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Microsoft has acquired  Gears of War  from Epic Games
Microsoft has acquired Gears of War from Epic Games
January 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose

January 27, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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    14 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Microsoft revealed today that it has acquired the rights to the Gears of War series from Epic Games, including all existing and future titles in the franchise.

Microsoft's Black Tusk Studios, based in Vancouver, is now in charge of steering the Gears of War ship, and will be looking to develop future titles exclusively for the Xbox One.

Rod Fergusson, formerly executive producer and director of production on the Gears of War franchise at Epic Games before he moved to Irrational Games in 2012, has now joined Black Tusk to work alongside the studio's general manager Hanno Lemke.

The news comes just months after Fergusson said he would lead 2K Games' newest studio in California's Bay Area, to work on a new project.

Microsoft's Phil Spencer explained that purchasing the popular franchise was all about making sure big brands that Xbox 360 players enjoyed stayed with Xbox. The company noted that the Gears of War series will continue to utilize the Unreal Engine from Epic Games.

Notably, Black Tusk is yet to release a single game, yet it has now been handed one of Microsoft's most important IPs. Spencer says, regardless, he is still "extremely confident" that the team will pull it off with future installments in the series.

And Epic CEO Tim Sweeney added, "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."


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Comments


Benjamin Quintero
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hmmm... why do i get the sneaking suspicion this is about to get Haloed... I genuinely hope there is a plan to revitalize the game mechanics, but if that was the case then why buy the name Gears. Soooo... 3 years for 3 more Gears. With no plans to purchase an xb1 any time soon I guess that scratches this franchise off the list =/.

SD Marlow
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Microsoft - Where IP goes to die.

This is less about a new Gears series and more about NOT having a new Gears series on PS4.

Kujel s
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"Microsoft - Where IP goes to die."
Incorrect.

"This is less about a new Gears series and more about NOT having a new Gears series on PS4."
Correct.

Salim Muhammad
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Gears sold 22 million copies as an Xbox exclusive. It would be a fools move for MS not to try and acquire this IP.

Ozzie Smith
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I really liked the 1st Gears of War. It was great and hugely influential and (presumably) inspired a lot of my favorite games of the last generation. But with each new installment I grew less and less interested, to the point where I didn't even play judgement. I didn't care for the multiplayer too much and the story was never very interesting or well-told, and the mechanics evolved so little that I was just bored with the franchise by the end of Gears 3.

It really does feel like we don't need another Gears of War game (narrative-wise especially). But in principle I'm fine with franchises getting milked hard as long as the games stay fresh and interesting. Maybe a new developer with enough creative space given is just what Gears of War needs to make a comeback. But based on how MS has treated Halo I don't have high hopes.

Benjamin Quintero
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"as long as the games stay fresh and interesting"

That is the 100 million dollar question. Will fans allow it, or simply punish the franchise for changing? Halo was deathly afraid of change, making the slightest tweaks between iterations and hoping the fans won't notice. Even still, the last Halo was a disaster in terms of innovation with "alien" shotguns and machineguns in a time when they clearly had an opportunity to introduce a fantastical new race. Now Halo 5 and 6 will either need to pretend 4 didn't happen or just deal with the fact that they designed themselves into a creative black hole.

The same could easily be said for the next Gears once the corporate hammer comes down on it and the series gets focus tested into an uninspired mess that manages to still sell 10m units...

Harry Fields
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Of all the criticisms I've read of Halo 4, this is the first time I've seen the inclusion of an alien shotgun as a significant factor. Was it really that bad? I had as much fun in Spartan Ops as I did with the original OG Halo. I found it to be much better than Halo 3 and only marginally inferior to Reach in terms of overall quality and play.

Benjamin Quintero
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I was being nice and trying not to go into a dissertation about all the reasons Halo 4 - while it was a perfectly acceptable play experience - failed to move the needle in every aspect from mechanics to story... besides, this is a gears post =), so i don't want to hijack it to bash Halo; there are plenty of blogs out there doing it for me...

With Gears again, I thought they all were very fun games and certainly had some kind of technical, and mechanical progression as well as an improved story as it continued. It went from 1-note dude bros to actually trying to give them a sense of humanity by the end. But if MS takes this franchise and basically makes a prequal trilogy, rehashing characters, rehashing mechanics, and riding on the things that one made it great but are now eroded by the 101 Gears clones that have shipped in it's wake then this is going to be another uninspired success story for them. There is something ironic about that, but maybe it's just me..

Zach Grant
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I think a good question is how will Epic replace this franchise. What major title outside of Gears have they released recently?

It seems like a gamble that their next franchise will sell even close to the number of units as Gears.

Katy Smith
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I wouldn't be surprised if they focus more on just creating middleware. The Unreal Engine is very nice. That said, they did scoop up most of 38 Studios in Baltimore, as well as having the Infinity Blade and Bulletstorm IPs.

Ben Sheftel
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Bulletstorm sold less than 1 million copies, even less than GoW:Judgement. They called off the sequel when the sales numbers came in.
I could definitely see them focusing more on middleware, especially on mobile. Who knows though, maybe they've got some big new IP in the works.

Daniel Backteman
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Yeah Bulletstorm is pretty much dead. Remember Cliffy's comment? Paraphrasing: "Fucking go buy Bulletstorm right now, unless you want several years of more shitty shooters".

Awesome game, sadly. Thoroughly enjoyed its over-the-top style.

scott anderson
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They briefly set up a studio called Impossible Studios that consisted of a few key people from 38 Studios Baltimore. That studio was shut down after 8 months.

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/02/08/epic-closes-impossible-studios-
infinity-blade-dungeons-now-on/

The original press release sounded like they picked up the entire studio and were planning on building a new Reckoning game though.

Jakub Majewski
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I think a question worth asking is - who actually initiated this move? Everybody seems to assume that Microsoft made the offer to buy Gears, and Epic agreed. What if it was the other way, with Epic looking to offload a franchise they weren't interested in continuing?

Given the changes at Epic - and the changes in the market (Gears of War: Judgement has not exactly been a runaway success), the franchise may simply not be worth pursuing any more at this stage. Look at Fortnite - it's a radically different game, and that's their current big thing.


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