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Old 01-27-2014, 08:27 AM   #1
Dark_Lord
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Default Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Today we're excited to announce that Microsoft Studios has acquired the rights to the “Gears of War” franchise from Epic Games, including rights to all existing and future games, entertainment experiences and merchandise. In addition, we are excited to announce that Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver, BC will take over development of the “Gears of War” franchise and that Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the “Gears of War” franchise, will join Microsoft and play a key studio leadership role at Black Tusk on the development of the franchise going forward. We had a chance to chat with Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft Studios, Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Black Tusk Studios at Microsoft Studios, and Rod Fergusson about the big news.

Why did Microsoft purchase the “Gears of War” franchise?
Phil Spencer: It all comes back to our commitment to Xbox fans. The “Gears of War” franchise has a very strong, passionate and valued fan base on Xbox. Over twenty-two million units have been sold across all “Gears of War” titles worldwide, grossing over $1B dollars (US). This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox. By acquiring this franchise, Microsoft Studios will continue to offer them more of their favorite games and entertainment experiences from the “Gears of War” universe.

Why did Epic Games agree to this acquisition?
Hanno Lemke: Epic has been a tremendous partner to work with, and it has been a privilege for Microsoft to be Epic’s publishing partner and work together to achieve the phenomenal success of the “Gears of War” games. Epic remains great partners and good friends of Microsoft Studios. In fact we will collaborate closely with Epic to ensure the inclusion of the Unreal Engine technology into the “Gears of War” franchise going forward remains consistent with the high quality fans have come to expect from the franchise.

Why was an as-yet-unproven studio like Black Tusk chosen to lead the “Gears of War” development over a more established studio?
Phil Spencer: 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.

Are there plans to bring anyone who worked on previous “Gears of War” games onboard to work on the future of the series?
Hanno Lemke: The news that Rod Fergusson is joining Black Tusk should be really exciting for fans of the franchise. Rod has played a leadership role at Epic on all of the “Gears of Wars” games, he understands the franchise deeply but equally importantly he understands the fans of the franchise – what they love, where they want to see the franchise evolve. Once the news spreads about the opportunities at Black Tusk, I’m confident we’ll see interest from a number of talented developers who share the same passion for the “Gears” franchise as the developers at Black Tusk.

When can we expect to hear more about the plans for the “Gears of War” franchise?
Hanno Lemke: We hope to be able to share more news about “Gears of War” later this year.

You’re moving back to Canada and back to working on the “Gears” franchise. Is it like a homecoming for you?
Rod Fergusson: I’m extremely excited to be joining Black Tusk Studios to oversee development on the “Gears of War” franchise. 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.

Finally, Epic games shared the following statement on the acquisition:
“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.”

News.Xbox.com

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Old 01-27-2014, 08:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Bloody hell!! Amazing news for me.

Was worried this franchise was dead for a while. Was always a bit complicated while a 3rd party had the rights. Really optimistic for the future of Gears now!

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Old 01-27-2014, 09:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

I really liked Gears 1-3, but I am pretty much done with the franchise. They are great games, but I don't really have an itch to go back into that world.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Originally Posted by StrainedEyes View Post
I really liked Gears 1-3, but I am pretty much done with the franchise. They are great games, but I don't really have an itch to go back into that world.

I also hope that Microsoft's early plan for this gen isn't just to crank out more sequels of all their 3+ game franchises from last gen.
I can imagine many being done with the campaigns especially if they're not fans (unlike me, I love co-op Gears campaigns) but the multiplayer and Horde modes will likely last for years like the previous ones except Judgment have (Gears 1 multiplayer from 2006 is still very active, Gears 2 Horde was super-active years after release, Gears 3 still very active). This is a much needed move from Microsoft as I think many of those Gears fans would have jumped ship without the promise of more Gears for next gen. Some already have but I think they'll be back at some point now that this is confirmed.

And as for your fear of Microsoft cranking out the franchise sequels, well unfortunately it's 100% confirmed now on all their main franchises lol. Halo, Gears, Forza & Fable all with confirmed next gen iterations with likely more to follow.

