In news that should be chalked up as surprised that it didn’t happen sooner, Microsoft has purchased the Gears of War franchise from Epic thus securing its biggest exclusive that doesn’t start with “H” and end in “alo”. The series, previously handled by Epic proper and, more recently, People Can Fly, will be handed to the unproven, “AAA” developer, Black Tusk. Don’t remember them? Don’t feel bad, they haven’t released anything but a vague trailer at E3 2013 for Microsoft’s “Next Halo Caliber IP”.
On the bright side, Rod Fergusson, who previously worked on Bioshock: Infinite and Gears of War (go figure), will be leading the team on their future Gears endeavors. Their previous project, the one that had the vague E3 trailer, is apparently not canceled, but according to Phil Harrison is still a concept. Either way, it is nice to see that Microsoft is more committed to bringing exclusives to the Xbox brand–or at the very least keeping them there–and they are also doing well to put to rest rumors of said exclusive going multiplatform. More than anything, this will be the bright spot the company has been looking for since the whole “Resolution Gate” and the even more recent framerate comparisons in the Definitive Edition of Tomb Raider. Here’s hoping stories like these become the rule, and don’t stay the exception for the Xbox One and Microsoft.
Also worth noting is that Epic, despite just selling their biggest franchise of the last 8 years, is still in the business of making games, not just the engine used to make games. Fortnite, the last game shown off by Cliffy B as a member of Epic, is still very much in development, though I wouldn’t hold my breath for anything else Gears of War level coming from the team that built the engine that powered every other game last generation. Epic, for better or for worse, is clearly on the path less developed and more licensed. Let’s just hope Unreal Engine 4 finally fixes that god awful texture pop-in issue.