Microsoft Acquires Gears of War Franchise From Epic

By Ishaan . January 27, 2014 . 6:33am

It looks as though the Gears of War franchise will continue as an exclusive on Microsoft’s game platforms. The publisher announced today that it has acquired the Gears of War brand from Epic Games, who have been responsible for the development of the games.


This is a complete acquisition of the brand, meaning Microsoft now holds the rights to “all existing and future games, entertainment experiences and merchandise”. Additionally, the publisher announced, Black Tusk Studios in Vancouver will take over the development of the Gears of War games going forward.


Meanwhile, Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the Gears of War franchise, will join Microsoft and will take on a “key studio leadership” role at Black Tusk. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine will continue to be the technology powering the games.


Head of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer revealed that Gears of War has sold over 22 million copies across every game in the series thus far. Further details on the franchise and future plans will be shared later this year.

Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.


    Only now MS is doing this? Goddamn they’re slow

    • DemonShadowX

      Epic probably said they were going to make the next one multi-platform and MS panicked.

      • subsamuel01

        I think Epic was done with the series, it seemed as if they had no more interest in Gears. That or your right, they didn’t want to loose their only other relevant IP besides Halo. They probably spent a ton of money buying the IP.

        • Skode

          Agreed. Its telling Rod Fergusson will be back at the helm given he and Cliff B were the figureheads for the series and now both have left Epic it was probably a case that the rest of the team wanted to work on something new.

  • This is a really smart move, IMO. Between Titanfall coming out in Spring, Halo 5 coming out later in the year, and now Gears still being locked into exclusivity, I feel like XB1 is going to be in really good shape in the U.S. by the end of 2014. They easily have the ability to drop price once they feel the need to as well.

    What I am interested to see is if they have major exclusives coming in any other genres. Sports is one that’s obviously a big deal, especially in Europe. In a market where exclusives are virtually non-existent nowadays, Microsoft are in the best position to court developers and build up a roster of really exclusives. They have the money for it, and they have the drive for it as well.

    • DemonShadowX

      While I’m personally a Sony gamer, indeed a smart move from them. I’ve played GOW1&2 and thought they were good but felt that 3 & Judgement was a drop in the quality of the series. SO hopefully this new Black Tusk Studios will give it some fresh ideas.

      • I stopped after 2, so I was spared the drop in quality, but I did enjoy the first two games, and seeing as how they’ve managed to keep making good Halo games, I’m hopeful they’ll do the same with Gears.

        • mikanko

          3 was the last one the original people at Epic made. While the campaign wasn’t as strong as the first 2 the multiplayer was arguably the best in the series.

          Judgement was primarily made by newly acquired People Can Fly, and while mostly solid was again more multiplayer focused. Not that the campaigns for either were bad, but seemed a secondary focus.

          After 3 I don’t really think Anyone at Epic had much planned in the way of continuing the series. Especially with Cliffy B leaving a bit over a year ago, it’s just as well they leave the series to others.

          • Yeah, I know they switched for Judgment, and honestly, I do think that impacted the game. Epic put a lot of care and polish into their titles, but they also have great management and set very realistic design expectations.

            I’m not sure how much of that came down to Cliff, but you do have to wonder what the future of Epic’s shooters is going to look like. He was essentially their John Romero (although, Cliff was obviously much more disciplined).

    • brostar

      None of their exclusives have that mass appeal like Nintendo’s do. Microsoft needs to get exclusives in other genres to get other people in. Maybe get Rare to actually make something good.

      • DemonShadowX

        Even if they gave Rare a good IP to work on, the studio is but a husk of what it used to be. I dunno if they’ll ever be able to comeback from what they were back when they working with Nintendo.

      • Well, Nintendo’s console exclusives this generation aren’t really generating the mass appeal they typically do, because the Wii U is holding them back. I think by the end of the generation Wii U will easily have the best (and the most) Japanese exclusives, but I doubt any of them are going to generate mainstream appeal.

        • DemonShadowX

          Agreed, the biggest game they have going for them as far as Mainstream appeal is Super Smash Bros, and the future Zelda game. They got some good titles coming up for the Wii U (Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong, X), but they don’t seem to be well known by the masses.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Donkey Kong is very popular. It sells nearly 6 million no matter the console its on. Every entry.

          • Lucky Dan

            Kinda reminds me with the same situation with the Dreamcast great games jack shit advertising

      • Lucky Dan

        Activision, EA and Ubisoft says otherwise the yearly releases of Call of Duty, skylanders (Activison), Battlefield and EA Sports games and finally Ass creed shows that these are the games in America that carries the system in Europe and also in US even though they don’t have mass appeal exclusivity means next to nothing if they haven’t got a sell through rate like those titles above.

        Not to mention Rock Star games however S-E is trying to join the bandwagon by drumming up the hype of Tomb Raider the new exclusive game of the year edition HD version which everyone forgot. trying to make that into one of their flagship franchise.

        If Rare could do something similar with their banjo franchise instead of producing kinect gaming (which is more of a TV ap;plication now than a gaming device).

    • Trotmeister

      The only issue I see is that Gears’ story is over. All the enemies of humanity have been wiped out. And there’s not much of humanity left, so civil war wouldn’t make sense either.

      Unless they pull some new omnipotent hostile entity out of their ass, much like they did with Halo, I don’t see how the series could go on. You can only do so many prequels until people stop giving crap.

