One of the most high-profile exclusives for Microsoft platforms last generation was Gears of War, a post-apocalyptic third-person shooter developed by Unreal Tournament creators Epic Games. However, despite never leaving Xbox 360 and Windows, the series was never actually owned by Microsoft– Epic retained ownership of the IP, while Microsoft Studios merely helped publish the titles. That’s no longer the case, however, as Microsoft has announced that they have acquired the series, and moved its development to a different team.
In a press release issued on the official Xbox website, Microsoft stated that not only have they purchased the rights to all future Gears of War media, but they also now own the rights to all existing releases, such as video games and novels. The company has also announced that Black Tusk Studios – a studio formed in 2010, with no games of its own currently released – will helm development of the series now. To assist with forming the series’ future, the Vancouver-based team has brought in Epic Games’ former Gears of War Director of Production Rod Fergusson. Epic Games’ own CEO and founder Tim Sweeney commented on the acquisition:
[quote]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 remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects.[/quote]
Having sold over 22 million units worldwide, Gears of War is certainly a big name for Microsoft to finally officially own, though there was little doubt that the series would stay with the Xbox brand regardless. Are you happy that the series is staying at its home, or were you hoping for a potential multiplatform Gears of War 4? Let us know in the comments.