Microsoft has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise

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Microsoft has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from series creator, Epic Games, the company announce today.

In the announcement post on Xbox Wire, it was revealed that the newly formed Black Tusk Studios based in Vancouver will take on development duties for the franchise, with former Epic Games director Rod Fergusson joining the studio to oversee development.

According to head of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer, the decision to acquire the rights to Gears of War was borne from the team’s “commitment to the Xbox fans,” and the series in particular has enjoyed a “very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox” with over twenty-two million units sold around the world, grossing over $1 billion in overall revenue.

Interestingly, future Gears of War games will incorporate Unreal Engine technology from Epic Games which means that the previous rights holder will continue to play a part in the series.

Spencer says that Black Tusk Studios has been formed from “a world-class team with deep experience and passion for the shooter space,” so the team was a natural fit for the franchise. More news on the future of Gears of War is expected later in 2014.

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney commented on the acquisition of the Gears of War franchise by Microsoft thus:

“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.”

What do you think of the news? What do you hope to see in the next entry to the Gears of War franchise?

You can find out more by listening to the latest Major Nelson podcast and a chat with Rod Fergusson (thanks to RAAM22 and Antonov_26 for that tip).

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