But in their defence, they've come out with plenty of stuff that doesn't fit into that category for next gen and Nintendo & Sony are doing exactly the same with their big franchises. Makes sense to capitalise on (& reward) fanbases and almost guaranteed moneymakers & hardware pushers.

I can't wait for details. Hope it actually looks a generation above what's come before and given that it won't be a near-launch game that should be possible.

Edit: sorry just seen that you edited so ignore the above. I wrote that hours ago and forgot to press send.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Eh, not keen on the next games being made by someone other than Epic. Judgement was a disaster due to that very reason.

Good that MS locked the series up though. I'm sure Gears 4 is gonna be huge.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

There were rumors swirling around that the series would come to a Sony console. Now that Microsoft locked up the rights to it, there is zero chance of that happening.

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Old 01-27-2014, 12:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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There were rumors swirling around that the series would come to a Sony console. Now that Microsoft locked up the rights to it, there is zero chance of that happening.
I don't think there was ever a realistic chance of that happening.

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Old 01-27-2014, 12:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Originally Posted by ProjectPat2280 View Post
Eh, not keen on the next games being made by someone other than Epic. Judgement was a disaster due to that very reason.

Good that MS locked the series up though. I'm sure Gears 4 is gonna be huge.
I thought Halo 4 was good (a new developer making a game originally by another developer) so I have hopes for this. Having Rod Fergusson back isn't bad either.

I am disappointed that Black Tusk studio won't be making a new IP though.

Quote:
"The thing we showed at E3 last year, it was something that was done in Unreal and more of a concept piece," Spencer said, calling it "an asset" created by the team to get their creative juices flowing, not necessarily an in-development game.

"The studio has really been incubating different ideas over the past six to nine months on what they might work on," he said, "but the discussion with Epic obviously didn't start yesterday. We've been in this discussion for a while. The leadership team there has known for a while."

Because Black Tusk was already working with the Unreal Engine on Xbox One, the opportunity to bring Gears of War to the studio "was actually a nice coincidence," Spencer said, and not something planned during the formation of the developer.

"I wanted to make sure I had a great internal team, similar to what we did when Bungie moved out and Halo moved to 343 [Industries]," Spencer said.
They also list "Gears of War" as their current project.

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Old 01-27-2014, 12:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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I thought Halo 4 was good (a new developer making a game originally by another developer) so I have hoped for this. Having Rod Fergusson back isn't bad either.
Yea true, but wasn't 343 made up of a bunch of Bungie guys? That won't be the case here, save for Fergusson.

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Old 01-27-2014, 12:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

If the negotiations have only just been finalised/confirmed on Gears then they likely wouldn't have started work on a Gears game and that asks the question what the hell they've been doing all this time. Would be disappointing if they're not coming out with a new IP as well.

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Old 01-27-2014, 12:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Yea true, but wasn't 343 made up of a bunch of Bungie guys? That won't be the case here, save for Fergusson.
Most of the original guys at Epic have left anyway, not just Cliff & Rod...pretty much every developer who used to post on their official forum has moved on. I don't know if what they had left was capable of getting Gears back to the old standards so it's likely in better hands with what is expected to be Microsoft's main 1st party studio (no lack of investment) with basically the no.2 guy since the original Gears back in charge. Plus no more depending on the whims of a 3rd party for management of one of their biggest franchises.

One thing, I'd love to know how much the rights cost to purchase.

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Old 01-27-2014, 12:57 PM   #12
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Originally Posted by Iceman View Post
Most of the original guys at Epic have left anyway, not just Cliff & Rod...pretty much every developer who used to post on their official forum has moved on. I don't know if what they had left was capable of getting Gears back to the old standards so it's likely in better hands with what is expected to be Microsoft's main 1st party studio (on lack of investment) with basically the no.2 guy since the original Gears back in charge. Plus no more depending on the whims of a 3rd party for management of one of their biggest franchises.

