscrapzx
xscrapzx

They had to make the purchase.  Epic was most likely done with the series as far as dumping any amount of resources into it considering they have done 4 of them over the course of a 7 year period.  Its a huge franchise for MS with the xbox brand, so they needed to have more control.  I think this is a smart move, but also shows how important it is to have in house studios creating your big IPs.  Not sure how much they would have saved had it been created originally under MS, but I think they need to start dumping resources into their own in house gaming developing so that they have control from the start.  I'm confident that they will do good with the franchise, I wonder if they will use Cliff at any point to do future games or if he is completely away from it all. 

DaSlyOne
DaSlyOne

Microsoft was probably upset that Epic stopped working on the GOW with Kinect integration so they bought the rights to force it into the game. Next up...a crappy GOW requiring Kinect. Doesn't sound good for the franchise.

curiousarman
curiousarman

i don't know if this good or bad? what happen to other great titles that microsoft bought? is it get better or worse?

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Are we surprised?  Much of the top-tier game design talent at Epic has already left.  I'd be surprised if we heard about software from them this generation.  We'll probably see a lot of other games running UE4, but that's about it from Epic I bet.

runrunguru
runrunguru

I am a loyal GOW fan and the fan base for this game is loyal because there is NOTHING like it on the current market. I hope they take GOW back to its roots in part 3 gameplay wise and not like that watered down, cash grab, crap named judgment. I was burned by judgment and wont be so zealous to purchase a new GOW until i know its back to its roots. Not stupid "radar" grenades and falling off high buildings. Don't make gears like a military shooter. Keep it pure please.

I do worry that Cliffy wont be part of it..... I think its a sign...

StephenSays
StephenSays

A new Gears is always welcome to me.  Why kill the franchise when it sells well.  More Guns and more ways to play.  open the map ad 10 on 10 with vehicles and beast.  Ad jet packs go completely futuristic.  Keep the core style but add fun stuff.  It really needs to come to PC imo.  OR just copy the Division with squads.  Key to success is to innovate. 

EdAl2112
EdAl2112

You know what this means. GOW Kart, GOW Party, GOW Galaxies, GOW Smashing Bros. coming out the same year.

bobbo888
bobbo888

Good bye Gears of War. We hardly knew ye.

goldenagegamer
goldenagegamer

this is a package deal for when the new CEO will sell off the xbox franchise.  Halo is a good selling point but you need more than one franchise.  If you dont believe me look at past articles and you can see for yourselves that one of the CEOS in the running wants to dump xbox.     

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

Damn that sucks I was hoping it might come to PC, well there goes that.

divinejester
divinejester

I honestly dont think anyone thought or cared that this game was going anywhere else at this point. 


Like other said Gears peaked at 2, and has been on MS for so long that nobody honestly thought it would come to Sony or God forbid Nintendo. 


That said if they can reboot it, maybe I would give it another run.

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

Series definitely needs a reboot. Gears 3 was great, but not feeling the need for more of the same.


343 did a great job with Halo 4 so a It'll be interesting to see what Black Tusk can do with gears.

flyersfan87
flyersfan87

...*Ahem* Attention all Black Tusk Studio employees....this is Phil Spencer speaking. You are now tasked with creating a new flagship IP AND reinvigorating Gears of War. We have sent unto you Rod Fergusson. He shall be your Yoda. Listen, concentrate, raise the X-wing from the swamp and achieve your destiny!

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

I'm cool with this, but I also want to see what new stuff Epic has in store, maybe a Samaritan game? Something to do with the Infiltrator demo?

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

while some people endlessly scream "milk" and "rehash", I'm excited to see how they decide to continue the series. Gears 3's ending had some real finality to it, so it'll be interesting to see if they find a way to continue the story, or keep making prequels

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

Owning & buying a outdated but popular IP doesn't make it a GOTY.  GOW while at first was shocking  only to see the series starting to get a negative light soon  after GOW2 was truly played and tested.  You don't have to believe this comment, the consumers have spoken in volume about it's gameplay and direction over the last few titles   The reason some continue to buy it, is to see if can bring back what the original offered offline & on and not have the feeling they've been tricked that the game is a running on a stale and underwhelming performance.


In ways EPIC wins with this sell and MS/Xbox can say we have a 1st party title that needs resurrection and creativity the way we see fit for our gamers.  Then again does RARE ring a bell.

Ferg1213
Ferg1213

EPIC gave up on Gears by swapping creativity and loyalty (to the series and fans) for a light-hearted and easy access approach for the casual gamer. Judgment was a severe downgrade - a predictable one at that. 


Selling to Microsoft may be a good move for the franchise, but I have a horrible feeling that Gears will just be digging itself further and further into a hole of mediocrity. 


Saying that, Rod with creative control may prove revitalising. I hope he takes Gears back to its horror-shooter roots. Only time will tell!

Pilgrim117
Pilgrim117

@blackace Nobody in their right mind doubts that MS will bring a lot of exclusives to the X1. Just this year, there's Titanfall, Sunset Overdrive, Halo5, Fablo Legends, Project Spark and maybe Quantum Break.

7akk
7akk

@Chrypt22  It was not microsoft it was 313 not microsoft they just helped a little bit not much its going to be fucked now coz they are going to give to some pricks that dont know what they are doing with it Good bye gears 

blackace
blackace

@DaSlyOneYou have no idea what you're talking about. You're crystal ball is broke. Take it back to Fantasy Land for repair dude.

Blazen702
Blazen702

Actually you are wrong. X1 is the most profitable division at MS and it's known that Sony's credit rating got reduced to junk status and to avoid bankruptcy they might sell off the uncharted franchise. Nice try though.

runrunguru
runrunguru

Nice Ferguson, finally a real GOW player. Nothing like a one shot gnasher and bodying someone.

chaos-commander
chaos-commander

@Blazen702 If you honestly think that xbox is the most valuable division in the company than you must be 12 or the biggest moron ever.

Arronaxxx
Arronaxxx

@Blazen702 

Obvious fanboys are obvious... The most profitable division at Microsoft is Windows. Xbox is like less than 1% of their total revenue. For corporate it really doesn't matter if it exists or not.

Ferg1213
Ferg1213

@runrunguru Nothing like a good ranked execution on Fuel Depot, Mansion, War Machine, Canals etc. Good times!

joebananas89
joebananas89

@Blazen702 windows 7 alone sold 800million+ (2013 numbers) so~, also windows 8 broke 100mill in one year.

Blazen702
Blazen702

Xbox last gen had over 100 million more in software sales then the PS3. You must be 10 years old or a noober

Blazen702
Blazen702

Wow you are an idiot. Google it. The X1 brought in more revenue for capital spent and had a higher profit margin then sony as well.

BosoxJoe5
BosoxJoe5

Sony did get downgraded to junk, however is like their movie and music production side(ie Columbia) would be spun off. Some shareholders tried this last year but to no avail.