The Gears of War franchise has a lot of life left in it, according to Microsoft Studios executive Phil Spencer. Speaking with Kotaku, Spencer said Microsoft is in "active" discussions about the future of the franchise, but stopped short of confirming a new entry in the series.
"I'm a huge fan of the franchise," Spencer said. "I want to continue to work with Gears. I think there's a lot of life left in that franchise. We had an internal discussion on it even yesterday. It's something that's active in discussion about what we can do with Gears."
Gears of War fans eager for a follow-up to this year's Gears of War: Judgment may want to get comfortable, as Spencer said "there's nothing even pending that I'm holding to announce." That said, he explained that the importance of the franchise to gamers is not lost on him.
"I understand the importance of the franchise to the Xbox platform and to gamers--I'd say gamers first. It'd be great to do something forward with that franchise."
Since its inception, the Gears of War franchise has been exclusive to Xbox and PC. Spencer declined to say if this status would change going forward, deferring to Epic for that question.
"It's Epic's franchise," he said. "You and I both know that. I can't make any assurances about anybody else's franchise. It's Epic's game and we have to talk to them about a partnership and what they want to do. As you know, you probably know right now they're more focused on other areas of their business right now."
Gears of War creator Epic Games has no announced projects beyond the PC-exclusive Fortnite. Gears of War: Judgment was principally developed by Poland-based subsidiary Epic Games Poland (formerly known as People Can Fly).
Also in the interview, Spencer discussed the Xbox platform's status in Japan, a region where the system has never been hugely popular. He said Microsoft has closed deals for new titles, described as "full Japanese games" that are more substantial that downloadable projects.
We have signed some things in Japan that we haven't announced that we'll announce in... '14 so that people get to hear about support in Japan," Spencer said.
Spencer also teased that Microsoft is potentially interested in older franchises, including a reboot of Phantom Dust. "It's a discussion right now; there's nothing signed. But we're talking. It does seem like there's a lot of interest around that."