Microsoft Acquires Gears Of War IP, Here’s All You Need To Know
Microsoft has recently acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, which will most likely go some way in pleasing many Xbox One fans out there who were hoping that another one of their famed exclusives wouldn’t make its way to PlayStation. There is quite a lot of information circling the web regarding this issue, and all sorts of opinion pieces about whether it’s the right move or not, so in this article I’m going to bring everything relevant to you for your convenience.
Firstly, the announcement was made on the official Xbox website, and there is plenty of information in the rather detailed FAQ on this matter. But what you need to know is that Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to Gears of War from Epic Games, which includes the rights to all currently existing and future games and merchandise in the franchise.
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Epic games released the following official statement to go with Microsoft’s announcement:
“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.”
Most interesting is the fact that a completely new studio will be taking over development, namely Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver. But it’s not all new faces as Rod Fergusson, the former Director of Production at Epic Games on the Gears of War series, will join up with Microsoft and play a “key studio leadership role” at Black Tusk throughout development of the project.
Many fans would naturally wonder why a new, unproven studio would be taking over development of Gears of War. Microsoft’s Phil Spencer answered this question in the FAQ with the following statement:
Black Tusk has assembled a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space, and specifically the “Gears of War” franchise. 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.
We will be hearing more information about this next Gears of War title later this year if there are no hiccups. If I were to guess, I would say E3 is the most likely place.
Black Tusk Studios later tweeted about their involvement, saying the following: “We’re excited and honoured to be the studio chosen to continue developing the Gears of War universe.”
In other news that may interest you, gaming website iGR reached out to Michael Pachter, our ‘favourite’ (yes, sarcasm) analyst, to ask for his estimate of what Microsoft paid Epic Games to acquire Gears of War. Pachter responded with:
Probably $100 million or less, certainly no more than that. They clearly think they will get a return, or they wouldn’t have done it.
The announcement on the official Xbox website reveals that the Gears of War franchise grossed over $1 billion throughout its life span. So if Pachter’s estimated $100 million purchase price is realistic, then that’s surely a damn good deal in the long run.
My guess would be that the next Gears of War title is an Xbox One exclusive, and this is something Pachter believes as well. His response to iGR asking which platform the game would target was:
The studio was just formed, so they won’t have a game for three years. Probably Xbox One exclusive.
Finally, I’m sure some of you might be wondering what good old Cliffy B has to say about this, since he always has an opinion and Gears of War is his baby. Well, he wrote a pretty honest and heartfelt blog post about this matter soon after the news was officially announced. You’re welcome to hit the link and read it in full, but here is a snippet from his blog which details his stance:
To be honest, I don’t think the franchise could be in better hands. Heck, Rod’s Twitter handle, to this day, is “Gears Viking.” Gears is just as much Rod’s baby as it was mine. He’ll take good care of her. (Rod, I owe you a girly drink at GDC.)
Phil Spencer went out of his way to give me a phone call to inform me of the transaction last week. Phil, you didn’t have to do that, you’re a gentleman. I appreciate it; that goes a long way. 343 knocked it out of the park with Halo and I think Black Tusk will do a fantastic job with Gears.
I suppose this puts the nail in the coffin of the question “Will Gears ever come to Playstation?”
Safe to say that’s not likely to happen. (Besides, it gives me something to look forward to on Xbox One besides Titanfall and Project Spark…oh and more Halo, of course.)
Now that that’s out of the way…
I’m not going to move to Vancouver and work on it.
I’m not going to consult on it.
Cliffy B goes on to say that he is looking towards the future now, and he wants to make something entirely new. He does offer huge appreciation to all the Gears of War fans out there as well.
And we’re done. That’s everything you need to know about Microsoft acquiring the rights to the Gears of War franchise as well as the key players’ reactions to the news. We’ll have more on this when it drops.