Microsoft has announced it has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise, including the “rights to all existing and future games.”
Expect to see a Gear of War Xbox One exclusive announcement in the near future, as Microsoft has obtained the entire franchise old and new.
Microsoft Studios’ Black Tusk Studios will take over development of the Gears of War franchise, with Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on Gears of War will take the developmental reins going forward.
“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”, read the Microsoft statement.
Gears of War titles have grossed over $1 billion (£601 million) worldwide and Microsoft said it has obtained the franchise to show its “commitment to Xbox fans.”
“The Gears of War franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox,” said Phil Spencer, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios. “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.”
Fans of the series shouldn’t be worried about the future of Gears of War though, as Black Tusk Studios confirms it will be working closely with Epic Games to include Unreal Engine technology in any future titles.
“[We will make sure] the Gears of War franchise going forward remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise”, added Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Black Tusk studios.
The addition of Rod Fergusson to the new Gears of War team will also help the series say true to its Epic Games roots.
“I’m extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the Gears of War franchise,” said Rod Fergusson. “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.”
Epic Games are also very happy with the acquisition (and not just because of the money).
“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,” said 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.”
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