One thing, I'd love to know how much the rights cost to purchase.
Yea, all good points.

Well hopefully we won't have to wait too long to find out where the series is headed next.

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Old 01-27-2014, 01:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Heres what Cliff Bleszinski had to say about the acquisition:

Quote:
"I don't think the franchise could be in better hands," he stated on his blog. "Gears is just as much Rod's baby as it was mine. He'll take good care of her."

Bleszinski will not be involved in the new Gears of War, whatever it is, in any capacity.

"I'm not going to move to Vancouver and work on it. I'm not going to consult on it," he emphasized. "My headspace is in the future now, not the past."


Bleszinski added

"343 knocked it out of the park with Halo and I think Black Tusk will do a fantastic job with Gears," which, he notes, "puts the nail in the coffin of the question 'Will Gears ever come to PlayStation?'"

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:04 PM   #14
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Originally Posted by ProjectPat2280 View Post
I don't think there was ever a realistic chance of that happening.

Yeah, they were just rumors such as this one:



http://www.gamespot.com/forums/plays...liff-29374794/

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:24 PM   #15
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Great news, I don't think we will see it for at least 2 maybe 3 years still. Black Tusk is made up from a lot of talented people and with Fergusson in charge. The game should be great. I can't even imagine how good it will look. Gears 3 was easily one of the best looking of last generation.

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Old 01-27-2014, 05:00 PM   #16
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Originally Posted by ProjectPat2280 View Post
Eh, not keen on the next games being made by someone other than Epic. Judgement was a disaster due to that very reason.

Good that MS locked the series up though. I'm sure Gears 4 is gonna be huge.
Considering how well Microsoft transitioned Halo from Bungie to 343, I think they will transition the series from Epic to Black Tusk just as competently.

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I don't think there was ever a realistic chance of that happening.
Considering that the three game publishing deal was up, Epic owned the IP, and companies that aren't owned by the big three becoming more and more platform agnostic, it was a very real possibility. Mike Capp even expressed desire to make the series multiplatform.

And there is a history of second party IPs going multiplatform due to the fact that the first party didn't own the IP. Just ask Sony about Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon or Microsoft about Mass Effect. Buying Gears of War secures the IP for Microsoft and gives a massive boost to a rather weak active IP portfolio.

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Old 01-27-2014, 07:18 PM   #17
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Considering that the three game publishing deal was up, Epic owned the IP, and companies that aren't owned by the big three becoming more and more platform agnostic, it was a very real possibility. Mike Capp even expressed desire to make the series multiplatform.

And there is a history of second party IPs going multiplatform due to the fact that the first party didn't own the IP. Just ask Sony about Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon or Microsoft about Mass Effect. Buying Gears of War secures the IP for Microsoft and gives a massive boost to a rather weak active IP portfolio.

No, I'm not buying it. I don't believe there was any kind of demand from Sony consumers for Gears of War, nor do I think MS would of let it go MP. They either would of done what they just did or would have tossed a wad of cash towards epic assuring a new deal keeping Gears with Xbox. This series was never in danger of going multi plat. At this point if you were even remotely interested in Gears, you alresdy had Microsofts console.


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Old 01-27-2014, 08:20 PM   #18
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Microsoft would likely have stepped in in some way whatever happened but I'm sure Epic (as with nearly any other non 1st party developer) would have been tempted to go multiplatform. The vast majority of people still don't get multiple consoles per generation and many people have interest in the exclusives of other consoles that they haven't chosen. I'm not getting a wii U unless something drastically changes but that Mario game is right near the top of my list of games I want to play. Not that it really matters lol, all woulda/coulda/shoulda at this point. I'm just ridiculously happy that there's finally a secure long term future for my favourite game series alongside Mass Effect, and not one dependent on anyone outside the guys making the console.