      • You know what they say… when in doubt, do a reboot. :P

        I think Gears could easily be reinvented. Resident Evil has reinvented itself so many times, and has still remained very successful, so Gears could probably do it as well.

        • Kaien

          And Gears NEED to be reinvented to appeal gamers.

          • idrawrobots

            Gears of War is seemingly more popular than God of War, I think it has appeal to gamers.

          • Kaien

            Sorry, I should have written “again” in the previous post. I played Gears of War 1-2-3 and a enjoyed them a lot, but I have no interest in Judgement. In the first GOW the covering system was a thing, but now… I played the second and third chapter because are part of a trilogy. IIRC Judgement sold far less than its predecessor. I don’t think the same gameplay is suitable for a new trilogy on XBOX ONE.

          • idrawrobots

            I understand now. I must say that there was bit of burnout perhaps on the series. I think and expansion for 3 would have been better because it wouldn’t have segmented the base as much. I also think people didn’t give Judgment much consideration, it actually has some cool things going on.

        • Göran Isacson

          And now I’m imagining Gears where the mc is a beefy, bulky Gear… with long, silky smooth hair. Suplexing and roundhouse kicking locusts. And bodyguarding another Gear in short skirt and blonde wig.

          Then again, THAT may not be the kind of renvention that will speak to Gears target audience.

    • MrRobbyM

      If X1 can rack up some good exclusive indie games, exclusive meaning not also available on PC, bring back some older IPs like Blinx and Mechassault or make games like those, I think it’ll have a much wider audience.

      On topic, I do see MS rebooting the series. Gears made a lot of money and sold a lot of consoles for them to not to do anything with it. Hell, Gears 1+2 were some of my favorites games last gen.

      • ElAbuelo69

        Below! Well it’s from the guys who made Superbrothers Sword & Sorcery EP

      • Warboss Aohd

        oh man Blinx, i remember that game, and it’s sequel that almost no one seems to remember.

      • Lucky Dan

        I miss Steel Battlion and the 100 dollar joystick, if they bought that back it would be great !!

    • Crevox

      This is quickly going to turn into FPS overload I think. They’re going to make the same mistake Capcom did with fighting games.

      • It isn’t as though FPSes are the only kind of game they’re going to promote on their system. But for the US market, those are the most important.

        • Crevox

          Indeed, but I feel the sales of the individual games will suffer due to overload of the genre. It should only increase system sales though.

  • Tonton Ramos

    Wonder what happened to Cliff after he resigned at Epic Games?

    • Didn’t he say he was going to work on a PC-exclusive arena shooter or some such thing?

  • FX102A

    I wonder if there is a chance of us seeing some evolution in the series, by that I mean the characters physically evolve into beings that no longer resemble shaven gorillas into something with a sensibly proportioned neck and with vocal cords that can provide more vocal tones beyond those needed for growling and screaming.

    The first two games that I played were well built, in all it’s chest-high wall, migraine inducing running apocalypse, and yet I could only continue playing if I continued to tell myself that it was deliberately trying to be camp in the tone it was taking.

    Still, I do fear that whilst it was a good idea on Epic’s part so they could concentrate on other works, Microsoft isn’t someone I’d expect to change things up.

    Then agin, I’ve been wrong before.

    • DCBlackbird

      I can see what you mean the aesthetics are not for everyone. Although I’ve enjoyed them simply because it sends off the hilarious message that the game is so western and manly it doesn’t even need to be in anatomical realm of reality.

    • ElAbuelo69

      Well ex-cons in the military…it kinda makes sense they resembled ‘shaven gorillas’.

  • Tincho Kudos

    Good, now to wait the annoucement for windows of Gow 2 and 3

    • Godmars

      Given how Games for Windows went I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  • SirRichard

    While it is a smart move to keep the series alive and Xbox exclusive after Epic lost interest (Judgement was made by someone else, wasn’t it?), does the system really need more exclusive shooters at this point? And is there really anything else that can be done with the series after 3?

    • ElAbuelo69

      Pendulum Wars bro

  • Lynx

    -all existing and future games
    -future games

    It doesn’t need more games.
    Spin offs, sure, but no more numbered titles with the same cast.

    You’re going to make this into another Halo, where you take away what made the games great. Halo 3 had a definitive conclusion but 4 HAD to happen and focus on Chief again instead of another character.

    This is probably going to go the same route.

  • DanielGearSolid

    Good move by MS

    After Halo Gears was one of their best sellers

  • eilegz

    sad news, i was expecting a gears collection for ps4… oh well in the end the series concluded at 3, judgement its a disgrace.

    • monkey king

      You were actually “expecting” a collection for ps4? Every single gears so far has been funded and published by MS, releases outside of a MS system was never going to happen.

    • Warboss Aohd

      not sure if serious

  • Kaetsu

    With Black Tusk now making Gears and Next Level Games making Nintendo only games, we’ll be seeing some good games coming out of Vancouver.

  • Khoko

    Sweet so now they can run another franchise into the ground. Halo is garbage now. It really should have just ended with Halo: Reach. The Story was complete all things were explained. Nothing else needed to be done and we get the beyond cliche ‘an ancient evil has awoken.’

  • hazelnut1112

    What can they do with Gears now after the abomination that was Judgement?

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos