Microsoft Studios acquires "Gears of War" franchise, shuttles development to Black Tusk Studios

Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise, the company announced today on Xbox Wire. With the acquisition will come a new development location for the games — Black Tusk Studios located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Additionally, Epic Games' Director of Production Rod Fergusson will be joining Microsoft with an unspecified "leadership" role at Black Tusk Studios.

The Gears of War franchise was previously held by Epic Games. With the acquisition, Microsoft Studios gains rights to games both past and present, as well as the merchandise and "entertainment experiences". To complement this, Xbox Wire posted an interview with Microsoft's Phil Spender, as well as Black Tusk's General Manager Hanno Lemke, inquiring about the new business move.

Says Spencer, Microsoft acquired the franchise to give Xbox gamers what they want. When asked why Epic Games agreed to the acquisition, Lemke side-stepped answering, instead praising Epic Games as a publishing partner and saying collaboration with the company will continue in the future to keep the franchise where fans want it.

Amidst other questions about business particulars, Lemke says that Black Tusk hopes to announce additional news about the franchise later this year. Rounding all out is a statement by Epic Games, saying:

"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."

SOURCE: Xbox Wire