Microsoft buys rights to Gears of War franchise, says new game in development

In its quest to get more major game franchises for its Xbox One console, Microsoft has bought one of the biggest game series that helped boost sales of its previous console, the Xbox 360. Today, the company announced it has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from its creators, Epic Games.

Today's announcement, which did not disclose financial terms, gives Microsoft the rights to the past Gears of War games, all of which were console exclusives for the Xbox 360 platform (the original "Gears of War" was also ported to the PC). Microsoft said the series has sold more than 22 million copies and has generated over $1 billion in sales.

Today's deal also covers any "entertainment experiences and merchandise" based on Gears of War, along with all future game releases. In fact, Microsoft's Vancouver-based Black Tusk Studios is now at work on a new Gears of War game, presumably for the Xbox One console. Rod Fergusson, who previously worked as director of production at Epic Games on the Gears of War franchise, has joined Microsoft and Black Tusk to help develop the new game, which will use the latest version of Epic's Unreal Engine. More information on that game will be announced later this year.

As for Epic itself, the only game they have announced is "Fortnite," and little information has been revealed about that title since it was first shown to the world two years ago. In a statement, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said, "Epic remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects."

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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Microsoft should invest in some Nintendo like IPs - the magic formula(e) is there to be copied if they want to. Or they could publicly state they've offered Nintendo £xxx million to license some of their IP, been refused, and let the investors and shareholders decide... that would be quite an exhilarating move.

This won't go anywhere special. The fundamental gameplay mechanics - the Lancer and the quick-snap cover system - are what made Gears, and unless someone can very intelligently redesign the gameplay (very unlikely) it will be the same game as Gears 1-3.

Infact the more they add, the less interesting it will be. I played Gears 1 again a while ago and the simplicity was very refreshing. But we all know DLC and flashy XP graphics and medals are what sell games now, so that's what they'll aim for, and then they'll release it at the same time as the next Battlefield/CoD and it'll flop.

this is epic (pun). After the crappy judgement, I really thought the series was dead and the developer just didn't care. it would be a shame to let such awesome game die off and I'm glad MSFT will rescue it. Maybe 343 studios can revive it.

neonspark said,
this is epic (pun). After the crappy judgement, I really thought the series was dead and the developer just didn't care. it would be a shame to let such awesome game die off and I'm glad MSFT will rescue it. Maybe 343 studios can revive it.

it's being developed by black tusk- new studio built from ground up by ms (like 343i)

Kreuger said,
And there goes that series.

@kreuger
have you played judgement?? it it stayed with epic, gears would have died a slow and painful death. at least, this way- rod fergusson is back and has the full support of ms.

No I haven't. I don't own a 360. I played the first three and loved them. And I hated Halo after the 2nd one so that pretty much sums that up.

I haven't seen anyone else bring this up, but looking at the big picture, was this purchase done because of the great story? I am thinking Microsoft might do the same thing they are doing with halo. Perhaps make a Xbox online series based on the game. Otherwise I don't see why they felt they had to purchase the gears of war franchise.

s0nic69 said,
Otherwise I don't see why they felt they had to purchase the gears of war franchise.

Because it makes a lot of money and Epic did not seem to have any plans to carry it on.

s0nic69 said,
I haven't seen anyone else bring this up, but looking at the big picture, was this purchase done because of the great story? I am thinking Microsoft might do the same thing they are doing with halo. Perhaps make a Xbox online series based on the game. Otherwise I don't see why they felt they had to purchase the gears of war franchise.

because if they hadn't, it would most likely have gone multi-plat to the ps4.
having a major exclusive like gears go to ps4 would have been a huge blow to the xbox one, so I assume ms saw buying the franchise outright would serve them best.

I'll keep my eyes on this hoping that it will be updated but Gears of War's style of gameplay has gotten very stale for me now. Sliding from chest-high wall to chest-high wall through 5 minute sections of map which are divided up with either a cut scene or a slow walk and talk scene.

jamesyfx said,
Sliding from chest-high wall to chest-high wall through 5 minute sections of map which are divided up with either a cut scene or a slow walk and talk scene.

Sums up the entire last-generation of shooters quite nicely.

This is a HUGE disappointment because Black Tusk was working on a brand new IP that looked to be a stealth/action game with a lot of potential. Now the studio has been turned into a Gears factory, much like 343 is a Halo factory, and Rare is a Kinect-games factory.

I was really hoping for something new. Gears is/has been done (story-wise, and gameplay-wise) for a while now.

spacer said,
I was really hoping for something new. Gears is/has been done (story-wise, and gameplay-wise) for a while now.

But money.

spacer said,
This is a HUGE disappointment because Black Tusk was working on a brand new IP that looked to be a stealth/action game with a lot of potential.

The trailer was utterly generic and the graphics especially weak. Landing Gears was probably the best thing that could have happened to the studio.

VERY smart move on MS's part. They didn't have shell out for the company and deal with acquiring them. Surprised that they didn't make a move sooner once Gears really got big. Either way, glad that they putting a dedicated studio behind the franchise (like 343i). Rod Fergusson joining them is also positive.

I'm kinda curious as to what's going on over there. They've lost a lot of their senior staff, and the only game they're known to be working on is "Fortnite," and that was announced two years ago. I'm sure they make decent money on licenses, but most of the bigger publishers/developers are making their own engines now.

Anthony Tosie said,
I'm kinda curious as to what's going on over there. They've lost a lot of their senior staff, and the only game they're known to be working on is "Fortnite," and that was announced two years ago. I'm sure they make decent money on licenses, but most of the bigger publishers/developers are making their own engines now.
My money is on Tencent trying to change them. Most of the departures occurred when they bought like 40% of Epic.