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Old 01-27-2014, 10:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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No, I'm not buying it. I don't believe there was any kind of demand from Sony consumers for Gears of War, nor do I think MS would of let it go MP. They either would of done what they just did or would have tossed a wad of cash towards epic assuring a new deal keeping Gears with Xbox. This series was never in danger of going multi plat. At this point if you were even remotely interested in Gears, you alresdy had Microsofts console.
Most businesses try to expand the audience of their IPs regardless. With your logic, Metal Gear, Tomb Raider, and Final Fantasy should have just stayed on the PlayStation since their fanbases were going to stick with PlayStation. And as Iceman said, just because a game is exclusive to one console, doesn't mean that people who own other consoles wouldn't like to play those games. I would love to play Gears of War on my PlayStation, just like I'm sure that people who own Xboxes would love to play Uncharted.

Personally, I think Microsoft bought the IP to guarantee it remaining in the Xbox brand and I think Epic was willing to sell it because with the direction they're going in, the IP just didn't fit with them anymore.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:17 PM   #20
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

Im not saying Epic wouldn't want to think multi plat, I mean more consumers, possibly larger intake, but I don't think it was ever even a remote possibility though. Not even close. Im not even sure the sales of a PS version of Gears would even justify the added dev costs. Gears was associated with MS the way MGS is associated with Sony. Just watch how the MS sales of the Phantom Pain and MGSV will be DWARFED by Sonys machines. Id be willing to wager that the amount of profit Konami makes off the Xbox versions of those games will be incredibly small, if even a profit at all. They probably should of kept it exclusive to Sonys platforms.

Im beyond positive Gears was never going to go multi platform, hell iv been proven right by MS buying up the rights to the series. It was never going to happen for one reason or another.


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Old 01-28-2014, 06:38 AM   #21
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Im not saying Epic wouldn't want to think multi plat, I mean more consumers, possibly larger intake, but I don't think it was ever even a remote possibility though. Not even close. Im not even sure the sales of a PS version of Gears would even justify the added dev costs. Gears was associated with MS the way MGS is associated with Sony. Just watch how the MS sales of the Phantom Pain and MGSV will be DWARFED by Sonys machines. Id be willing to wager that the amount of profit Konami makes off the Xbox versions of those games will be incredibly small, if even a profit at all. They probably should of kept it exclusive to Sonys platforms.
You've got a point there. Just look at how well the Final Fantasy XIII games and Metal Gear Rising have done on the Xbox 360 in comparison to their PlayStation 3 versions.

Quote:
Im beyond positive Gears was never going to go multi platform, hell iv been proven right by MS buying up the rights to the series. It was never going to happen for one reason or another.
Even though I think Microsoft wanted to secure the exclusivity of Gears of War, I think their first motive was to boost Microsoft Studios' active IP portfolio. Compared to the active IPs on Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft's is incredibly weak in comparison.

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Old 01-28-2014, 06:55 AM   #22
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

I wonder if Microsoft learned their lesson with Mass Effect & are now just going 2 buy popular IP's

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Old 01-28-2014, 07:17 AM   #23
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I wonder if Microsoft learned their lesson with Mass Effect & are now just going 2 buy popular IP's
I don't see them going on an IP speending binge. The only other IP I can see them buying would be Dead Rising from Capcom or scoop some up when a publisher goes out of business.

What I think they will be doing instead is try to expand their list of active IPs by making new ones like we're seeing with Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive and Team Dakota's Project Spark and them mining their treasure chest of inactive IPs like we've seen with Killer Instinct.

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Old 01-28-2014, 02:00 PM   #24
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

I think they were able to pick this up because Epic didn't really want to continue with it, so it was "available". I hope they do something awesome with it. I love me some good Gears of War.

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Old 01-28-2014, 02:01 PM   #25
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Default Re: Microsoft Studios acquires rights to Gears of War franchise

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Even though I think Microsoft wanted to secure the exclusivity of Gears of War, I think their first motive was to boost Microsoft Studios' active IP portfolio. Compared to the active IPs on Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft's is incredibly weak in comparison.

Yea I'd agree with that. Phil Spencer has mentioned on multiple occasions that MS will grow their list of exclusive properties with this new generation. I'd assume that Gears was always part of that plan.

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