Gears of War acquired by Microsoft, Gears vet joins Black Tusk to develop for Xbox One

Microsoft Studios announced today that it has bought the rights to Gears of War from Epic, and recruited Gears alum Rod Fergusson to head up Black Tusk which will be taking on the first new effort.

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Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise, and has recruited series alum Rod Fergusson to help lead the internal development effort. Vancouver's Black Tusk Studios will be taking over development for the franchise, with a more concrete announcement for a future game planned for later this year.

Both Microsoft and Epic have confirmed, unsurprisingly, that future Gears games will continue to use the Unreal Engine. In an accompanying statement, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that the company "remains totally dedicated to supporting Xbox One and is licensing the Unreal Engine 4 technology to Microsoft in support of their future projects." Epic also stressed on Twitter that it still has several games in the works, including Fortnite, so it's hardly getting out of the development business.

Rod Fergusson joined Irrational to help finish up BioShock Infinite, but planned to leave after only eight months. He said at the time that he didn't have a plan for what to do next.

"I'm extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the 'Gears of War' franchise," Fergusson said in the announcement. "I've been privileged to work on a lot of great games with a lot of great teams, but 'Gears' has had the most impact on me professionally and personally, so this really feels like a homecoming. I can't wait to share more with you all soon."

Details on Black Tusk's project are scant, and Rod Fergusson played it close to the vest in a special podcast that came alongside the announcement. He did confirm that they're working on a new Gears game for Xbox One, but not much beyond that. When Microsoft opened Black Tusk, it stated that it wanted to build a new project "from the ground up" that would be as popular as Halo. Gears certainly isn't in its infancy like that would imply, but the studio is reportedly working on four franchises right now.

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  • reply
    January 27, 2014 7:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Gears of War acquired by Microsoft, Gears vet joins Black Tusk to develop for Xbox One.

    Microsoft Studios announced today that it has bought the rights to Gears of War from Epic, and recruited Gears alum Rod Fergusson to head up Black Tusk which will be taking on the first new effort.

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      January 27, 2014 8:05 AM

      They can start by removing GFWL from Gears PC.

      Oh and FIRSTIES.

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      January 27, 2014 8:52 AM

      It's obvious that Epic didn't want to make any more Gears games, Phil Spencer said at the past E3 it was up to Epic if there were more games. They likely didn't have anything they wanted to do anytime soon and MS gave them a good offer.

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      January 27, 2014 8:59 AM

      looking forward to the touch screen PC port from the win 8 store!

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      January 27, 2014 10:04 AM

      [deleted]

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        January 27, 2014 10:10 AM

        This is really making me laugh WAY more than it actually should.

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      January 27, 2014 10:09 AM

      LOL. What happened here.

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        January 27, 2014 10:11 AM

        leroy jenkins ran right on through this motherfucker

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      January 27, 2014 10:12 AM

      This thread gets shorter every time I F5, lol. :D

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        January 27, 2014 10:23 AM

        actually almost as funny now that it is gutted as it was when it was growing cancerously.

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          January 27, 2014 10:25 AM

          clearly, Micro$oft is the cancer that is killing /shacknews

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            January 27, 2014 10:25 AM

            I wonder what will happen if I link to the comic again.

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      January 27, 2014 10:17 AM

      Well, this must have been a good thread. What did I miss? Someone shitting on the XB180?

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        January 27, 2014 10:24 AM

        Someone going full-retard. And it wasn't me!

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      January 27, 2014 10:44 AM

      another franchise that refuses to die. ugh.

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      January 27, 2014 10:48 AM

      DAMNIT IT MISSED IT

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      January 27, 2014 10:50 AM

      Damn, what a waste of talent and resources which could be working on something so much more interesting. I was a huge fan of GoW 1 and 2 and I had a lot of fun with those games especially in co-op... but I was very much done with that series after GoW 3 (which I actually still haven finished). It seems to me like the change of generation would have been a great time to just retire the franchise for a good long time and make something totally new.

      Who knows, maybe they can find a way to make it fresh and new again? But right now... I have zero desire to play another GoW game.

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        January 27, 2014 10:51 AM

        [deleted]

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          January 27, 2014 10:52 AM

          God damn! I hate that crap! COWARDS! Come up with something new! Trust your creative people to make something even BETTER!!!

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            January 27, 2014 10:54 AM

            Oh well, in the end this helps save me more money. My original plan was to buy an Xbox One next year... but now I'm thinking Steambox and my PS4 makes more sense.

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              January 27, 2014 11:04 AM

              [deleted]

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                January 27, 2014 11:29 AM

                Wow, that's interesting. Hah. It seems like the PS4 and XBO are now about the same price. Amazon has new PS4's marked up to about $480 and ebay has marked down XBO at around the same number.

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          January 27, 2014 5:20 PM

          Ugh. After Judgment they should just stop really (Microsoft, I know Epic didn't develop it).

          Just like Sony should have left God of War die before Ascension.

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        January 27, 2014 11:04 AM

        really? this frees up Epic to never make Gears. which talent are you referring to?

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          January 27, 2014 11:19 AM

          Rod? I guess.

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          January 27, 2014 11:24 AM

          Yeah, that's true... but I just don't want to see ANY talent wasted on GoW. I'd rather see something new.

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            January 27, 2014 12:41 PM

            It's at a Microsoft-owned studio, and Phil Spencer loves Gears, and Rod Fergusson loves Gears, so I'll let them make another Gears.

            As for what Epic is doing... I hope this means they're a bit less tethered to Microsoft, and can maybe make an FPS on Steam that isn't Fortnite, but I feel like the guard of developers who know how to make good PC FPSes has changed around almost fully. The increased Chinese ownership of Epic might skew their studio toward more casual free-to-play stuff like card fighters. Hopefully Epic's radio silence ends soon.

            Also, I'm eager to see what Cliff Bleszinski's next project is. From the sound of his blog, he's moved on from his days of Gears and Epic.

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              January 27, 2014 2:28 PM

              Yeah, I'm very curious what Cliff is working on as well. He sounded like he was all done with doing Gears-like games... which is encouraging.

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        January 27, 2014 11:10 AM

        It's just the the game not the studio itself.

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      January 27, 2014 11:09 AM

      Wait, didn't 2K hire Rod Fergusson to head a studio in the Bay Area in September 2013? Did that studio close, or did Rod simply move on to Black Tusk?

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        January 27, 2014 5:14 PM

        They did, or at least publically claimed to be starting a studio under Rod Fergusson. Haven't seen any public job reqs for it and the 2k recruiter I know wasn't looking for anyone for it. TD for 2k Marin is at Epic now. Sorta doubt it exists but who knows. Hope all the 2k Marin refugees have found something.

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      January 27, 2014 11:09 AM

      They should buy Bulletstorm and make another one of that.

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        January 27, 2014 12:43 PM

        I know it didn't do as well, but I enjoyed it 10x more than Gears.

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          January 27, 2014 3:38 PM

          Me too - I've been anticipating a sequel and have been pretty disappointed so far that one hasn't come out.

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        January 27, 2014 12:45 PM

        Wasn't it called "Gears of War: Judgment?"

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      January 28, 2014 9:10 PM

      I wouldn't mind a Gears of War MP only experience. I agree with most of the sentiment on here that the series derailed story wise, but I am always willing to delve back into the MP. However, with Rod jumping over to Black Tusk, I highly doubt the XBone GoW experience will be stripped of a story mode.

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      February 2, 2014 9:39 PM

      Microsoft bought it? Rest in piece Gears of War franchise.

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